It has been reported that the plane chartering a Brazilian soccer team had run out of gas. A recording during the final moments of the ill-fated Lamia Flight 333 has revealed that the pilot radioed air traffic controllers about its fuel predicament.
The cloudy conversation between the airport control tower and the British-manufactured aircraft has portrayed that a request for authorization to land was relayed. However, a controller has advised that the plane must wait for seven minutes since another jet had been given primary attention due to mechanical difficulty.
As the aircraft circled, the pilot, who has been identified as Bolivian national Miguel Quiroga has reiterated his concern, saying that there is no more gas and complete electrical trouble had set in. Over the next four minutes, the plane spiraled out of control and crashed into the Andes Mountains.
Before the communication systems went dead, the pilot has issued the plea to land as landing vectors were activated. At that point, the altitude is 9,000 feet.
The recorded data has been validated by the narratives of surviving flight attendant Ximena Sanchez and Avianca co-pilot Juan Sebastian Upegui who overheard the conversation. Judging from the fact that the crashed airplane did not explode upon impact, it is likely that the transport vessel had indeed run out of fuel.
Of the 77 people on board, six have managed to survive. The victims include most of the members of the Brazilian Chapecoense Real soccer team which was heading to Medellin for the Copa Sudamericana finals.
Since the engines were manufactured in America, the US National Transportation Safety Board will be participating in the full investigation which is perceived to last for several months. Aside from the voice and instruments data of the aircraft, the plane's flight and maintenance records will also be examined.
According to Alfredo Bocanegra, Colombia's aviation agency Chief, although electrical trouble is the initial suspected cause of the crash, the absence of fuel factoring in is not being excluded. It is necessary for aircrafts to have extra gas that will sustain their flights for 30 to 45 minutes prior to an emergency landing. Moreover, it is also uncommon for a plane to fly on a straight path due to turbulence reasons.
Meanwhile, Medellin's Atletico Nacional , the Chapecoense's foe, has requested that the Brazilians be declared the tournament's winner. Some top division teams from Brazil have also offered to loan their players for the final game.
The Brazilian government has already declared three days of mourning to honor the departed.