The civil aviation authority confirmed Bolivian pilot Miguel Quiroga’s final words to the control tower at Medellin’s airport on a crackly audio obtained by Colombian media, Reuters reports.
“When we arrived at the accident site and were able to inspect the remains we could confirm that the aircraft had no fuel at the time of impact,” said Freddy Bonilla, secretary of airline security at Colombia’s aviation authority.
A recording of the pilot’s final words can be heard telling the control tower the plane was “in total failure, total electrical failure, without fuel.”
He requested urgent permission to land before the audio went silent. The BAe 146, made by BAE Systems Plc, slammed into a mountainside next to the town of La Union outside Medellin.
Six people survived on board the charter flight, including three of the Chapecoense soccer team en route to the Copa Sudamericana final, the biggest game in their history, a journalist and two crew members.
International flight regulations require aircraft to carry enough reserve fuel so they can fly for 30 minutes after reaching their destination in case they need to circle before landing or fly to another airport.
“In this case, sadly, the aircraft did not have enough fuel to meet the regulations for contingency,” Bonilla said in Medellin. “One of the theories we are working on is that finding no fuel at the crash site or in the alimentation tubes, the aircraft suffered fell for lack of fuel.”