Relatives redoubled the request for justice for the austral tragedy

Wednesday October 13, 2021 | 5:15 a.m.

The relatives of the victims of the Austral flight that left 24 years ago from the airport to Posadas but ended up crashed in the Uruguayan town of Fray Bentos held an act last night at the Buenos Aires airport, next to the monument erected in the place that carries the names of the 74 people who died in that air tragedy.

At the beginning of the tribute, the names of the 74 victims who were on board that plane were read and then a minute of silence was held in their memory. “This is the silence that speaks of the pain that all these families suffer. A silence that we want the Court to hear, which is currently judging that fact, where a prosecutor has just disappointed us with the slap of a request for acquittal for the accused. But we are not going to lower our arms, we are going to continue demanding justice because we and the whole country deserve it. This is not a question of a group of victims, it is a social debt that must be settled with justice, ”said the relatives.

The event was accompanied by survivors of the Cromañón tragedy, the founding line of the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo, the Solidarity Network and various social organizations that joined the event to demand justice.

“Many of us here were children when our parents died on that flight, and over the years we have understood what happened. We came to build our truth with a lot of pain. A pain that needs to be repaired with justice because that was not an accident caused by human error, but a massacre as a result of multiple complicities, ”Ignacio Politzer explained during the demonstration.

“Every year on this date all of us feel the open wound again. We need you to help us heal it. Even many relatives are no longer here today and left waiting for the response of Justice. That is why it was so painful to hear during the trial the prosecutor (Juan Patricio) García Elorrio saying that there is no evidence of the crime of malicious havoc. It was opening the wound further, ”they claimed in relation to the oral and public trial that the Federal Oral Court 5 has been carrying out for three years.

The event took place in the parking lot of the metropolitan airport, with planes landing and departing as a backdrop. There were also aeronautical workers who passed in silence next to the relatives and with a discreet police guard from the city of Buenos Aires, who followed the course of the events from the patrol cars.

It lasted about 40 minutes and ended with hugs and tears between the relatives with their children and friends, who after 24 years already know by heart each of the names and surnames of the 74 fatal victims.

During the tribute to his loved ones, last night the outrage over the actions of the federal prosecutor García Elorrio occupied a large part of the speeches.

“The prosecutor’s argument as a prelude to an announced sentence consecrates impunity once again,” they accused.

Allegation questioned

As El Territorio reported in due time, in his statement of September 16, the prosecutor García Elorrio understood that the evidence collected in the investigation and in the oral trial hearings “does not have the degree of consistency required for the principle of innocence to fall” and before This situation considered that the principle of “in dubio pro reo” prevails, which means that in the face of insufficient evidence, one is in favor of the accused.

In addition, in his presentation, García Elorrio considered that the final report of the Civil Aviation Accident Investigation Commission of the Eastern Republic of Uruguay (Ciada) is not valid as evidence, which determined as one of the causes of the tragedy the condition of icing of pitot tubes resulting in erroneous speedometer readings.

On the other hand, he weighed the conclusions of an expert opinion ordered by the Federal Oral Court (TOF) 5, in which most of the experts considered valid the observations made by the Board of Investigations of Civil Aviation Accidents of the Argentine Republic (Jiacc) to said final report and that, therefore, the responsibility for the tragedy fell on the mistakes made by the pilots.

The prosecutor’s request was a blow to the chin of the relatives, who after almost 24 years of struggle felt that they were finally facing the possibility of obtaining justice.


The immediate response was a harsh statement in which they targeted both the prosecutor García Elorrio and the Judiciary in general.

“Thus, the prosecutor García Elorrio with his decision not to accuse and the request for acquittal (…), consecrates impunity and subjects the victims and their families to the most horrendous and cruel state of defenselessness. It did not even take into consideration the expert report signed in dissent by the official expert Carlos Lupiañez, who with objectivity and impartiality ruled that the causes of the air disaster were those determined by the Eastern Republic of Uruguay in the Final Report of 1998 ”, consignment the letter released the day before.

In another fragment, they describe the situation as “a painful setback that fully illustrates that in the federal criminal jurisdiction of Comodoro Py there is no state of justice and only the state of defenselessness reigns, with a lot of smell of rottenness.”

Then Laura Wenk, daughter of the dentist Alfredo Wenk, who died in the tragedy, said from Leandro N. Alem that “it is incredible that the prosecutor Elorrio, who is the one who has to be on the side of the victims, has joined the corruption that characterized this whole court case since it started. Hearing his allegation was the saddest and most painful thing I felt throughout this trial because, honestly, I thought that I was going to defend the 74 victims of that flight. “

For his part, Ignacio Politzer, son of Alejandro Politzer, also spoke with this morning and indicated that “the prosecutor’s argument in favor of the defendants is one more of the many samples that confirm that our Judicial Power only serves the powerful, that they have more weight than the lives of our loved ones ”.

In addition, he added: “We do not know what kind of arrangements there were, but it is evident that the prosecutor Elorrio changed his mind. The same man who at the beginning of the trial told us that he understood our demand for justice, now he decided to choose the path of impunity so that once again everything would come to nothing. “

Finally, María Elena Blanco, widow of the pilot Jorge Cécere, whom the prosecutor’s conclusions place as responsible for the tragedy, pointed out that “it is really incredible that in all this time and with all the evidence at hand the prosecutor has decided to request the acquittal of the accused. It was a real slap to the victims and us, their families. “

The woman also pointed out that during the trial “a colloquium of experts was held, but that, coincidentally, all but one were former employees of the Austral firm and the FAA. The technical report of the crash of the flight that Uruguay made, because the ship fell in its territory, was not taken into account. Obviously, the FAA did another to save its people and now the icing on the cake was given by the prosecutor Elorrio and asked for the acquittal of the accused. Obviously there are very powerful people who continue to pull the strings of this tragedy so that the truth is not known. I can only hope that the court does justice and show that it is not bought. ”

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