Chapecoense air crash: Colombia investigates fuel link

Reuters

Instead of a shot at glory, the team, numerous chief staff, and 20 Brazilian journalists were killed when their charter plane slammed into a mountainside short of the airport late on Monday.

Three of Brazil's leading clubs have said they will offer players to Chapecoense.

"Wear this kit and crest in support of the friends, family and fans of Chapecoense", the free download instructed players when it appeared Tuesday evening.

The pilot of the British Aerospace CP-2933 aircraft can be heard requesting permission to land, citing "fuel problems", reports Xinhua.

Meanwhile, British aviation authorities said the flight data and cockpit voice recorders recovered from the accident site were being brought to Britain for study.

Only six people of the 77 on board survived the devastating crash in La Union town, outside of the north-eastern city of Medellin.

A Brazilian defense ministry spokesman said 20 bodies had been identified by Wednesday morning.

The operator tells pilot Miguel Quiroga he will have to wait seven minutes to land. Club vice-president Luiz Antonio Palaoro said LaMia had a track record of transporting soccer teams around South America, and it had used the airline before.

As the jetliner circled, the pilot grew more desperate.

A funeral employee places a white sheet with a Chapecoense soccer team logo over a casket containing the remains of a team member, in Medellin, Colombia, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016.

But it was too late.

The flight control recordings, obtained by several Colombian media outlets, seemed to confirm the accounts of a surviving flight attendant and a pilot flying nearby who overheard the frantic pleas from the doomed airliner.

Alfredo Bocanegra, head of Colombia's aviation agency, said that while evidence initially pointed to an electrical problem, the possibility the crash was caused by lack of fuel has not been ruled out. "This is why I chose to come and pay my respects for the players who left Chapeco with a dream and who will never be forgotten", said student Daniel Augusto Barrera, 21.

Two of the Bolivian flight crew, Ximena Suarez and Erwin Tumiri, were bruised but not in critical condition, while journalist Rafael Valmorbida was treated in intensive care for multiple rib fractures that partly collapsed a lung.

They gathered at exactly the hour their team, which just a few years ago was in Brazil's gritty lower leagues, should have been kicking off in Medellin, Colombia against Atletico Nacional for the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana finals.

The most serious case is that of goalkeeper Follmann, who has had one leg partially amputated and is in danger of losing the other. "As far as we are concerned", the club said in a statement, "Chapecoense will forever be the champions of the Copa Sudamericana Cup 2016".

Associated Press photographer Fernando Vergara reported this story in Medellin and AP writer Hannah Dreier reported from Caracas, Venezuela.

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