LaMia Flight 2933
Avro RJ85 serial number E.2348 (the aircraft involved) in 2013, bearing its previous registration marks
|Date||28 November 2016|
|Aircraft type||Avro RJ85|
|Flight origin||Viru Viru International Airport, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia|
|Destination||José María Córdova International Airport, Rionegro, Colombia|
LaMia Flight 2933 (LMI2933) was a charter flight of an Avro RJ85, operated by LaMia, that crashed shortly after 10:00 pm local time, on 28 November 2016. The aircraft was transporting the Brazilian Chapecoense football squad from Viru Viru International Airport in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, to José María Córdova International Airport in Colombia. The airliner carried 77 people: 9 crew and 68 passengers, which included the players, coaching staff, club staff, 2 guests and 21 journalists. The team was en route to play the first leg of the 2016 Copa Sudamericana Finals in Medellín, against Colombian team Atlético Nacional. Seventy-one people died and six survived. Of the Chapecoense players, nineteen died and three survived. Due in part to the pilot declaring a fuel emergency, and that the distance between the source and destination airports was very near to, or exceeded, the maximum rated range of the aircraft, it has been speculated that the cause of the crash was fuel exhaustion.
Aircraft and operator
The aircraft was an Avro RJ85, registration CP-2933, serial number E.2348, which first flew on 26 March 1999. After service with other airlines and a period in storage between 2010 and 2013, it was acquired by LaMia, a Venezuelan-owned Bolivian airline.
Flight and crash
The aircraft was on a flight from Viru Viru International Airport, in the Bolivian city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, to José María Córdova International Airport, outside Medellín in Colombia, carrying 68 passengers and 9 crew members. Among the passengers were members of the Brazilian Associação Chapecoense de Futebol who were travelling to play their away leg of the Final for the 2016 Copa Sudamericana in Medellín against Atlético Nacional.
Brazil's national aviation authority, the Agência Nacional de Aviação Civil (ANAC – National Civil Aviation Agency), had denied Chapecoense's request to use LaMia's services from São Paulo to Medellín, leading to a stop and change of aircraft in Santa Cruz. In line with the freedoms of the air governing international air traffic under the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation, ANAC had required that the charter operator be Brazilian or Colombian in order for a direct flight to take place. However the club opted to retain LaMia, which had already transported other football clubs, including teams playing in the Confederación Sudamericana de Fútbol (CONMEBOL) competitions, and the Argentina national team (who had flown on the same aircraft just 18 days prior). The team flew from São Paulo–Guarulhos International Airport, to Santa Cruz de la Sierra, on a Boliviana de Aviación commercial flight, before embarking on the chartered aircraft.
Originally the flight was planned to have a fuel stop at the city of Cobija, on Bolivia's border with Brazil. But the flight's late departure meant the aircraft would not arrive at Cobija prior to the airport's closing time. The flight plan was reportedly altered to include a refueling stop in Bogotá instead. The distance between Santa Cruz and Medellín airports is 1,598 nautical miles (2,959 km; 1,839 mi). A fuel stop in Cobija would have broken the flight into two segments: an initial segment of 514 nautical miles (952 km; 952,000 m) to Cobija followed by a flight of 1,101 nautical miles (2,039 km; 1,267 mi) to Medellín, a total of 1,615 nautical miles (2,991 km; 1,859 mi). Bogota's airport is 1,486 nautical miles (2,752 km; 1,710 mi) from Santa Cruz's airport and 116 nautical miles (215 km; 133 mi) from Medellín's.
Under standard conditions, the RJ-85 has a range of approximately 1,600 nautical miles (3,000 km; 1,800 mi) with a payload of 7,800 kilograms (17,196 lb). Using the International Air Transport Association (IATA)-recommended estimate for weight of passengers and luggage of 100 kilograms (220 lb) would place the aircraft's payload at 7,700 kilograms (16,976 lb) meaning a flight from Santa Cruz to Medellín would be at the limit of the aircraft's capability. IATA's 100-kg recommendation, however, is based upon observations of international scheduled passenger flights consisting of a mix of passenger ages and genders. Failure to properly account for the weight of predominantly adult male passengers and equipment has been a contributing factor in previous crashes including the 1985 crash of Arrow Air Flight 1285 carrying US military personnel.
