Plane carrying Brazilian soccer team crashes in Colombia; 75 dead

BOGOTA, Colombia — Seventy-five people, including members of the Brazilian soccer team Chapecoense, died when their chartered plane crashed in the mountains of Colombia, aviation authorities said on Tuesday.

Colombia’s civil aviation authority said six people survived the crash in the Cerro Gordo mountain range in Colombia’s northeastern Antioquia region.

In a press release via Facebook, it said Chapecoense defenders Alan Ruschel and Helio Hermito Zambier, known as Neto, and goalkeeper Jakson Follman had survived, along with crew members Ximena Suarez and Erwin Tumiri and journalist Rafael Henzel. All were being treated in local hospitals.

Goalkeeper Danilo was initially reported among the survivors but did not appear on a later list. News reports said he was rescued alive but later died of his injuries.

The Lamia Airlines Avro RJ aircraft was carrying nine crew members and 72 passengers, among them team members, journalists and club officials.

Authorities said 72 bodies had been recovered. Rescue efforts at the scene of the crash near the city of Medellin have been hampered by the rough terrain and heavy fog.

The cause of the crash had not yet been determined. Colombian Air Force Colonel Edgar Sanchez said that the flight crew had reported problems with the aircraft’s electronics system before the accident around 0300 GMT.

Air traffic controllers lost radar contact with the charter plane near El Gordo mountain, close to the town of La Union, Alfredo Bocanegra of Antioquia’s aviation authority said.

The athletes were on their way to a Wednesday match in Medellin, the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana final against Colombian rivals Atletico Nacional, and had flown in via Bolivia.

Brazilian President Michel Temer declared three days of national mourning. “I express my solidarity in this sad hour during which tragedy has beset dozens of Brazilian families,” he said in a statement.

The Chapecoense team comes from the southern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina, and was promoted to Brazil’s first division in 2014.

The Lamia Corporation, founded in 2009 in Venezuela and later relocated to Bolivia, provides chartered flights.

Sources told dpa that Argentinian star Lionel Messi had traveled on the same plane less than three weeks ago, returning to Argentina after the national team’s World Cup Qualifier against Brazil in Belo Horizonte.

In the wake of the crash, Atletico Nacional asked the South American Football Confederation CONMEBOL that Chapecoense be awarded the Copa Sudamericana title.

“Atletico Nacional asks CONMEBOL that the title of South America be given to Chapecoense,” the team wrote in a statement, adding that “pain overwhelms our hearts.”

CONMEBOL earlier announced it was suspending all activities related to the final match in the wake of the crash.World

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Gov. Gavin Newsom, show here speaking at the City College of San Francisco mass vaccination site in April, faces a recall election due to anger on the right over his handling of the pandemic, among other issues. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Why Gavin Newsom’s popularity could work against him in the recall election

Top pollster: ‘We’re not seeing the Democrats engaged in this election. And that may be a problem…’

Passengers ride the 14-Mission Muni bus on Friday, March 12, 2021. (Jordi Molina/Special to S.F. Examiner)
Transit officials fear Free Muni pilot could hurt already-strained service levels

Supporters say fare cuts could increase ridership, help low-income residents

The vacant property at 730 Stanyan St. in the Haight currently houses a safe sleeping site for the homeless. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Affordable housing project on former McDonald’s site delayed as city adds units

The start of construction on an affordable housing project on the site… Continue reading

Visitors read a notice hanging on the Polk Street entrance to City Hall on Thursday, March 26, 2020, shortly after the building was closed. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
City Hall reopening to the public on June 7 after long closure due to COVID-19

San Francisco will reopen City Hall to the public on June 7… Continue reading

Historic streetcars are undergoing testing on The Embarcadero to prepare for their return to service on May 15.<ins></ins>
What to expect for Muni Metro’s relaunch on May 15

Significant service restoration includes downtown subway tunnels and historic streetcars

Most Read