Plane crashed ‘due to lack of fuel after pilot didn’t tell authorities until it was too late’
Reports suggest the 3,000km flight path from Bolivia to Colombia was right on the edge of the aircraft’s capability
The doomed Brazilian football team plane crashed because it didn’t have enough fuel and the pilot didn’t confess until it was too late, it has been claimed.
LaMia Flight 2933 plunged into mountains just 30km from its final destination of Medellin airport in Colombia.
Seventy-one of those board – including players from Chapecoense FC and twenty journalists – were killed.
Flight data shows the plane circled several times before the disaster after declaring an electrical failure.
It had been suggested the pilot Miguel Alejandro Quiroga Murakami may have heroically dumped fuel in a bid to prevent an explosion on impact.
But initial investigations into the crash suggest a much more tragic explanation.
The 2,972km flight path from Santa Cruz in Bolivia to Medellin was right at the edge of the aircraft’s capacity.
It had been expected that if the plane ran low on fuel, it would stop in Bogota.
But this did not happen, so the plane would have been almost empty by the time it got to Medellin.
In another twist of fate, as Flight 2933 approached, the pilot was told another plane had requested priority landing due to a problem on board.
At around 9.30pm on Monday, Viva Colombia’s flight FC8170 was given permission to land first by air traffic control.
Flight 2933 was instructed to circle at 21,000ft with other aircraft and told it was third or fourth in line to land, Colombian newspaper ElTiempo reports.
Minutes later, the pilot Mr Quiroga indicated he needed to land immediately due to lack of fuel and was given the green light.
But the flight then declared a total lack of power and the aircraft plunged from the sky in Cerro Gordo, Colombia.
Asked if the plane crashed due to a lack of fuel, General Gustavo Vargas, director of LaMia, said: “We’re looking into it, we’re waiting for information from the investigation.
“But if he [the pilot] believed there wasn’t enough fuel, he would have gone to Bogota to refuel.
“Bogota Airport, according to the flight plan, was the alternative in any case.
“Before passing Bogota he would have had to make the decision; if there was enough fuel he should continue, but if anything had happened with the fuel, he should have stopped.”
Mr Vargas added: “It would seem that if the pilot continued on, it was because he was able to.”
It has also emerged that Chapecoense had not intended for players to be on the plane in the first place.
They had initially planned to charter a flight directly from Brazil to Colombia.
But Brazilian authorities barred them from doing so because LaMia is not Brazilian or Colombian-owned, according to reports.
The decision was made to fly to Bolivia first, then on to the final destination in Colombia.
Chapecoense were the underdogs who defied odds to reach the final of a major football competition after a fairytale winning streak.
But the Brazilian club’s dreams ended in tragedy when a plane crash wiped out almost all the squad