A nation, indeed the world, mourns the loss of nearly an entire professional soccer team in the horrifying crash into a mountainside as the aircraft apparently ran out of fuel on its way to a South American tournament in Columbia, just five miles from the airport. Electrical failure also is being investigated in the early days as experts search for clues to the cause of the crash.
One moment images are flashed across the television screen of an exuberant team as they videotaped their excitement on the plane in what was called their “Cinderella season,” anticipating coming home with yet another win. The next moment the circling plane runs out of fuel and is unable to land safely and crashes, killing 71 with six miraculously surviving.
Then word comes yesterday (December 1, 2016) that a police officer decides to make one more sweep of the area despite the search effort for survivors being called off because of poor weather conditions, and he hears the cries of another young man in the rubble. Immediately, rescue crews come for him and carry him for two hours to safety before transporting him to a hospital. A final ray of hope amid a dark time for the families and the fans who lost their heroes.
As one watches animations created by experts of a number of planes that circled the airport at that time while waiting for clearance to land, and photos of a 29-year old co-pilot on her first flight with the airlines as well as a pilot taking selfies with the team on the plane, emotions run high as to the priorities and attention that was paid to what was of utmost important on that trip – getting those passengers to their destination safely. That obviously didn’t happen.
Safety officials will sort through all of the data from the black boxes on the plane and when it became clear to the pilots that an emergency landing was necessary. The public already has heard some of the radio transmissions from the cockpit to air traffic controllers and it is all very, very sad to hear.
LaMia Flight 2933, a charter flight of a British Aerospace Avro RJ85 aircraft from Santa Cruz, Bolivia, crashed Monday into a hillside in Medillin, Columbia, carrying reportedly killed 71 people. Miraculously three players, two crew members and a journalist survived, but the loss of 71 young lives is more than anyone can bear.
The tears that are shed in a Bolivian stadium full of mourners is a sad moment in aviation history and a lesson for everyone in the aviation industry to be fully aware of all important elements in the cockpit and convey any problems as soon as possible to air traffic control. By the time clearance was received to land, reportedly it was just too late to make it to a runway.
In the weeks and months ahead, the world will hear if the incident could have been avoided and the lessons that can be learned of steps must be taken so a tragedy like this is not repeated.