Brazilian football club team to cup final crashes in Colombia, 75 dead - CVIEW NEWS

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Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Brazilian football club team to cup final crashes in Colombia, 75 dead

A charter plane carrying Brazilian soccer team Chapecoense to the biggest game in its history crashed in the Colombian mountains after an electrical fault, killing 75 people on board, authorities said on today.

FILE PHOTO - Players of Chapecoense celebrate after their match against San Lorenzo at the Arena Conda stadium in Chapeco, Brazil, November 23, 2016. An aircraft with 81 people aboard, including Brazilian football team Chapecoense, crashed in central Colombia, the country's civil aviation association said on its website on November 29, 2016. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker/File Photo

Colombia's worst air disaster in two decades killed all but three players on the up-and-coming team from Brazil's top soccer league as it flew to face Atletico Nacional of Medellin in the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana final, South America's equivalent of the Europa League.

Global soccer was stunned with tributes pouring in from major figures including Pele, Lionel Messi and Wayne Rooney.

Wreckage from a plane that crashed into Colombian jungle with Brazilian soccer team Chapecoense, is seen near Medellin, Colombia, November 29, 2016. REUTERS/Fredy Builes

The BAe 146 plane, en route from Bolivia where the team had a stopover, went down about 10:15 p.m. on Monday night with 72 passengers and a crew of nine on board.

The aircraft had reported electrical problems and declared an emergency minutes earlier as it neared its destination, Medellin airport officials said.

At the crash scene near the town of La Union in wooded highlands outside Medellin, dozens of bodies were laid out and covered with sheets around the wreckage.


The plane was shattered against a mountainside with the tail end virtually disintegrated. Rain hampered dozens of rescuers as they combed the muddy and forested area.

Colombia's civil aviation authority said there were 75 confirmed fatalities. It identified the six survivors as players Alan Ruschel, Jackson Follmann and Hélio Neto; journalist Rafael Valmorbida; Bolivian flight attendant Ximena Suarez; and Bolivian flight technician Erwin Tumiri.

In addition to players, coaches and staff, 21 journalists had been on board the plane to cover the match, Brazilian news organizations said.

Neto and Valmorbida were in "very delicate but stable" condition in intensive care, Dr. Guillermo Molina, head of a clinic treating them, told Reuters. Neto suffered trauma to his head, thorax and lungs, as well as open wounds to his knees.


Ruschel also was in intensive care but in stable condition, Dr. Ana Maria Gonzalez, director of another clinic also attending them, told Reuters. The two members of the flight staff were out of danger and under observation, she said.

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It was the first time Chapecoense, a small club from the southern Brazilian town of Chapeco, had reached the final of a major South American club competition.

Matches were canceled around South America and Brazil declared three days of mourning. Atletico Nacional asked for Chapecoense to be awarded the trophy in honor of those who died.

"They were the hope of our city," said Jean Panegalli, 17, a student in Chapeco, where fans were disconsolate. "They played for love of the shirt and not for money. They played with the commitment that only those who have lived here know."

The BAe 146 was produced by a company that is now part of the UK's BAE Systems

The team took a regular flight to Santa Cruz in Bolivia and then went from there to Medellin on the plane run by a Bolivian-based company called LAMIA with roots in Venezuela.

By early afternoon, rescuers had recovered 72 bodies, which were to be flown out by helicopter for identification and then repatriation.


World governing body FIFA said on Twitter its "thoughts were with the victims, their families, fans of Chapecoense and media organizations in Brazil on this tragic day."

Chapecoense qualified for the biggest game in its history after overcoming the Argentine club San Lorenzo in the semi-final on away goals following a 1-1 draw in Buenos Aires and 0-0 draw at home.

They were underdogs for the match against a club going for a rare double after winning the Copa Libertadores in July.

Chapecoense was the 21st biggest club in Brazil in terms of revenue in 2015, bringing in 46 million reais ($13.5 million), according to a list by Brazilian bank Itau BBA.







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