Monday night an Avro RJ85 traveling from Santa Cruz, Bolivia, to Medellin, Colombia, crashed shortly before landing. The flight was being operated by Lamia, a charter airline with a single plane. 71 of the 77 people on the flight died. The plane was carrying a Brazilian soccer team, which was heading to the South American Cup Finals.
— Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) November 29, 2016
Yesterday I shared further details that were emerging about the accident, which showed an incredible amount of negligence on the part of the captain. He knowingly operated a flight that was beyond the range of the plane. Rather than diverting or declaring an emergency when the plane still had a chance, he decided to cut corners. What was his motive? Perhaps that he was a co-owner of the airline, so presumably he was scared of possibly losing contracts with sports teams or being fined by authorities if they discovered what he had done.
Well, if the details so far haven’t been horrifying enough, the negligence gets even worse.
The supposed flight plan filed by the captain has been leaked, and it shows an anticipated flight time of 4hr22min. Further down on the same flight plan it shows “endurance,” which is how far the plane can fly. The number? Also 4hr22min.
The fact that this was signed off on is mind-blowing and infuriating, and the captain isn’t the only one who should be held accountable here. Accidents don’t get more preventable than this. The plane ended up being in the air for 4hr37min before it ran out of fuel.
— Airport Webcams (@AirportWebcams) December 2, 2016
Furthermore, apparently the initial flight plan that Lamia filed was for a flight originating in Cobija, Bolivia, which is over 500 miles closer to Medellin than Santa Cruz. That would have easily been within the plane’s range.
You have to wonder how the co-pilot was okay with this. I suspect part of it might be the overall dynamic of having the captain also be a co-owner of the company, which probably made him feel like he didn’t have much say. While airlines nowadays try to train pilots to speak up when they see something that concerns them, the dynamic here probably didn’t allow that. Interestingly there was another pilot in the cockpit who was on her first official flight, though she wasn’t at the controls.
All plane crashes make me sick to my stomach, but this one is among the most infuriating. Sometimes planes crash due to human error and sometimes they crash due to technical failures, but to see someone cut corners to save some cash and risk 77 lives in the process is sickening. The fact that this was allowed to happen and that the flight plan was signed off on makes it even worse.
It’s tough enough to lose family and friends, but losing them to something so preventable must hurt even more.