At 22:00 local time on 28 November (03:00 UTC, 29 November), the crew declared electrical and fuel emergencies due to fuel exhaustion while flying in Colombian airspace between the municipalities of La Ceja and La Unión. During the last 15 minutes the flight had completed two laps of a racetrack holding pattern, adding about 54 nautical miles (100 km; 62 mi) to its flight length. The crash site is along the approach path to José María Córdova International Airport's runway 01, 10 nautical miles (19 km; 12 mi) south of the runway.
Helicopters from the Colombian Air Force were initially unable to get to the site because of heavy fog in the area, while first aid workers arrived two hours after the crash to find debris strewn across an area about 100 metres (330 ft) in diameter. It was not until 02:00 on 29 November that the first survivor arrived at a hospital: Alan Ruschel, one of the members of the Chapecoense team. Seven people were found alive in the wreckage although one of them, first choice goalkeeper Danilo, died shortly after arriving at a hospital. The last survivor to be found was footballer Neto, who was discovered at 05:40. Chapecoense reserve goalkeeper Jakson Follmann, who was among survivors, later underwent a potentially life-saving leg amputation. Including Danilo, 71 of the 77 occupants died as a result of the crash; the number of dead was initially thought to be 75 but it was later revealed that 4 people had not boarded the aircraft.
The Aircraft Accident Investigation Unit of Colombia's Unidad Administrativa Especial de Aeronáutica Civil (UAEAC – Special Administrative Unit of Civil Aeronautics) is investigating the accident and requested assistance from the aircraft's manufacturer BAE Systems and the British Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) as the investigative body of the state of the manufacturer. A team of three accident AAIB investigators was deployed. They were joined by investigators from the Dirección General de Aeronáutica Civil of Bolivia.
Colombian Air Force personnel extracted the bodies of 70 victims from the wreckage and took them to an air force base. They were then taken to the Instituto de Medicina Legal in Medellín for identification.
The flight attendant who survived the accident stated that the aircraft ran out of fuel. The claim is being investigated by the UAEAC. Crews of other aircraft reported that they heard the pilot of Flight 2933 saying over the radio that he was running out of fuel and needed to make an emergency landing. The person in charge of the investigation stated that there "is no evidence of fuel in the aircraft" and the aircraft did not explode when it crashed. The suspected cause of the crash is fuel exhaustion.
On the afternoon of 29 November the UAEAC reported that both flight recorders had been recovered undamaged.
Following the crash, Bolivia's aviation authority suspended LaMia's operating licence.
Brazilian President Michel Temer declared three days of national mourning and requested that personnel from Brazil's embassy to Colombia in Bogotá be moved to Medellín to better assist the survivors and the families of the victims.
The United Kingdom, through its Foreign and Commonwealth Office, sent its condolences to those affected by the accident.
All CONMEBOL-related activities were suspended, including both legs of the Copa Sudamericana final, scheduled for 30 November and 7 December, and the second leg of the Copa do Brasil Final. Besides changing their profile pictures on social media to a black version of Chapecoense's badge and issuing messages of solidarity, other Brazilian teams offered to loan the club players for the next year and asked the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) to exempt it from relegation for the next three years. Sociedade Esportiva Palmeiras, winner of the Brazilian national league title, sent a formal request to the CBF to pay tribute in its last fixture of the season by wearing Chapecoense's jersey. Atlético Nacional, Chapecoense's opponents-to-be in the final, asked CONMEBOL to honor Chapecoense by awarding them with the Copa Sudamericana title, stating that "for our part, and forever, Chapecoense are champions of the 2016 Copa Sudamericana". The first response of the CONMEBOL regarding the request, in the words of its President Alejandro Dominguez when arriving in Medellín, was: "It is very worthy [of consideration]. However, it is time to get to work, to talk with the Brazilian and Colombian [officials], with those of Atlético Nacional. I do not have a position on the suggestion. The gesture is commendable. I did not have time to talk about it [during my flight]."
