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Fuel starvation probed as Boeing 727 makes jungle crash landing

Passengers and crew on board a Lloyd Aereo Boliviano (LAB) Boeing 727-200 had a lucky escape last week when the aircraft was forced to make an emergency landing in a jungle clearing after possibly running out of fuel.

The flight, from La Paz to Cobija in northern Bolivia, was being operated by LAB on 1 February as a charter on behalf of the Bolivian military-owned civil airline TAM (Transportes Aereos Militares). A LAB source says the accident was caused "almost for sure because of fuel starvation". The source adds that the aircraft "ran out of fuel" after thunderstorms prevented it from landing at Cobija as well as its official alternate, Rio Branco in Brazil, which was also experiencing unsafe weather conditions.

Boeing 727 crash 
pa  photos
No-one was seriously hurt but the aircraft was severely damaged 
The source says the aircraft, identified as a 28-year-old Boeing 727-200 (CP-2429), was forced to perform the emergency landing on low jungle land as it tried to approach Trinidad airport in central Bolivia. It landed 2.7nm (5km) short of Trinidad's runway.

None of the 159 passengers and crew on board was seriously hurt. Pictures show the aircraft was severely damaged, with its wings and outboard engines torn off.

LAB hopes to recertificate itself as a scheduled carrier this month after bankruptcy forced its grounding last April. Since the end of 2007 it has resumed charter flights, through which it hopes to be reauthorised as a scheduled carrier.