Plane carrying Brazilian football team crashes in Colombia, 75 dead
LA UNION, Colombia / CHAPECO, Brazil
REUTERS photoA chartered plane carrying top-tier Brazilian football team Chapecoense to the biggest game in its history crashed in the Colombian mountains as it approached Medellin, killing 75 people on board, while six survived, authorities said Nov. 29.
Dozens of bodies were laid out and covered with sheets around the wreckage of the BAe 146 aircraft, which was lying in mud near La Union, a small town outside Medellin, Reuters reported.
The plane went down at about 10:15 p.m. on the night of Nov. 28, with 72 passengers and a crew of nine. It was unclear what caused the crash, although local media said the plane had reported an electrical fault shortly before it disappeared off radar screens.
Out of the six people who survived the crash, four were football players, AFP reported.
The Colombian disaster management agency issued a press release that listed the survivors as players Alan Ruschel, Helio Hermito Zampier and Jakson Follmann, cabin crew members Ximena Suárez and Erwin Tumiri, as well as journalist Rafael Valmorbida.
A Reuters photographer said the plane split in two, destroying the tail end. Rain hampered the dozens of rescuers as they combed the muddy and forested area.
Chapecoense, from Brazil’s top league, had been flying to face Atletico Nacional of Medellin on Nov. 30 in the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana final, South America’s equivalent of the Europa League. On Nov. 29, Atletico Nacional offered the championship to Chapecoense.
It was the first time the small club from the southern city of Chapeco had reached the final of a major South American club competition.
Colombia’s civil aviation head, Alfredo Bocanegra, said by the morning of Nov. 29, there were 75 confirmed fatalities, with six injured survivors. He said the death toll could rise.
Tributes poured in from the global football family and Brazil declared three days of mourning.
“I express my solidarity in this sad hour during which tragedy has beset dozens of Brazilian families,” Brazilian President Michel Temer said. “The government will do all it can to alleviate the pain of the friends and family of sport and national journalism.”
Brazilian news organizations said 21 journalists had been on board to cover the match.
Flight tracking service Flightradar24 said on Twitter the last tracking signal from flight 2933 had been received when it was at 4,724 meters, about 30 kilometers from its destination, which sits at an altitude of 2,133 meters.
The BAe 146 was produced by a company that is now part of the UK’s BAE Systems.