Bolivian aviation official blamed for Colombia crash seeks asylum in Brazil
Celia Castedo is wanted for “failure to fulfill duties and an attempt against the security of the flight”
Celia Castedo, the Bolivian aviation agency inspector who Bolivian officials say authorized the departure of the Lamia plane that crashed a week ago in Medellín killing 71 people, has asked the Brazilian Police and Public Prosecutor's Office for asylum.
Castedo is wanted by Bolivia’s attorney general’s office for “failure to fulfill duties and an attempt against the security of the flight.” She faces up to four years in prison.
But Brazil's O Globo newspaper reported that Castedo has been in the Brazilian city of Corumbá, near the Bolivian border, where she lived and where the flight took off, since Monday.
A few days earlier, media outlets had reported that Castedo had examined the aircraft before take-off and found that it did not have enough fuel to make the journey from Santa Cruz to Medellín.
Bolivian authorities allege the official concocted a story in which she warned the plane's pilot about the lack of fuel
But Bolivian aviation authorities say they did not receive such warnings and that the inspector concocted them the day after the accident to cover up her negligence. Yet, her colleagues say “there were witnesses.”
Milton Claros, Bolivia’s public works minister, said his government has not had any official notification of Castedo’s request for asylum and that he will comment when he receives it. Before learning she was in Brazil, the Bolivian air traffic controllers’ union expressed its support for her and rejected calls for a legal investigation.
English version by Dyane Jean-François.