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Bolivia detains airline executive over Colombia football crash

Prosecutors have suggested the investigation against employees at LaMia airline may lead to a "manslaughter case." Another suspect in the investigation has fled to Brazil and applied for asylum, local media reported.

Authorities on Tuesday detained the head of Bolivia's LaMia airline and two other employees over the plane crash last week that left 71 people dead including most of Brazil's Chapecoense football team, according to prosecutors.

Bolivia's Attorney General Ramiro Guerrero said authorities have launched an investigation into possible criminal failure to follow safety procedures.

"It could easily turn into a manslaughter case," Guerrero said.

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The Chapecoense football team had been en route to Medellin, where they were expected to take part in the Copa Sudamericana. However, their flight crashed outside the city after apparently running out of fuel.

'No argument'

Bolivia's Interior Minister Carlos Romero also asked Brazil to extradite Bolivian air traffic controller Celia Castedo in connection to the investigation. Castedo claims she questioned the aircraft's ability to make the flight, but was rebuffed.

The charter plane's maximum autonomous flight time was 4 hours and 22 minutes, approximately the same length of the flight to Medellin.

Following the aviation tragedy, the air traffic controller traveled to Brazil to speak with Brazilian authorities. Local media reported that she applied for asylum after arriving in South America's largest country.

"There is no argument to justify an asylum request," the defense minister said. "Logically, in a case like this, there should be a process of automatic expulsion (from Brazil)."

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ls/bw (Reuters, dpa)

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