The Court of Nicoya has dismissed a criminal case investigating the December 2017 Nature Air crash in Costa Rica that killed the flight’s 12 occupants.
According to CRHoy, the case could not legally move forward since the accused — the flight’s pilots — had died in the accident, which also resulted in the death of 10 United States tourists.
The victims’ families can still pursue a civil case that would explore the possibility of mechanical failure, according to the daily La Nación.
Nature Air flight 9916 crashed shortly after takeoff from Punta Islita Airport on the Nicoya Peninsula’s Pacific Coast on Dec. 31, 2017. Judicial Investigation Organization (OIJ) immediately launched an investigation into the incident.
Costa Rica’s Civil Aviation Authority (DGAC) has not yet delivered its report detailing the cause of the Cessna 208 Caravan’s crash. Officials initially suspected strong winds or mechanical failure had led to the tragedy.
In a statement to The Tico Times, a DGAC spokesperson said “the Accidents and Incidents Unit […] has kept the investigation in progress. Once the report has been delivered and approved by CETAC, it can be made public.”
Nature Air CEO Alex Khajavi, in an interview with The Tico Times, accused DGAC of “adversarial” behavior following the crash and said the Costa Rican government had displayed a “disaster of how to manage” a tragedy.
Khajavi alleged DGAC didn’t give Nature Air sufficient time to hire additional pilots and administrators following the crash before suspending its operating license.
Khajavi says Costa Rica’s Technical Council of the Civil Aviation Authority (CETAC) revoked Nature Air’s operating license in February 2019, following a year-long indefinite suspension.