The authorities in Bolivia have arrested the head of the airline involved in a crash last week that killed 71 people, including most of the Brazilian football team, Chapecoense.  Gustavo Vargas, a retired air force general, has been detained as part of an investigation into the crash.  The plane, operated by the tiny LaMia airline, was taking the team to Colombia when it ran out of fuel.  A Bolivian official says she warned the pilot of the problem before departure.  The official, Celia Castedo, has now sought asylum in Brazil, saying she suffered threats and abuse.  Chapecoense were travelling to the city of Medellin to play the first leg of the Sudamericana Cup final against Atletico Nacional.  The British-made Avro RJ85 aircraft ran out of fuel as it approached the airport in Medellin on 28 November. 

 

In a leaked tape, the pilot, Miguel Quiroga, can be heard warning of a “total electric failure” and “lack of fuel”. A Bolivian official, Celia Castedo, says she warned Mr Quiroga before departure that the long flight between southern Bolivia and Medellin was at the limit of the plane’s maximum range.  She has now sought asylum in Brazil, saying she is being persecuted. Her asylum process could take a year to be processed, the authorities in Brazil said. Bolivian Government Minister Carlos Romero urged the Brazilian authorities to turn her back. “What she has done is very serious,” he said. “It’s a way of escaping the judicial system.”

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