Colombia plane crash: Recordings show flight had run out of fuel
An air traffic controller at the Medellin airport had instructed the aircraft's pilot to wait for seven minutes while another jet attempted to land.
Recordings from the aircraft that crashed in Colombia on Tuesday show the pilot had reportedly told air traffic authorities that there was no fuel and had said “we’re going down”. The plane that crashed, while carrying members of Brazil’s Chapecoense football team among others, had asked for an emergency landing after it ran out of fuel and suffered an electrical power failure, recordings from the aircraft showed on Wednesday, according to Reuters.
At least 71 people were killed in the crash on Tuesday, with only six survivors being rescued after the crash in the municipality of La Union. Brazil on Tuesday had declared three days of mourning for the victims of the crash.
The pilot of the BAe 146 plane had requested an emergency landing at the Medellin airport, its destination. However, an air traffic controller at the airport had instructed the pilot to wait for seven minutes while another jet suffering from mechanical failures attempted to land. The pilot had then asked for landing vectors once more before going silent, after which the plane crashed, AP reported.
The recordings, which were obtained by Colombian media, confirmed the accounts of one of the survivors as well the pilot of another aircraft which had been flying nearby. Experts said the conversation between the air traffic controller and the pilot of the LaMia Airlines aircraft as well as the lack of an explosion pointed to fuel burnout as the cause of the crash.
Chapecoense, part of Brazil’s first division, was heading to Medellin to play the Copa Sudamerica finals against Atletico Nacional. The tournament was suspended after news of the crash surfaced, with Atletico Nacional requesting that the championship trophy be handed to Chapecoense as a mark of respect. Other football clubs in Brazil offered their players on loan to the team and asked the sport’s governing body in the country to give it a three-year stay against relegation.