Suspects jailed over Brazil plane crash

Bolivian authorities have jailed the second suspect accused of wrongdoing in the air crash that wiped out Brazil’s Chapacoense soccer team last month, prosecutors said yesterday.

Gustavo Vargas Villegas, a former official with Bolivia’s aviation authority, was arrested and will be held until trial on charges that he misused his influence in authorising the licence of the Bolivian plane that crashed in Colombia while taking the team to Medellin for the Copa Sudamericana.

His father, Gustavo Vargas Gamboa, former chief executive of the LaMia charter airline company, was jailed on Thursday pending trial on charges including manslaughter over the November 28 crash.

Both have said they are innocent.

“I am innocent. I did not authorise the operating licences,” Vargas Villegas told reporters on Friday.

Vargas Gamboa said on Thursday: “The prosecutors are a bunch of liars.”

The accident killed 71 people after the plane ran out of fuel, shocking the global soccer community and sparking questions about why the aircraft would have tried to make the international flight with what looks to have been less than the required amount of fuel in its tanks.

“The prosecution has collected statements and evidence showing the participation of the accused in the crimes of misusing influence, conduct incompatible with public office and breach of duties,” La Paz District Attorney Edwin Blanco told reporters, referring to the Vargas Villegas.

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