Chapecoense lawyers seeks Bolivia help in compensation case

Lawyers hope to meet with members of President Jeanine Anez’s interim government to try to end the deadlock in the case.

Fans pay tribute to the players of Chapecoense Real at the club's Arena Conda stadium in Chapeco, in the southern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina, on December 01, 2016. Nearly the entire team perished in the air crash.   -  Getty Images

Lawyers for the families of those killed in a 2016 plane crash that all but wiped out Brazilian football team Chapecoense arrived in La Paz on Wednesday to enlist government help in their compensation case.

“Three years have passed. So far we have 68 families and 105 children abandoned, and their rights unanswered,” one of the lawyers, Marcel Camilo, told the website of local newspaper El Debe. The Brazilian lawyers said they hope to meet with members of President Jeanine Anez’s interim government to try to end the deadlock in the case.

The families had previously petitioned the government of ex-president Evo Morales to manage a payout from private insurers after an investigation found the now-defunct Bolivian charter company LaMia responsible for the disaster. The 2018 report by Colombia’s civil authority said the aircraft was carrying “9,073 kilograms of fuel” “which was insufficient to fly” between Santa Cruz in Bolivia to its final destination in Medellin, Colombia.

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The plane crash near Medellin killed 71 people, including 19 members of the Chapecoense team — sending shockwaves through Brazilian soccer and throughout Latin America. Only six people survived.

Romulo Peredo, one of the lawyers, told the newspaper that Bolivia’s civil aviation authority DGAC should not have authorised the plane to leave, given local reports that the aircraft lacked a refuelling plan. The insurers said the plane’s insurance was out of date.

Bolivian prosecutors have put the blame squarely on airport and civil aviation officials as well as the charter company and the pilot over a catalogue of technical errors.