The air-traffic controller who communicated with the pilot of the plane carrying Brazil’s Chapecoense soccer club shortly before it crashed near the Colombian city of Medellin, says she has received death threats in the wake of the accident.
Yaneth Molina said in a statement to her colleagues that it was comforting to have their support following Monday night’s crash, which left 71 of the plane’s 77 occupants dead and prompted some “ignorant people” to threaten her, Efe news agency reported.
“I can say with absolute certainty that on my part I did everything humanly possible and technically necessary to save lives. Regrettably, my efforts were in vain,” Molina said.
The pilot had initially requested landing priority after verifying that the plane was low on fuel but did not report an emergency situation, prompting Molina to give priority to another plane that had reported a fuel leak.
The Lamia plane subsequently suffered an electrical failure while in a holding pattern, after which the pilot alerted the control tower. But after being permitted to land, the plane crashed in a mountainous area.
The plane was carrying Chapecoense players, executives, coaches and other staff, along with special guests, journalists and a crew of nine.
Sources with Chapecoense said the club may take legal action against Lamia airlines once the process of repatriating the bodies has concluded.