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Published On: Wed, Nov 30th, 2016

Deadly Passenger Plane Crash in Colombia – Run Out of Fuel?

nsnbc : Only six out of 81 people on board a LAMIA Bolivia British Aerospace Avro RJ85 that crashed on its flight between Santa Cruz and Medellin survived. Among those killed were almost all of Brazil’s Chapecoense soccer team. The aircrew “reportedly” asked for a priority landing because of an “electrical failure”, but the crash scene and logistics strongly suggest that the airliner crashed because it ran out of fuel.

medellin-air-crash_colombia_nov-201675 of 81 on board the Aerocivil Avro RJ85 were killed in the crash near the Colombian city of Medellin on Tuesday. The scene of the crash  in a rural part of La Union, a municipality some 13 miles south of the international airport located outside of Medellin’s urban area was “difficult to reach”.

When rescuers arrived they discovered six survivors outside the destroyed fuselage. A local police spokesman said a seventh survivor who also was discovered died in hospital.

The airliner was on a flight from Bolivia’s capital La Paz to Colombia’s second-largest city Medellin. Among the passengers on board the plane was Brazil’s Chapecoense soccer team that was scheduled to meet Medellin’s Atletico Nacional in the first leg of the final of the Copa Sudamericana on Wednesday.

Courtesy El Colombiano.

Courtesy El Colombiano.

The survivors are reportedly are air hostess Ximena Sanchez, journalist Rafael Henzel and soccer players Alan Ruschel, Marcos Danilo Padilha and Jackson Follmann. It is not immediately clear what caused the crash.

The aircrew operating the flight between Santa Cruz in Bolivia and Medellin allegedly reported an electrical failure and declared an emergency south of Medellin before the airliner crashed in a mountainous region in the evening of 28 November.

Medellin Air Traffic Controllers reportedly said that the air crew asked for a “priority landing”. Data flom Flightradar.24 show that the aircraft was flying in in a circular flying pattern before it crashed.

Since no data has been released for independent verification by media, it is at this time impossible to determine whether the plane was flying in a circular “waiting pattern” or whether the crew flew the pattern to solve alleged electrical problems while then asking for a “priority landing”.

Flight Operated Without Margin for Error and Deviations from the Flight Plan

colombia_avro-black-boxes_aircrash_medellin_nov-2016Tragically, the airline operated the flight with very little room for deviations from the original flight plan. The flight distance between Santa Cruz and Medellin is just under the 1,600nm (2,960km) operational range of the Avro RJ85 with full payload. The airliner may, in other words, have crashed because it ran out of fuel while it was circling outside Medellin.

The theory that the plane ran out of fuel is strongly supported by the fact that photos from the crash site show no signs of fire. The Avro RJ85 was on a charter flight with a Brazilian soccer team on board.

Brazil’s civil aviation authority ANAC stated that LAMIA Bolivia had applied to operate the charter flight from Brazil to Colombia, but its request was declined because the bilateral agreement between the two countries did not allow for operation of charter flights by a third party country carrier.

nsnbc international has contacted the ANAC and, as in all air disasters covered by nsnbc international, our newspaper will be requesting certified copies of the data from the flight data and cockpit voice recorders and communications between the flight crew and air traffic controllers.

Both the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder (black boxes) were found in good condition. nsnbc also calls on the ICAO to revise its regulations according to which no direct evidence or any evidence other than “official reports” can be handed to investigative journalists, media, or those affected by air disasters. The name “Black Box” should not suggest that the public can be kept in the dark.

CH/L – nsnbc 30.11.016

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