Monday 24 July 2017

Same plane carried Lionel Messi and Argentina team two weeks before tragic Chapecoense crash

Samuel Lovett

The same plane which crashed in Colombia on Monday night, killing 76 on board, including members of Brazilian football team Chapecoense Real, was used by the Argentina national side two weeks prior to the accident.

The British Aerospace 146 plane, which has been confirmed by the Jose Maria Cordova International Airport as LAMIA Bolivia RJ85, registration CP-2933, was used to fly Lionel Messi and his team from Belo Horizonte to the Ezeiza International airport earlier in November.

An Argentine plane-spotting Twitter account posted on November 10 that LAMIA Bolivia RJ85 (with its registration number, CP-2933, evident in the accompanying photo) was due to arrive at Ezezia airport at 06:30 on November 11.

“The Argentina Team will arrive tomorrow at the Ezeiza airport at 06:30 from Belo Horizonte in the BAE 146 of Lamia Bolivia,” the tweet read.

It has since emerged that the same plane crashed near Medellin, Colombia, five minutes prior to completing its journey on Monday night.

A local radio has reported that the Venezuela football team have also used the plane in the past.

Planespotters.net says that the plane made its first flight on March 1999.

Statistics from the aviation website show that the regional plane has had several owners since. 

From 1999 to 2007, it was owned by Mesaba Aviation in the US before it was transferred. The plane has been in the hands of Bolivian airline LAMIA since October 2013.

British Aerospace, which is now known as BAE Systems, says that the first 146 plane took off in 1981 and that just under 400 — including its successor Avro RJ — were built in total in the UK through November 2003.

It says around 220 of are still in service in a variety of roles, including aerial firefighting and overnight freight services.

After the crash, Medellin police chief José Acevedo told a local radio station that six people had been pulled alive from the wreckage, but that one had died in hospital.

The other 75 are believed to have died at the crash site. A rescue effort was suspended at around 3am local time due to heavy rain, at which point 25 bodies had been recovered.

Three players from Chapecoense Real were among the six initially rescued, along with two crew members and a journalist. It is not yet known which of the six later died in hospital.

Football clubs from around the world have paid their respects to the Brazilian football club. Real Madrid and Barcelona have both already held a minute's silence for the victims of the crash.

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