Date
8 December 2016
Rescue crew work at the wreckage from a plane that crashed into Colombian jungle with Brazilian soccer team Chapecoense near Medellin, Colombia, on Nov. 29. Photo: Reuters
Rescue crew work at the wreckage from a plane that crashed into Colombian jungle with Brazilian soccer team Chapecoense near Medellin, Colombia, on Nov. 29. Photo: Reuters

Plane carrying Brazil footballers crashes in Colombia; 72 dead

A plane carrying Brazil’s Chapecoense football team crashed in the Colombian mountains after reporting an electrical fault, killing 72 people, authorities said on Tuesday.

The BAe 146 charter plane, en route from Bolivia where the soccer team had a stopover, went down about 10:15 pm on Monday night.

Of the 77 people on board, who included 68 passengers and nine crew members, only five managed to survive the crash which happened near Medellin, Reuters reports. 

The Chapecoense team was on its way to a game in the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana final, South America’s equivalent of the Europa League.

It was the first time Chapecoense, a small club from the southern town of Chapeco which has had a fairy-tale rise since 2009 from Brazil’s fourth to top division, had reached the final of a major South American club competition.

Following the accident, matches were canceled around South America, and Brazil declared three days of mourning.

Tributes poured in for the footballers from the global soccer world, including celebrities such as Pele, Lionel Messi and Wayne Rooney.

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

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, Reuters noted.

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

Two black boxes were recovered from the crash site.

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RC

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