LA PAZ – Bolivia is suspending Lamia’s operating license and civil aviation officials while investigators try to determine what caused one of the carrier’s planes to crash earlier this week in Colombia while transporting a Brazilian soccer team, Public Works, Services and Housing Minister Milton Claros said on Thursday.
The decision affects the top officials of the General Civil Aviation Administration (DGAC) and the Airport and Air Navigation Services Administration (AASANA), Claros said in a press conference.
“We’re not blaming anyone, but as long as the investigation is going on, we think it makes sense for the executives to be suspended,” Claros said.
The DGAC regulates the technical aspects of aircraft operations and the AASANA approves flight plans.
A total of 71 people were killed when the plane chartered by Brazil’s Chapecoense soccer club from Lamia crashed at around 10 pm Monday near the airport in Medellin, a city in northwestern Colombia.
The ministry is launching separate investigations of the airline’s application for a flight certificate and of its finances and management, Claros said.
The DGAC is investigating the accident and “all the events related to the authorization granted” to the plane for takeoff on Monday from the airport in Viru Viru, a city in the eastern province of Santa Cruz, the minister said.
Colombian aviation officials confirmed Wednesday that the Lamia plane was out of fuel when it crashed.
The plane’s pilot could be heard on a recording released Wednesday telling air traffic controllers at the Medellin airport before crashing that he was experiencing “total electrical failure” and was low on fuel.
The plane was carrying Chapecoense players, executives, coaches and other staff, along with special guests, journalists and a crew of nine.
Chapecoense, a club based in the southern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina, was traveling to Medellin to play in the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana final against Atletico Nacional.
Sources with Chapecoense said the club may take legal action against Lamia airlines once the process of repatriating the bodies has concluded.