Los Angeles Times
Team’s plane may have run out of fuel
The pilot of the chartered plane carrying a Brazilian soccer team told air traffic controllers he had run out of fuel and desperately pleaded for permission to land before crashing into the Andes, according to a leaked recording of the final minutes of the doomed flight.
In the sometimes chaotic exchange with the air traffic tower, the pilot of the British-built jet could be heard repeatedly requesting authorization to land because of “fuel problems.” A female 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 Monday night.
The recording, obtained Wednesday by Colombian media, appeared to confirm the accounts of a surviving flight attendant and a pilot flying nearby who overheard the frantic exchange. These, along with the lack of an explosion upon impact, point to a rare case of fuel running out as a cause of the crash of the jetliner.
For now, authorities are avoiding singling out any one cause of the crash, which killed all but six of the 77 people on board, including members of Brazil’s Chapecoense soccer team traveling to Medellin for the Copa Sudamericana finals.
Meantime, though six players and a handful of support staff are all that remain of the Chapecoense soccer club, the organization plans to play again.
“In the memory of those who died and to honor their families, we will rebuild this club from scratch so it is even stronger,” club director and local businessman Cecilio Hans said.
Other clubs in Brazil’s top league are offering to loan players to Chapecoense.
Benoit Cheyrou and Tosaint Ricketts scored two minutes apart in extra time and Toronto FC advanced to the MLS Cup final, outlasting the Montreal Impact, 5-2, in the rain Wednesday night for a 7-5 aggregate victory. It took extra time and 12 goals to decide the two-leg Eastern Conference final. Toronto, the first Canadian team to play for the title, will host the Seattle Sounders on Dec. 10 in the MLS championship game.
Toronto trailed 3-2 after Game 1 in Montreal and fell further behind after the Impact scored first Wednesday.
A judge awarded more than $5 million to a former Penn State assistant football coach over his treatment by the university following Jerry Sandusky’s arrest on child molestation charges five years ago. Judge Thomas Gavin ruled in favor of Mike McQueary’s whistleblower claim, adding to a jury’s $7.3-million verdict in October for defamation and misrepresentation.
“Only when the ‘Sandusky Matter’ became public was Mr. McQueary subjected to disparate treatment and adverse employment consequences,” Gavin wrote. He said the decision to order McQueary to keep out of athletic facilities after placing him on administrative leave with pay “was the equivalent of banishment.”