‘We have to­tal elec­tric fail­ure’

> Plane in Colom­bia crash was also run­ning out of fuel: Record­ing

The Sun (Malaysia) - - NEWS WITHOUT BORDERS -

BO­GOTA: The plane that crashed in Colom­bia vir­tu­ally wip­ing out an en­tire Brazil­ian soc­cer team was run­ning out of fuel, had no elec­tri­cal power, and was pre­par­ing for an emer­gency land­ing, ac­cord­ing to the pi­lot’s fi­nal words.

The dis­as­ter on Mon­day night killed 71 and sent shock waves round the global soc­cer world.

Only six on board the Lamia Bo­livia char­ter flight sur­vived, in­clud­ing three of the Chapecoense soc­cer squad en route to the big­gest game in their his­tory: the Copa Su­damer­i­cana fi­nal.

“Miss, Lamia 933 is in to­tal fail­ure, to­tal elec­tri­cal fail­ure, with­out fuel,” Bo­li­vian pi­lot Miguel Quiroga was heard telling the con­trol tower op­er­a­tor at Medellin’s air­port on the crackly au­dio played by Colom­bian me­dia.

“Fuel emer­gency, Miss,” he added, re­quest­ing ur­gent per­mis­sion to land.

That matched the ac­count from the co-pi­lot of an Avianca plane fly­ing close by at the time.

He said he over­heard the Lamia plane re­port­ing it was out of fuel and had to land.

“May­day may­day. Help us get to the run­way. Help, help,” Juan Se­bas­tian Upegui de­scribed the Lamia pi­lot as say­ing in an au­dio mes­sage also played by lo­cal me­dia.

“Then it ended. We all started to cry.”

The plane slammed into a moun­tain­side next to La Union town out­side Medellin.

Be­sides the three play­ers, a jour­nal­ist and two crew mem­bers sur­vived.

One sur­vivor, Bo­li­vian flight tech­ni­cian Er­win Tu­miri, said he only saved him­self by strict ad­her­ence to se­cu­rity pro­ce­dure, while oth­ers pan­icked.

“Many pas­sen­gers got up from their seats and started yelling,” he told Colom­bia’s Ra­dio Cara­col.

“I put the bag be­tween my legs and went into the fe­tal po­si­tion as rec­om­mended.”

Bo­li­vian flight at­ten­dant Xi­mena Suarez, an­other sur­vivor, said the lights went out less than a minute be­fore the plane slammed into the moun­tain, ac­cord­ing to Colom­bian of­fi­cials in Medellin.

Of the play­ers, goal­keeper Jack­son Foll­mann was re­cov­er­ing from the am­pu­ta­tion of his right leg, doc­tors said.

An­other player, de­fender He­lio Neto, re­mained in in­ten­sive care with se­vere trauma to his skull, tho­rax and lungs. Fel­low de­fender Alan Ruschel had spinal surgery.

Suarez and Tu­miri were shaken and bruised but not in crit­i­cal con­di­tion, med­i­cal staff said, while jour­nal­ist Rafael Val­mor­bida was in in­ten­sive care for rib frac­tures that partly col­lapsed a lung. – Reuters

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