Thursday 27 July 2017

Initial probe into Brazilian football team plane crash finds plane ran out of fuel

Rescue workers search for survivors at he wreckage of a chartered airplane that crashed in La Union, a mountainous area outside Medellin, Colombia, Tuesday , Nov. 29, 2016. (AP Photo/Luis Benavides)
Rescue workers search for survivors at he wreckage of a chartered airplane that crashed in La Union, a mountainous area outside Medellin, Colombia, Tuesday , Nov. 29, 2016. (AP Photo/Luis Benavides)

The plane that crashed with a Brazilian football team on board had run out of fuel, a preliminary investigation has found.

Monday's statement by the Civil Aeronautics agency in Colombia says the conclusion is based on the plane's black boxes and other evidence.

The British Aerospace 146 operated by the Bolivia-based LaMia charter company crashed as it was trying to approach the airport in Medellin, Colombia, while carrying a Brazilian football team, on November 28.

Seventy one people died and six survived.

The Civil Aeronautics agency said the evidence pointed to human error rather than technical problems or sabotage.

Experts had earlier suggested that fuel exhaustion was a likely cause of the crash, which wiped out all but a few members of the Chapecoense football team, as well as team officials and journalists accompanying them to a championship play-off match in Medellin.

The BAE 146 Avro RJ85 has a maximum range of 2,965 kilometres (1,600 nautical miles) - just under the distance between Medellin and Santa Cruz, Bolivia, where the plane had taken off at almost full capacity.

The plane was in the air for about four hours and 20 minutes when air traffic controllers in Medellin put it into a holding pattern because another flight had reported a suspected fuel leak and was given priority.

In a recording of a radio message from the pilot of the LaMia flight, he can be heard repeatedly requesting permission to land due to a lack of fuel and a "total electric failure".

A surviving flight attendant and a pilot flying nearby also overheard the frantic pleas from the doomed plane.

In addition, there was no explosion upon impact, pointing to a scarcity of fuel.

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