Brazilian side Chapecoense involved in tragic plane crash

A plane carrying members of Brazilian football team, Chapecoense, has crashed in Colombia, killing 76 people.

Five others survived, including three players.

The charter aircraft, carrying 72 passengers and nine crew, came down in a mountainous area outside Medellin at about 10.15pm local time.

It was later confirmed to be carrying members of the Brazil Serie A side, who were scheduled to play in the Copa Sudamerica finals against Atletico National in Medellin on Wednesday.

Access to the crash site had been difficult because of heavy rain, causing the rescue operation to be suspended in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

The wreckage of the plane the Chapecoense delegation were flying on.
The wreckage of the plane Chapecoense were flying on.

It has been confirmed that Chapecoense defender, 27-year-old Alan Ruschel, is one of the five survivors.

Concerning the player’s condition, 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.”

Colombian authorities also named the two other footballers who survived as Jakson Follmann and Neto.

Another player, goalkeeper Danilo, had initially survived the crash, but later died in hospital.

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.”

Three Chapecoense players who were unable to travel with the team are pictured alone in the teams dressing room.
Three Chapecoense players who were unable to travel with the team are pictured alone in the team’s dressing room.

The plane had declared an emergency due to power failure before losing contact with the control tower.

Atletico Nacional has tweeted to express its sympathies. The South American football federation has suspended all games following the news from Colombia.

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.”

A young Chapecoense fan sits in the clubs stadium today following the tragic news.
A young Chapecoense fan sits in the club’s stadium following today’s tragic news.

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.

“FIFA would like to extend its most heartfelt condolences to the fans of Chapecoense, the football community and media organizations concerned in Brazil.”

The mayor of Medellin, Federico Gutierrez, said: “It’s a regrettable situation.

“I can confirm that this is the plane where the players were and right now we are following the events.

“We have the necessary team coming from Medellin – ambulances, medical staff – and the important thing here is to understand that there are survivors and we are saving lives.

“We are doing all we can in this very regrettable and sad situation.”

Who are Chapecoense?

Chapecoense
Chapecoense players celebrate during their Copa Sudamericana semi-final win.

Chapecoense were founded in 1973 in the city of Chapeco, in the state of Santa Caterina, southern Brazil.

The team went on to win the state championship within a few years, and enjoyed success locally. But top flight football eluded them.

In 2014, the club entered Brazil’s first division, the Serie A, for the first time since the 1970s, and this year made it to the final of the Copa Sudamericana – South America’s equivalent of the Europa League. Wednesday’s game was set to be the club’s first appearance in a major final.

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