Bolivia shuts down airline after football team crash

Medellín, Colombia - The authorities on Thursday shut down a Bolivian charter airline whose plane ran out of fuel and crashed in the Colombian mountains, killing 71 people including most of a Brazilian football team.

As grieving relatives identified their loved ones and the first body was sent home, a harrowing recording emerged of the pilot's final minutes seeking to land the plane without fuel.

Bolivia said it had suspended the charter company LAMIA's permit and ordered 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.

Investigators are examining pilot error and air traffic control problems as possible factors in Monday night's crash.

The disaster killed most of the Brazilian football club Chapecoense Real and 20 journalists travelling with them to a major regional championship match.

LAMIA, which specializes in flying Latin American football teams, has ferried local clubs and national sides around the region, with players including superstar Lionel Messi.

Investigators are trying to piece together the last moments of the doomed flight, which slammed into the mountains outside Medellin with 77 people on board - six of whom miraculously survived.

Forensic authorities who identified the bodies said in a statement Thursday that the dead included 64 Brazilians, five Bolivians, a Venezuelan and a Paraguayan.

The body of the last was scheduled to be flown back to Paraguay on Thursday evening, with the rest departing on Friday, it said.

Details of the jet's terrifying end emerged in an audio recording aired by Colombian media in which the pilot radios frantically that he is out of fuel.

In the recording, pilot Miguel Quiroga contacts the control tower seeking priority to land.

The operator tells him he will 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 replies.

Although the timeline was not immediately clear, shortly after, the pilot radios: "Ma'am, Lima-Mike-India 2933 is in total failure, total electrical failure, without fuel." .

The air traffic controller said she had since received threats, blaming people "ignorant" of safety regulations.

"I can say with absolute certainty that for my part, I did everything humanly possible and technically required to keep those (people) alive," she said in a statement.

Colombia's civil aeronautics agency said the time sequence of the tape was "inexact," and had no comment on the content of the recording.

But the agency's air safety chief, Freddy Bonilla, confirmed that the plane was out of fuel at the moment of impact.

The plane had disregarded international rules on fuel reserves, he said.

Investigators said it would take at least six months to analyse the plane's black box recorders and reach a conclusion.

At the San Vicente funeral home, victims' families gathered in mourning.

Roberto Di Marche, a cousin of late Chapecoense director Nilson Folle Junior, arrived in the team's jersey, then removed it and left it by his cousin's body.

"He was like a son, a brother to me," he said, his voice trembling. "And now he's like this, in a coffin. It's terrible." .

The Cinderella-story club Chapecoense had been travelling to what would have been the biggest match in its history, the finals of South America's second-largest club tournament, the Copa Sudamericana.

Tearful tributes were held Wednesday evening, at the time the match was to have been played, in Medellin and the team's hometown, Chapeco in southern Brazil.

Chapecoense media spokesman Andrei Copetti said a big wake was planned in the club stadium for when the bodies were brought home.

In Europe, a minute's silence for Chapecoense will be held before every Champions League and Europa League game next week, UEFA said.

Among the survivors, Chapecoense defender Alan Ruschel was in critical but stable condition in intensive care after back surgery.

Journalist Rafael Henzel and player Helio Neto were listed as stable. Two crew members were likely to leave the hospital Thursday, an official said.

Goalkeeper Jakson Follmann was set to undergo surgery again after having his right leg amputated.

