A survivor of a plane crash in which the Chapecoense club lost most of its team has avoided death once again. The man was traveling in a bus that crashed at high speed, leaving 21 dead.
Erwin Tumiri was on a bus traveling along the highway connecting the cities of Cochabamba and Santa Cruz when it fell off a hill in the early hours of Tuesday. The crash completely destroyed the bus but he was able to escape the incident with just a few injuries.
The man was reportedly working for the airline when he avoided death the first time. The LaMia Flight 2933 was headed to Colombia when it crashed in November 2016. The majority of the players of the Chapecoense team lost their lives. He was one of six survivors from that crash.
He spoke to local media about the crash and explained that he knew what to do when he saw what was coming. Here’s what he said (from Newsweek):
“I was a little sleepy and listening to music on my cellphone when people started screaming,” he said on Wednesday.
“The only thing I could do was grab the seat in front of me and lean on the window so that I didn’t move when the bus rolled over, because I knew that was going to happen.
“We turned and turned and there were people who didn’t hold on and were thrown about as if it were a washing machine.”
He spoke to local media in the hospital, where he was recovering from injuries. He reportedly had to undergo surgery on one of his legs after the crash. But he was discharged on Wednesday.
Tumiri also spoke when he survived the plane crash back in 2016. He became a local celebrity in his hometown after surviving the crash that killed 71 people. In that incident, the plane in which he was traveling ran out of fuel after approaching the city of Medellin.
The club was scheduled to play Colombian team Atletico Nacional in the final of the Copa Sudamericana. Shortly after, the Colombian team asked the CONMEBOL to award the title to the Brazilian club. The title was awarded to the team while Atletico Nacional received the “CONMEBOL Centenario Fair Play” award.
Tumiri’s sister spoke with local media about the crash earlier this week. She said this to the Los Tiempos newspaper:
“He is stable, thank God,” she said. “Once again he survived. I talked to him and he told me that he’s fine.”
Authorities told local media that 13 people had been injured in the accident. At the time, authorities said 20 had lost their lives. But reports say it is now 21. The injured were rushed to a nearby hospital.
Several incidents like the one this week have left many people dead. The Straits Times reports that a similar incident in September 2020 left 19 dead and 17 injured. In April, a bus fell into a ravine, leaving 25 people dead.