The plane that crashed carrying the Chapecoense football team ran out of fuel before it could land, Brazilian civil aviation authorities have confirmed.

Experts previously argued that the crash which killed 71 people had been caused by fuel exhaustion, but now authorities have formally ruled out technical problems or sabotage. The Civil Aeronautics agency confirmed that the crash was the result of human error after studying the black box and other evidence.

The BAE 146 Avro RJ85 has a maximum range of 2,965 km, and the plane had taken off at near capacity. Air traffic controllers in Medellín told the pilot to fly in a holding pattern as another plane had a fuel leak and was given priority.

Black box recordings reveal the pilot repeatedly asked for permission to land and kept referring to a “total electric failure” caused by lack of fuel.

Before the final verdict came in, some in Brazil criticised the flight’s pilot, Miguel Quiroga, for what they described as ‘unacceptable’ risk-taking.

“This really was a tragedy, a tragedy that this happened because of pure irresponsibility,” said one pilot, speaking anonymously. “What he did was mass murder.”

Source: The Guardian.

Photo: Getty Images.