Plane Carrying Soccer Team From Brazil Crashes in Colombia

Plane Carrying Chapecoense Soccer Team from
AP Photo/Jorge Saenz

UPDATED: A plane carrying 81 people, including a first division soccer team from Brazil, crashed Monday night in Colombia. Nearly all aboard were killed, but six people survived, according to the Associated Press.

The chartered plane was on its way to the Medellin airport and was carrying players and coaches from the Chapecoense soccer team, officials said.

The team, from the small town of Chapeco in Brazil, was scheduled to play a game Wednesday night in the Copa Sudamericana. Three team members survived the accident, including Alan Ruschel, who was conscious but in shock when he was rescued, the Brazilian newspaper O Globo reported.

The Guardian reports the others survivors as players Jakson Ragnar Follmann and Hélio Hermito Zampier, journalist Rafael Valmorbida, and crew members Ximena Suárez and Erwin Tumiri.

Chapecoense’s Danilo Padilha initially survived the crash but succumbed to his injuries.

O Globo said that Fox Sports commentator and former soccer player Mario Sergio was among those killed.

The Chapeco Soccer Assn. said it would reserve comment until after the situation became clearer. “May God be with our athletes, leaders, journalists and other invitees who are in the delegation,” the association said in a statement.

The crash occurred in a mountainous area near Medellin, about 15 miles from the city’s airport, Brazilian media reported. A statement from the José María Córdova airport read: “At the moment we know that the disaster happened in Cerro Gordo in the municipality of La Unión and that there were 72 passengers and nine crew on board, including the football team Chapecoense Real. There are reported to be six survivors.”

The plane was carrying 72 passengers and nine crew members, aviation authorities said in a statement. It was chartered by the Bolivian airline Lamia.

Medellin’s Mayor Federico Gutierrez called the crash “a tragedy of huge proportions.”

Brazilian President Michael Temer declared a national period of mourning, saying, “I express my solidarity at this sad time when dozens of Brazilian families have been affected by tragedy.”

The Associated Press reported that the plane, flying from Bolivia, declared an emergency late Monday night due to an electrical failure.

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