Doomed jet carrying Chapecoense football team crashed into mountains killing 71 due...

Doomed jet carrying Chapecoense football team crashed into mountains killing 71 due to ‘failings caused by human error’


The shocking findings come in a preliminary report on the incident by the Colombian civil aviation agency Aerocivil said in its preliminary report on the accident Monday


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The doomed Lamia Airlines jet carrying the Chapecoense football team crashed killing 71, after a series of failures caused by human error, it has been revealed.

The shocking findings come in a preliminary report on the incident by the Colombian civil aviation agency Aerocivil said in its preliminary report on the accident Monday.

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The aircraft came down last month near the northwestern Colombian city of Medellin.

The plane, operated by Bolivia-based charter company LaMia, crashed on a wooded hillside near Medellin because the pilot failed to refuel en route and did not report engine failures caused by the lack of fuel until it was too late, officials said.

“No technical factor was part of the accident, everything involved human error, added to a management factor in the company’s administration and the management and organization of the flight plans by the authorities in Bolivia,” Colombia’s Secretary for Air Safety Colonel Freddy Bonilla told journalists.

Erwin Tumiri
Erwin Tumiri (Photo: Facebook)

Aviation authorities in Bolivia and the airline “accepted conditions for the flight presented in the flight plan that were unacceptable,” Bonilla added.

Besides a lack of fuel, the plane was over its weight limit by nearly 400 kilograms (881 lbs) and was not certified to fly at the altitude at which the journey took place, Bonilla said.

Passengers on board screamed for their lives as the jet plummeted to the ground, survivors have told.

LaMia Flight 2933 plunged into mountains just 30km from its final destination of Medellin airport yesterday.

A total of 71 people – including the vast majority of the Chapecoense football team – were killed in the crash.

Just six people survived and today some of them have been speaking for the first time about the moments before impact.

Crew member Erwin Tumiri told how passengers were left terrified as the plane began to plummet to the ground.

Ximena Suarez has told of the final moments as the plane crashed to the ground (Photo: Ximena Suarez Otterburg/Facebook)

He said: “I saved myself because I followed the emergency protocol, putting bags between my legs and put myself in the fetal position.

“I also saw how many passengers rose and began to scream.”

Air stewardess Ximena Suarez, who was found hours after the crash near the wreckage, also described the horrifying moment the plane crashed to the ground.

Speaking to newspaper El Colombiano, she said: “The plane went out completely and had a sharp decline, followed by a big impact.”

Seventy-one of those board – including players from Chapecoense FC and twenty journalists – were killed.

Alan Ruschel
Survivor Alan Ruschel (Photo: Alan Ruschel/Instagram)
Journalist Rafael Valmorbida
Journalist Rafael Valmorbida also survived the crash (Photo: Facebook)

Flight data shows the plane circled several times before the disaster after declaring an electrical failure.

A volunteer who was one the first rescuers on the scene has also revealed the first words of a surviving football player.

Defender Alan Ruschel was just one of three players for Chapecoense who survived the horror crash.


Volunteer rescuer Santiago Campuzano has now spoken about the scene which greeted him as he went to help.

After travelling to the site in the Colombian mountains in his truck, he attempted to get the few survivors to hospital.

And he has revealed the first words from Ruschel after he was pulled from the wreckage.

Footballer Alan Ruschel is pictured being treated in hospital. He is one of just six people who survived the crash which killed 71 (Photo: Reuters)
Survivors say passengers began to rise and scream as the plane plummeted to the ground (Photo: Getty Images)

Speaking to, Mr Campuzano says the footballer stammered gently to him: “My family, my friends, where are they?”

Ruschel is now in hospital being treated for his injuries.

It has been claimed today that the plane crashed because it didn’t have enough fuel and the pilot didn’t confess until it was too late, it has been claimed.

Goalkeeper Jackson Follmann
Goalkeeper Jackson Follmann survived the crash (Photo: Getty)
Neto of Brazil's Chapecoense
Chapecoense player Neto was among the survivors (Photo: Getty)

It had been suggested the pilot Miguel Alejandro Quiroga Murakami may have heroically dumped fuel in a bid to prevent an explosion on impact.

But initial investigations into the crash suggest a much more tragic explanation.

The 2,972km flight path from Santa Cruz in Bolivia to Medellin was right at the edge of the aircraft’s capacity.

It had been expected that if the plane ran low on fuel, it would stop in Bogota.

But this did not happen, so the plane would have been almost empty by the time it got to Medellin.

In another twist of fate, as Flight 2933 approached, the pilot was told another plane had requested priority landing due to a problem on board.

The Brazilian football team posing together in front of a passenger jet before take off
Rescuers search for survivors from the wreckage of the Lamia airlines charter plane (Photo: Getty Images)

At around 9.30pm on Monday, Viva Colombia’s flight FC8170 was given permission to land first by air traffic control.

Flight 2933 was instructed to circle at 21,000ft with other aircraft and told it was third or fourth in line to land, Colombian newspaper ElTiempo reports.

Minutes later, the pilot Mr Quiroga indicated he needed to land immediately due to lack of fuel and was given the green light.

But the flight then declared a total lack of power and the aircraft plunged from the sky in Cerro Gordo, Colombia.

The wreckage of the LAMIA airlines charter plane (Photo: Getty)

Asked if the plane crashed due to a lack of fuel, General Gustavo Vargas, director of LaMia, said: “We’re looking into it, we’re waiting for information from the investigation.

“But if he [the pilot] believed there wasn’t enough fuel, he would have gone to Bogota to refuel.

“Bogota Airport, according to the flight plan, was the alternative in any case.

