Brazilian football team's plane crashes in Colombia killing 76

The charter aircraft was carrying the Chapecoense side from southern Brazil as it headed to Colombia for a cup final.

14:33, UK,Tuesday 29 November 2016

Wreckage of the plane carrying the Chapecoense football team

Seventy-six people have been killed after a plane carrying members of a Brazilian football team crashed in Colombia, police have said.

Five others survived, including three players.

The charter aircraft, carrying 72 passengers and nine crew, came down in a mountainous area as it approached Colombia’s second-largest city, Medellin.

The plane, which departed from Santa Cruz in Bolivia, had been carrying the Chapecoense football team, based in Chapeco in southern Brazil.

Colombian authorities named the three footballers who survived as Alan Ruschel, Jakson Follmann, and Neto.

Chapecoense player Neto after the crash

Another player, Danilo, had initially survived too, but later died.

The other two people who survived were passengers Rafael Correa Gobbato and Ximena Suarez.

Concerning the condition of 27-year-old defender Ruschel, a doctor said: “We still don’t have a final diagnosis.

“We are waiting for lab results and X-rays to make a decision and do a (surgical) procedure.”

It was reported in Brazil that 21 journalists had been on board the plane.

In a statement on its Facebook page, the club said: “May God accompany our athletes, officials, journalists and other guests travelling with our delegation.”

Club vice president Ivan Tozzo told cable channel SporTV: “We are very sad, gathered here in the locker room of our stadium.

“There are a lot of people crying in our city. We could never imagine this.

“Chapecoense is the biggest reason for joy here.”

A Chapecoense player who has been sidelined through injury and was not on the flight, Alejandro Martinuccio, said: “I feel profound sadness.

“The only thing I can ask is prayers for the companions who were on the flight.”

The side, which entered Brazil’s first division in 2014 for the first time since the 1970s, was preparing to play on Wednesday in the first of a two-leg Copa Sudamericana final against Medellin’s Atletico Nacional.

Atletico Nacional has tweeted to express its sympathies.

It is not yet clear what caused the aircraft – operated by charter airline LaMia – to come down, but Colombia has been experiencing heavy rain and thunderstorms.

Authorities said it had declared an emergency and lost radar contact shortly before 10pm local time on Monday (0300 GMT) after an electrical failure.

The head of Colombia’s civil aviation agency, Alfredo Bocanegra, said reported comments from a female flight attendant that the plane had run out of fuel were being evaluated.

Radar shows the plane was circling before it came down at about 10.15pm (0315 GMT).

Britain’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch is sending three investigators to assist in the search for answers.

Image Caption:The Chapecoense team pictured earlier this month

The bad weather has made access to the crash site difficult, causing the rescue operation to be suspended in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Low visibility meant an air force helicopter had to turn back.

Local fire department chief Edison Gutierrez said: “If it’s not four-wheel drive vehicles, you can’t get in.”

Chapecoense celebrate winning their Copa Sudamericana semi-final

Video:The team celebrates its Copa Sudamericana semi-final win

According to local radio, the same plane had carried Argentina’s national squad to a match earlier this month in Brazil, and had also been used by the Venezuelan national team.

The president of Brazil, Michel Temer, has declared three days of mourning.

“I express my solidarity in this sad hour during which tragedy has beset dozens of Brazilian families,” he said.

“The government will do all it can to alleviate the pain of the friends and family of sport and national journalism.”

Radar shows the plane was circling before it crashed

Video:The radar track shows the plane was circling before the crash

FIFA President Gianni Infantino said in a statement: “This is a very, very sad day for football.

“At this difficult time our thoughts are with the victims, their families and friends.”

Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea tweeted: “Deeply affected by Medellin’s plane crash. I shared locker with (Chapecoense player) Cleber Santana and it’s difficult to reveal how I feel. A huge hug.”

Barcelona and Real Madrid each held a minute’s silence at their training sessions on Tuesday.

The South American football federation has suspended all games following the news from Colombia.


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