Pilot Before Crash: We're Out of Fuel

A final recording sheds light on plane crashed that killed 71
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 30, 2016 4:07 PM CST
Pilot Before Crash: We're Out of Fuel
Rescue teams work at the site of a chartered airplane that crashed in La Union, a mountainous area outside Medellin, Colombia, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016.   (Colombia National Police via AP)

A recording of the final moments of a doomed flight carrying a Brazilian soccer team appears to confirm reports that the plane ran out of fuel before crashing Monday in Colombia, the AP reports. In the recording, the plane's pilot can be heard telling air traffic controllers that he is out of fuel. He also mentions "total electric failure." The crash killed 71 of 77 people aboard, including most of the Chapecoense soccer team on its way to the South American final. According to Reuters, flight attendant Ximena Suarez, who survived the crash, says lights in the plane went out less than a minute before impact. "We ran out of fuel," Suarez reportedly told the man who pulled her from the wreckage. "The airplane turned off."

The Colombian military had called the lack of explosion when the plane crashed "very suspicious," the BBC reports. But that would be explained if the plane was out of fuel. It would also confirm the statements of a pilot flying nearby, who says he heard the pilot of the doomed plane say they were out of fuel. The charter company's website gave the maximum range of the plane as slightly shorter than its planned trip Monday, leading some to believe the crash was caused by negligence. But officials still haven't named an official cause of the crash, and an investigation could last months. (More plane crash stories.)

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