Venezuela blames 2005 plane crash on human error

Venezuelan authorities announced Tuesday that human error was the principal cause of a 2005 Colombian plane crash in north-east Venezuela, which killed 160 people.

The Venezuelan Ministry of Transport told Efe that a report on the crash was handed to the French Embassy in Caracas Friday, as well as to representatives of the victims, the majority of whom were French.

The report details that the West Caribbean Airways plane was flying at an altitude beyond its capabilities and at low speed. It ruled that the pilots did not have sufficient training to deal with the situation and that the plane “fell from the air due to its own weight.”

The report recommends that pilots be better trained on the limitations of their aircraft, and how to recover planes from drops at great altitudes.

The Venezuelan investigation joins ones by France, Colombia, and the U.S., which manufactured the MD-80 plane.

The crash occurred August 16, 2005, when the plane, which was travelling between Panama City and Martinique, “fell from the air like a rock” while flying over the Sierra de Perija, near the Venezuelan city of Maracaibo.

152 French tourists and eight Colombian crew members died in the crash.

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