“Before passing Bogota he would have had to make the decision; if there was enough fuel he should continue, but if anything had happened with the fuel, he should have stopped.”

Rescuers at the site of the crash (Photo: Policiantioqula/Twitter)

Mr Vargas added: “It would seem that if the pilot continued on, it was because he was able to.”

It has also emerged that Chapecoense had not intended for players to be on the plane in the first place.

They had initially planned to charter a flight directly from Brazil to Colombia.

But Brazilian authorities barred them from doing so because LaMia is not Brazilian or Colombian-owned, according to reports.

The decision was made to fly to Bolivia first, then on to the final destination in Colombia.

Haunting video shows Brazilian players aboard doomed flight
Haunting video shows Brazilian players aboard doomed flight

Chapecoense were the underdogs who defied odds to reach the final of a major football competition after a fairytale winning streak.

But the Brazilian club’s dreams ended in tragedy when a plane crash wiped out almost all the squad.

There were just six survivors, including three Chapecoense players, who were travelling to the biggest game in the small club’s history.

Chapecoense director Plinio David de Nes Filho said: “This wasn’t just a group where everyone respected each other, it was a family.

“Before they got on the plane they said they were going to make this dream come true. And this morning the dream ended.”

Chapeco Soccer Association added in a statement: “May God be with our athletes, leaders, journalists and other invitees who are in the delegation.”

The team, coaches and staff, along with 21 sports journalists covering the match, were heading to the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana final against Colombian side Atletico Nacional, due to take place today.

Brazilian football team Chapecoense players with the pilot (Photo: FuerzaChapecoe/Twitter)

In a further heartbreaking twist, one member of the squad found out just a week ago he was going to be a father.

A video has emerged of striker Thiaguinho, 22, opening a note from his wife Graziele as teammates applaud him.

Video thumbnail, Heartbreaking footage emerges of Chapecoense plane crash victim discovering he was to become a father


Players had also posted cheerful videos to social media just moments before take-off.

Defender Alan Ruschel, 27 and goalkeeper Danilo Padilha uploaded footage of them on the plane and proudly telling fans: “We’re coming Colombia”.

Ruschel, who suffered a broken hip and head injuries, was heard asking medics to look after his wedding ring as he arrived at hospital and spoke to his wife by phone from his hospital bed.

The club later confirmed Padilha, 31, died in hospital.

Chapecoense, from Brazil’s top league Serie A, had been flying to face Medellin side Atletico Nacional in South America’s equivalent of the Europa League.

Like Leicester City winning the Premier League last season, they had gone against the odds with their winning streak.

Fans of Chapecoense football team comfort each other (Photo: Reuters)

Rescue helicopters were unable to land at the crash site due to fog and treacherous conditions, so rescuers were forced to make their way there on foot in pouring rain.

Survivors found among the mangled wreckage were placed on to stretchers and carried down the mountainside before being put into lorries and later ambulances.

Colombia’s civil aviation head, Alfredo Bocanegra confirmed the other survivors as goalkeeper Jackson Follmann, 24, defender Helio Neto, 31, plus journalist Rafael Valmorbida, Bolivian flight attendant Ximena Suarez and Bolivian flight technician Erwin Tumiri.

Two of the survivors were last night reported to be in a grave condition.

The new mayor-elect of Chapeco was on the list of those onboard having planned to join his town’s team for their crucial match.

Luciano Bulligon changed his mind at the last minute as his schedule was too full.

Flowers and messages in front of the Arena Conda stadium
Flowers and messages in front of the Arena Conda stadium (Photo: REUTERS)

The 17-year-old BAe 146 short-haul aircraft, which had nine crew members, was seen broken into pieces near La Union, a small town outside Medellin, Colombia.

Tributes poured last night in from the global football family. Brazil declared three days of mourning and all football matches in the country were postponed for a week.

Rescuers carry one of the survivors from the crash (Photo: Getty Images)

President Michel Temer said: “I express my solidarity in this sad hour during which tragedy has beset dozens of Brazilian families.

“The government will do all it can to alleviate the pain of the friends and family of sport and national journalism.”

Former Atletico Madrid midfielder Cleber Santana, 35, was the first player confirmed to have died by authorities.

He played 37 times for the La Liga giants between 2007 and 2010.

Mr Santana also played for Spanish side Real Mallorca. He signed for Chapecoense last year.

Among the team from FOX, which was broadcasting the game, were commentators Devair Pascovicci and Mario Sergio, as well as respected football journalist Victorino Chermont.

Chapcoense supporters gathering in front of the Arena Conda stadium
Chapcoense supporters gathering in front of the Arena Conda stadium (Photo: REUTERS)

Anderson Paixao, the trainer of both Chapecoense and the Brazilian national side, was also among those not accounted for and presumed dead.

Mr Paixao had first been called up to train Brazil stars such as Neymar and David Luiz last year for the Copa America in Chile.

Club physiotherapist Rafael Gobbato is also believed to be among the dead.

Atletico Nacional made the gracious gesture of offering the championship to their tragic rivals.

Medellin’s mayor Federico Gutierrez called the crash “a tragedy of huge proportions.”

Chapecoense will be crowned Copa Sudamerica champions “in the next few days”, according to Brazilian sports journalist Thiago Suman.

Medical staff waiting for survivors (Photo: Xinhua/REX/Shutterstock)

He said: “The information at the moment is that Atletico Nacional will send a request to [governing body] Conmebol for them to declare Chapecoense the legitimate winners of the cup.

“Chapecoense will be crowned champions, if not tomorrow night when the winner would have been decided, then certainly in the next few days”