MIAMI — A chartered aircraft, operated by Lamia Bolivia, crashed in the night of November 28, 2016, while approaching José María Córdova International Airport (JMCIA) in Medellín, Colombia, killing 76 people, Colombian authorities said.
The aircraft involved in the accident, an Avro RJ85 (CP-2933 • MSN E2348) was flying from Santa Cruz (Bolivia) to Medellin, with 68 passengers and 9 crew.
In a press release, Airplan, the operator of JMCIA, reported that the crew asked for immediate priority to land, due to low fuel, followed by a radio call at 22:00 local (03:00 GMT) declaring emergency due to electrical problems before disappearing from radar.
Below there is a transcript of the communications between the Air Traffic Controller (ATC) and LMI2933:
|LMI2933, FL210 inbound, requesting priority to approach. We’re having a fuel problem right now|
|LMI2933, I understand you request priority to land because of fuel problems as well, correct?|
|Ok, be advised that I’ll give you vectors to the localizer for the approach. It’ll be in seven minutes from now.|
|… for vectors, LMI2933|
|LMI2933, say heading|
|179 outbound leg|
|Maintain heading and standby to start and to continue with your descent|
|Maintain heading and we’re visual with the ground|
|LMI2933 is requesting vectors for inbound leg, ma’am|
|Stand by, there is a traffic just below on approach and a runway inspection is being carried out. How much time do you have for landing, LMI?|
|We have a fuel emergency ma’am. We’re established on final course|
|I’m requesting immediate descent, LMI2933|
|LMI2933, you can turn to the right now to start your descent. Be advised of traffic at one mile below you|
|Traffic in sight, no factor and we request to intercept the localizer. (Gear down)|
|Captain, you are at FL210, You need to descend, you should turn right to start descent.|
|Negative ma’am, we’ve started descent and we’re going to intercept the localizer|
|LMI2933, there’s a traffic ahead you, 18,000 feet, A320|
|Got it on the TCAS above us ma’am. We’re on final course|
|The traffic is at 18000 Captain. It’s now leaving just off your left, and another traffic… Ok, it has left 18500ft|
|In sight, and we’re at 18,000, 2933|
|Stand by LMI2933, 17,700, continue the approach, wet runway. Let us know if you need any ground service|
|We’ll be confirming ground services and we’re at 16,000 for the localizer|
|Be advised, QNH 30.27|
|Ma’am, LMI2933 is in total failure… total electric and fuel|
|Runway is clear, LMI2933, fire services have been alerted|
|Copy, LMI2933… vectors! Vectors ma’am. Vectors to the runway|
|We lost radar contact, I can’t see you, say heading now|
|We’re at heading 360|
|With heading, turn left 010 to the localizer, Rionegro VOR, a mile ahead the VOR. Right now, you are… correct, I confirm, turn left 350|
|Yes, correct. You’re 0.1 miles away from Rionegro VOR|
|I can’t see your altitude, LMI|
|9000 feet, ma’am|
|You’re 8.2 miles away from the runway|
|What’s your altitude now?|
|LMI2933, say your position?|
End of the recording
Initial reports from Alfredo Bocanegra, head of Colombia’s Civil Aviation Authority (CCAA), reported the aircraft did not catch fire, and that no fuel leak evidence was visible anywhere.
During the search and rescue operations, seven survivors (three players, two airline staff and one journalist) were found. Of these, one of the players, passed away on his way to the hospital.
In the afternoon of Nov 29th 2016, the CCAA informed that both cockpit voice and flight data recorders were retrieved from the crash site, describing both to be in “perfect conditions.”
The aircraft was transporting the Chapecoense soccer team to play the finals of Copa Sudamericana 2016 against the Atlético Nacional of Medellín, which was due to be played on Wednesday. The finals were suspended, and the Colombian soccer team suggested the title should be awarded to Chapecoense.
The Avro RJ85 is a regional jet for short-haul missions. Several sources from the media have cited that the non-stop route from Santa Cruz to Medellín, estimated to be about 1,600 nautical miles, was beyond the 1,500 nautical-mile range of the aircraft.
Back in 1990, Avianca flight 52 operated by a Boeing 707, crashed on approach to New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport after running out of fuel. Eight of the nine crew members and 65 of the 149 passengers were killed in the crash.