Plane carrying football players crashes in Colombia

  • Brazilian soccer player Alan Luciano Ruschel of Chapecoense soccer club receives medical attention after a plane crash.
  • Relatives of Brazilian journalist Guilherme Marques, who died in a plane accident that crashed into Colombian junglewith Brazilian soccer team Chapecoense onboard near Medellin, mourn during a mass in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
  • Relatives of Brazilian journalist Guilherme Marques, who died in a plane accident that crashed into Colombian junglewith Brazilian soccer team Chapecoense onboard near Medellin, mourn during a mass in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
  • Rescue crew work at the wreckage from a plane that crashed into Colombian jungle with Brazilian soccer team Chapecoense near Medellin.
  • Rescue workers carry the body of a victim from a plane that crashed into Colombian jungle with Brazilian soccer team Chapecoense.
  • Rescue workers carry the body of a victim from a plane that crashed into Colombian jungle with Brazilian soccer team Chapecoense.
  • Fans of Chapecoense soccer team react at the Arena Conda stadium in Chapeco, Brazil.
  • A fan of Chapecoense soccer team and his son react at the Arena Conda stadium in Chapeco, Brazil.
  • Fans of Chapecoense soccer team gather in the streets to pay tribute to their players in Chapeco, Brazil.
  • Fans of Chapecoense soccer team are pictured in front of the Arena Conda stadium in Chapeco, Brazil, November 29, 2016.
  • Fans of Chapecoense soccer team gather in the streets to pay tribute to their players in Chapeco, Brazil.
  • Fans of Chapecoense soccer team attend a mass at the Santo Antonio Cathedral in Chapeco, Brazil.
  • Fans of Chapecoense soccer team attend a mass at the Santo Antonio Cathedral in Chapeco, Brazil.
  • Fans of Chapecoense soccer team are pictured in front of the Arena Conda stadium in Chapeco, Brazil, November 29, 2016.
  • Flowers and messages are seen next a Chapecoense soccer team flag in tribute to their players in front of the Arena Conda stadium in Chapeco, Brazil, November 29, 2016.
  • Fans of Chapecoense soccer team are pictured in front of the Arena Conda stadium in Chapeco, Brazil, November 29, 2016.
  • A fan of Chapecoense soccer team prays at the Arena Conda stadium in Chapeco.
  • The flags of Brazil and the member countries of the South American Soccer Confederation (CONMEBOL) fly at half staff, paying tribute to members of Chapecoense soccer team in a plane crash in Colombia, in front of the headquarters in Luque.
  • The flags of Brazil and the member countries of the South American Soccer Confederation (CONMEBOL) fly at half staff, paying tribute to members of Chapecoense soccer team in a plane crash in Colombia, in front of the headquarters in Luque.
  • People pay tribute to the players of Brazilian team Chapecoense Real who were killed in a plane accident in the Colombian mountains, at the club's Arena Conda stadium in Chapeco, in the southern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina.
  • People pay tribute to the players of Brazilian team Chapecoense Real who were killed in a plane accident in the Colombian mountains, at the club's Arena Conda stadium in Chapeco, in the southern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina.
  • People attend a mass in memoriam of the players of Brazilian team Chapecoense Real killed in a plane crash in the Colombian mountains, in Chapeco, in the southern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina.
  • A fan of Chapecoense soccer team shows a poster of her team at the Arena Conda stadium in Chapeco, Brazil.
  • A fan of Chapecoense soccer team shows a poster of her team at the Arena Conda stadium in Chapeco, Brazil.
  • People attend a mass in memoriam of the players of Brazilian team Chapecoense Real killed in a plane crash in the Colombian mountains, in Chapeco, in the southern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina.
  • Fans light candles in tribute to the players of Brazilian team Chapecoense Real killed in a plane crash in the Colombian mountains, at their football stadium in Chapeco, Santa Catarina.
  • Fans light candles in tribute to the players of Brazilian team Chapecoense Real killed in a plane crash in the Colombian mountains, at their football stadium in Chapeco, Santa Catarina.
  • People surround a church during a mass in memoriam of the players of Brazilian team Chapecoense Real killed in a plane crash in the Colombian mountains, in Chapeco, in the southern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina.
  • People surround a church during a mass in memoriam of the players of Brazilian team Chapecoense Real killed in a plane crash in the Colombian mountains, in Chapeco, in the southern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina.
