Authorities in Bolivia have said that the chief of LaMia airline – the carrier whose plane crashed in Colombia killing 71 people onboard on 28 November – will be held on manslaughter and other charges until investigations conclude.

Gustavo Vargas was detained along with two other employees of the company for interrogation on 6 December.

National Anti-Corruption Director Fanny Alfaro said on Thursday (8 December), "The prosecution substantiated the charges and showed there was a risk that he might flee the country before trial."

The CEO of the charter airline LaMia, Vargas, who spent Wednesday in a hospital for treatment, has denied the charges. However, the judge presiding the case agreed with prosecutors and said that there was evidence against Vargas to hold him until the crash trial ends.

Vergas remained defiant during the hearing and blamed prosecutors of lying. "The prosecutors are a bunch of liars," he said following the court hearing that lasted for more than eight hours in the Bolivian city of Santa Cruz.

The doomed flight – LaMia 2933 – ran out of fuel just before reaching its destination and crash-landed. Nineteen members of the Chapecoense football team, who were headed to Colombia for the first leg final of the Sudamericana Cup against Atletico Nacional, died in the crash.

LaMia was initially registered in Venezuela before moving its headquarters to Bolivia. Following the accident, the company's licence was suspended on 1 December by Bolivian authorities and the management had been replaced to ensure transparent inquiry.

Colombia plane crash
Coffins containing the remains of the victims of the plane crash in Colombia are loaded in a truck after paying tribute to them at Arena Conda stadium in Chapeco, Brazil REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker