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The Air Accidents Investigation Branch is sending a team of three inspectors to Colombia to assist Aeronautica Civil with their investigation of the aircraft accident at Medellin.
AAIB’s involvement is as the State of Manufacture, in accordance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Annex 13 protocols.
Bogota (Colombia): A chartered British Aerospace 146 short-haul aircraft operated by Bolivian charter airline LaMia Airlines Flight 2933 [Registration CP-2933] from Viru Viru International Airport in Bolivia to Medellin, Colombia crashed just outside Medellin.with 81 people on board, including a Brazilian first division football team heading to Colombia for a regional tournament final.
"It's a tragedy of huge proportions," Medellin's Mayor Federico Gutierrez told Blu Radio, before departing for the site (set in a mountainous area outside the city) where the aircraft crashed.
Aviation authorities said the aircraft, a British Aerospace BAE 146 short-haul plane operated by Bolivian charter airline LaMia, declared an emergency at 10 p.m. Monday (0300 GMT) reporting electrical failure.
The BAE 146 has a good safety record and at one time (badged the HS 146) the RAF used the aircraft for the Queens Flight and transportation of VIPs.
The region had however been experiencing exceptionally heavy rain and severe electrical thunderstorms during the night, this might well have contributed to the incident.
Authorities and rescuers were immediately alerted however an air force helicopter had to abort due to low visibility and poor weather conditions.
The aircraft, made a stop in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, and was transporting the first division Chapecoense football team from southern Brazil.
The team was scheduled to play on Wednesday in the first of a two-game Copa Sudamericana final against Atletico Nacional of Medellin.
The plane was carrying 72 passengers and nine crew. Local radio said the same aircraft transported Argentina's national squad for a match earlier this month in Brazil.
A video published on the team's Facebook page showed the team preparing for the flight earlier on Monday in Sao Paulo's Guarulhos international airport. In flight pictures were also posted on Twitter showing all the passengers seated and enjoying the flight. A short while later only 5 would survive. A local journalist suggests 2 of the survivors are footballers. Clearly as this is a rapidly developing situation, actual numbers of casualties may well change.
The team, from the small city of Chapeco, joined Brazil's first division in 2014, for the first time since the 1970s and progressed to the Copa Sudamericana finals last week by defeating Argentina's San Lorenzo squad. The final matches have been abandoned.
Source CNS, AFP, Reuters
|First picture from the crash location|
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