The devastated team mate of Chapeco footballers tragically killed in a plane crash has claimed they were “assassinated”.

In an astonishing outburst, the Chapecoense player Moises Santos, whose life was saved as he was injured so did not travel with his fellow players, said:  “That wasn’t an accident.” Mr Santos said the pilot Moises Quiroga was guilty of killing 71 out of 77 people on board.

The pilot was the owner of the LaMia airline and many questions remain unanswered about how the crash happened. His last words before the plane crashed indicated that the plane had run out of fuel moments before plunging into Colombian mountains.

Minutes away

Reports have suggested that the pilot had the opportunity to refuel an hour before the crash but chose not to. There have also been indications that he was only four minutes away from the runway where he could have landed safely, but that he circled for 13 minutes. However, other suggestions are that he had been told to circle by air traffic controllers as he tried to come in to land at Medellin. It is understood there may have been another flight suffering mechanical failure which was trying to land.

Heartbroken Mr Santos says Mr Quigora has not just destroyed a host of families, but that the whole city of Chapeco will never be the same again. Officials say that the plane, which was a British-made 146 Avro RJ85 had flown beyond its fuel capacity.

In a tape leaked of the tragic flights final moment, the pilot can clearly be heard saying that he had no fuel left at all and that the plane had suffered a total electronic failure. Airport officials are said to have told the crew before they took off from Bolivia that they only had enough fuel to take them to the next stop provided there were no delays at all with their flight.