FANS ANGER AFTER CONfiRMATION Chapecoense plane ran out of fuel
BRASIL - Colombian media release audio of pilot telling air traffic controllers that the plane – which crashed killing 71 players, crew and journalists – was ‘without fuel’.
Football, religion and grief dominated the emotional requiem service in Southern Brazil on Wednesday night for the 71 players, technical staff, sports journalists and crew killed when a plane chartered by local team Chapecoense crashed on a Colombian mountainside on Wednesday. But there was anger too, at the reports circulating that the plane had run out of fuel. On Wednesday night Brazil’s O Globo newspaper said Colombian civil aviation authorities had confirmed there was no fuel in the aircraft’s tank and have opened an investigation. Delays getting from São Paulo to Bolivia, where the team chartered the plane that crashed, meant a planned refueling stop in Cobija, Bolivia, was abandoned because the airport does not operate at night, O Globo said. It was a mistake, said Nataly Ferranti, 16, from the team’s female youth team, that “ended lives, ended Chapecoense”.
“I feel indignation,” she said. A leaked recording of the final minutes of the doomed flight revealed a sometimes chaotic exchange with the air traffic tower, with the pilot repeatedly requesting authorization to land because of “fuel problems”. A controller explained another plane had been diverted with mechanical problems and had priority, instructing the pilot to wait seven minutes. As the plane circled in a holding pattern, the pilot grew more desperate. “Complete electrical failure, without fuel,” he said in the tense final moments before the plane set off on a four-minute death spiral that ended with it slamming into a mountainside on Monday night. Just before going silent the pilot made a final plea to land: “Vectors, señorita. Landing vectors.”
Players who did not travel on the fatal flight paid tribute to their teammates at the club’s stadium in Chapecó. (Photo: AFP)