Brazilian club side in Colombia plane crash

Posted by Warren Fyfe on November 29, 2016 in Warren Fyfe Site
Media captionRescuers are working in cold, hilly terrain with only hand torches for light

A plane carrying 81 people, including a top Brazilian football team, has crashed on its approach to the city of Medellin in Colombia.

Reports say seven people were pulled alive from the plane but two have since died including the team’s goalkeeper.

The chartered aircraft, flying from Brazil via Bolivia, was carrying members of the Chapecoense team.

The team had been due to play in the final of the Copa Sudamericana, against Medellin team Atletico Nacional.

The first leg of the final of the cup, South America’s second most important club competition, was scheduled for Wednesday but has now been suspended.

The match was seen as the biggest in the history of the relatively small club, which entered Brazil’s top division for the first time in 2014.

Brazilian President Michel Temer announced three days of national mourning, and top Spanish clubs Real Madrid and Barcelona held a minute’s silence at the beginning of their practise sessions.

A football fairy tale which ended in tragedy: Luis Barrucho, BBC Brasil

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The team were due to play in the first leg of the final of the Copa Sudamericana

Shortly before boarding in Sao Paulo, Chapecoense manager Cadu Gaucho, 36, appeared in a video posted on the team’s Facebook site [in Portuguese] describing the trip to Medellin as “the club’s most important to date”. Brazilian football club in air disaster

Playing in the final of the Copa Sudamericana was to be the highlight of a glorious season for the team from the small city of Santa Catarina, which has fewer than 200,000 inhabitants.

Founded in 1974, the team has only been playing in Brazil’s Serie A since 2014 but is currently ranked ninth ahead of much more famous and established teams such as Sao Paulo, Fluminense and Cruzeiro.

Last week, it became the first Brazilian team in three years to make it to the final of the Copa Sudamericana after beating Argentine side San Lorenzo.

One of the founders of the club, Alvadir Pelisser, told BBC Brasil the tragedy had put an “end to everyone’s dream”. “We were a family, I’m shocked,” he added.

The South American Football Confederation (Conmebol) said it was suspending “all activities”.

Chapecoense issued a brief statement saying: “May God be with our athletes, officials, journalists and other guests travelling with our delegation.”

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Footballer Alan Ruschel is rushed to hospital

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Teleantioquia via Twitter

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The plane crashed in a mountainous area on its way to Medellin

It said it would refrain from any further statements until it had assessed the extent of the crash.

Later the team’s vice-president, Ivan Tozzo, told cable channal SporTV: “There are a lot of people crying in our city. We could never imagine this. Chapecoense is the biggest reason for joy here.”

At least two of the survivors are footballers. They were confirmed to be defender Alan Ruschel and reserve goalkeeper Jackson Follman.

Some reports suggest another defender, Heilio Neto, was also rescued.

The club’s main goalkeeper, Marcos Padilha aka Danilo, was also pulled alive from the wreckage but a spokesman said he later died in hospital.

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Mi Oriente

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Rescuers can only reach the crash site by land – local media picture

The sports network Telemundo Deportes tweeted (in Spanish) that Ruschel was in shock but conscious and talking, and asked to keep his wedding ring and to see his family.

His wife told Globo TV: “Thank God Alan is in the hospital. He’s in a stable condition.”

The team, from the southern city of Chapeco, was promoted to Brazil’s first division in 2014 and reached the final last week after a victory against Argentina’s San Lorenzo.

What we know about the crash so far

  • Plane operated by charter airline Lamia, originally from Venezuela but based in Bolivia
  • Carrying 72 passengers and nine crew, among them members of the Chapecoense football team
  • Flying from Brazil, bound for Medellin, Colombia, after a stopover in Santa Cruz, Bolivia
  • Plane crashed at 22:15 local time on Monday (03:15 GMT on Tuesday) after pilot reported an electrical fault
  • Six people survived the crash, including three footballers

Medellin’s Mayor Federico Gutierrez described it as “a tragedy of huge proportions”.

Conmebol said in a statement that its president, Alejandro Dominguez, was on his way to Medellin.

“The Conmebol family greatly regrets what happened. All activities of the confederation are suspended until further notice,” it said.

Are you in the area? Did you witness the crash or the rescue? Let us know about your experiences. Email

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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-38140981

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