Colombia crash airline shut down

The disaster killed most of Brazilian football club Chapecoense Real and 20 journalists traveling with them to a championship match. Photograph:( Getty )

Medellin, Colombia Dec 01, 2016, 10.02 PM (IST)

Bolivia announced it had shut down LAMIA charter airline whose plane crashed on Monday killing 71 people in Colombia, including players from a Brazilian football team and twenty journalists.

The government said it had suspended the Bolivian charter company and rdered an investigation into its operations. It also suspended the executive staff of the civil aviation authority and the airports administrator for the duration of the probe, news agency AFP reported.

The decision comes as investigators examine factors leading to the crash.

Only six people survived the disaster that killed most of Brazilian football club Chapecoense Real and 20 journalists traveling with them to a championship match.

According to a recording aired on Wednesday by Colombian media, the pilot had radioed to report that the plane was running out of fuel.

Bolivian pilot Miguel Quiroga had asked for permission to land due to a "fuel emergency" but was told that he would have to wait seven minutes for another plane to land first.

"We have a fuel emergency, ma'am, that's why I am asking you for it at once," the pilot replied.

Shortly after, the pilot radioed: "Miss, LAMIA 933 is in total failure, total electrical failure, without fuel."

The operator responded: "Runway clear and expect rain on the runway Lima-Mike-India 2933. Firefighters alerted."

The pilot of an Aviance plane flying near by confirmed he had overheard the LAMIA plane reporting an emergency.

"Mayday mayday ... Help us get to the runway ... Help, help," Juan Sebastian Upegui described the LAMIA pilot as saying in an audio message also played by local media, reuters reported. "Then it ended ... We all started to cry."

AFP reported that the investigators had finished identifying the bodies on Thursday. Since there was no fire on board, bodies are being identified by fingerprints, Julio Bitelli, Brazil's ambassador to Colombia, had told Reuters.

The bodies will be sent to Brazil, Bolivia, Venezuela and Paraguay late Thursday or early Friday.

(With inputs from agencies)