  • People attend a mass in memoriam of the players of Brazilian team Chapecoense Real killed in a plane crash in the Colombian mountains, in Chapeco, in the southern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina.
  • People attend a mass in memoriam of the players of Brazilian team Chapecoense Real killed in a plane crash in the Colombian mountains, in Chapeco, in the southern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina.
  • People pay tribute to the players of Brazilian team Chapecoense Real who were killed in a plane accident in the Colombian mountains, at the club's Arena Conda stadium in Chapeco, in the southern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina.
  • People pay tribute to the players of Brazilian team Chapecoense Real who were killed in a plane accident in the Colombian mountains, at the club's Arena Conda stadium in Chapeco, in the southern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina.
  • View of a flower hanging from a net during a tribute to the players of Brazilian team Chapecoense Real who were killed in a plane accident in the Colombian mountains, at the club's Arena Conda stadium in Chapeco, in the southern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina.
  • A sign placed by the Brazilian team Chapecoense Real thanking fans for their support in 2016 is seen in Chapeco, city in the southern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina.
  • A sign placed by the Brazilian team Chapecoense Real thanking fans for their support in 2016 is seen in Chapeco, city in the southern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina.
  • Rescue workers inspect the bodies from the wreckage of a plane that crashed into the Colombian jungle with Brazilian soccer team Chapecoense onboard near Medellin.
  • Colombian air force helicopter retrieves the bodies of victims from a plane that crashed into the Colombian jungle with Brazilian soccer team Chapecoense onboard.
  • Rescue crew work at the wreckage of a plane that crashed into the Colombian jungle with Brazilian soccer team Chapecoense near Medellin, Colombia.
  • Rescuers gesture near the wreckage of the LAMIA airlines charter plane carrying members of the Chapecoense Real football team that crashed in the mountains of Cerro Gordo, municipality of La Union, on November 29, 2016.
  • Rescuers carry one of the survivors from the LAMIA airlines charter plane carrying members of the Chapecoense Real football team that crashed in the mountains of Cerro Gordo, municipality of La Union, on November 29, 2016.
  • The wreckage of the LAMIA airlines charter plane carrying members of the Chapecoense Real football team is seen after it crashed in the mountains of Cerro Gordo, municipality of La Union, on November 29, 2016.
  • Members of the forensics team carry the bodies of victims of the LAMIA airlines charter plane crash in the mountains of Cerro Gordo, municipality of La Union, on November 29, 2016.
  • Members of the forensics team recover the bodies of victims of the LAMIA airlines charter plane crash in the mountains of Cerro Gordo, municipality of La Union, on November 29, 2016.
  • Wreckage from a plane that crashed into Colombian jungle with Brazilian soccer team Chapecoense, is seen near Medellin, Colombia, November 29, 2016.
  • Rescuers carry one of the survivors from the LAMIA airlines charter plane carrying members of the Chapecoense Real football team that crashed in the mountains of Cerro Gordo, municipality of La Union, on November 29, 2016.
  • The wreckage of the LAMIA airlines charter plane carrying members of the Chapecoense Real football team is seen after it crashed in the mountains of Cerro Gordo, municipality of La Union, on November 29, 2016.
  • A charter plane carrying the Brazilian football team crashed in the mountains in Colombia late Monday, killing as many as 75 people, officials said.
  • Rescuers carry one of the survivors from the LAMIA airlines charter plane carrying members of the Chapecoense Real football team that crashed in the mountains of Cerro Gordo, municipality of La Union, on November 29, 2016.
  • This file photo taken on November 24, 2016 shows Brazil's Chapecoense players posing for pictures during their 2016 Copa Sudamericana semifinal second leg football match against Argentina's San Lorenzo held at Arena Conda stadium, in Chapeco, Brazil.
  • Real Madrid's players observe a minute of silence at Real Madrid's Valdebebas training ground outside Madrid, Spain, after a plane crash involving passengers including players of Brazilian soccer team Chapecoense, November 29, 2016.
  • An Avro RJ85 operated by Lamia which crashed on approach to Medellin while carrying 81 passengers and crew including Brazilian football team Chapecoense is seen in a file picture taken in Norwich, Britain on September 25, 2015.

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