Some football teams in South America, such as Racing Club and Huracán in Argentina, and Club Nacional de Football in Uruguay, announced that they would play their coming league fixtures with the crest of Chapecoense on their shirts as a tribute.
Chapecoense also plans to honour the victims by a mass wake at Condá Arena stadium in Chapecó, the small Brazilian city in Santa Catarina state where the team is based.
Avianca, Colombia's flag carrier and largest airline, provided 44 psychologists to help in the counseling of the families of the victims. The airline, by request of the Colombian and Brazilian governments, also provided logistical support and transportation to Brazilian medical personnel which are involved in the identification of the deceased. On Twitter, Avianca expressed its regrets over the incident and stated that "our prayers are with the families of the victims".
During an interview, Roberto Canessa, a member of a Uruguayan rugby union team that was travelling to an away game in 1972 when their aircraft crashed in what became known as the Andes flight disaster, expressed that he wanted to help the survivors of the crash.
The surviving players were Alan Ruschel, Jakson Follmann and Neto. The other survivors were a journalist and two members of the flight crew. In an interview with the press, one of the surviving crew members said that he survived because he followed the emergency protocols by putting his carry-on suitcase between his legs and sitting in the brace position, while several other passengers panicked and stood upright before impact, which could have led to their deaths. Team goalkeeper Danilo initially survived the crash and was taken to a hospital; he was able to telephone his wife, but later died there.
- Ailton Cesar Junior Alves da Silva (Canela), 22
- Dener Assunção Braz (Dener), 25
- Marcelo Augusto Mathias da Silva (Marcelo), 25
- Matheus Bitencourt da Silva (Matheus Biteco), 21
- Mateus Lucena dos Santos (Caramelo), 22
- Guilherme Gimenez de Souza (Gimenez), 21
- Lucas Gomes da Silva (Lucas Gomes), 26
- Everton Kempes dos Santos Gonçalves (Kempes), 34
- Arthur Brasiliano Maia (Arthur Maia), 24
- Ananias Eloi Castro Monteiro (Ananias), 27
- Marcos Danilo Padilha (Danilo), 31
- Filipe José Machado (Filipe Machado), 32
- Sérgio Manoel Barbosa Santos (Sérgio Manoel), 27
- José Gildeixon Clemente de Paiva (Gil), 29
- Bruno Rangel Domingues (Bruno Rangel), 34
- Cléber Santana Loureiro (Cléber Santana), 35
- Josimar Rosado da Silva Tavares (Josimar), 30
- Willian Thiego de Jesus (Thiego), 30
- Tiago da Rocha Vieira Alves (Tiaguinho), 22
- Luiz Carlos Saroli (Caio Júnior), coach, 51
- Mário Sérgio Pontes de Paiva, Fox Sports commentator, former national team player and manager, 66
- Paulo Julio Clement, Fox Sports, 51
- Victorino Chermont, Fox Sports, 43
- Deva Pascovicci, Fox Sports, 51
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The private jet was scheduled to stop for refuelling in Cobija, in Bolivia’s north.
- "Before Deadly Crash In Colombia, Pilot Said He Was Out Of Fuel". NPR. December 1, 2016.
Vargas says there was a planned refueling stop in Cobija, Brazil, but that the delay meant they'd have to refuel in Bogotá, Colombia, instead.
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Es muy valorable. Sin embargo, es el momento de ponernos a trabajar, de hablar con los pares de Brasil y con los de Colombia, con los de Atlético Nacional. No estoy en condiciones sobre el punto. Es loable el gesto. No tuve tiempo de hablar de eso en el avión
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to LaMia Airlines Flight 2933.|
|Wikinews has related news: 76 dead in plane crash near Medellín, Colombia|
- Overflight of the accident area
- Last interview of the crew, pilots, stewardess and the squad of Chapecoense in Spanish and Portuguese