Columbia Plane Crashes, Brazilian Soccer Team Killed, Only Five Survive
A plane carrying players from a Brazilian football team headed to Colombia for a regional tournament final, has crashed on its way to Medellin’s airport, killing at least 76 people.
Police officials said that five passengers had survived, one died in hospital and that the rest of the passengers were killed in the crash.
The entire Chapocoense football team – and an accompanying entourage of staff – were among 72 passengers and nine crew on board the aircraft. Local reports said a large number of journalists were also on the plane.
Al Jazeera’s Alessandro Rampietti, reporting from Bogota, said the flight crashed in a mountainous region.
“There have been heavy rains day in and day out in the last week or so,” he said. “That could have played a big role in the crash, but that is still unconfirmed.”
It was not clear what caused the British Aerospace 146 short-haul plane to crash, but, as reported by Rampietti, Colombia had been hit by heavy rains and thunderstorms in recent hours.
Data from the FlightRadar24.com website showed the plane circling before eventually disappearing south of Rio Negro. Medellin’s airport confirmed that the aircraft, which made a stop in Bolivia, was transporting the first division Chapecoense team from southern Brazil.
Al Jazeera’s Monica Villamizar, reporting from Brazil’s San Paolo, said the country was “completely devastated”.
“This team in particular had been a miracle team,” she said. “The mood has changed from total celebration, because of the fact that the team was in the finals, to total sadness here after hearing the news of the crash.”
The team, from the small city of Chapeco, joined Brazil’s first division in 2014 for the first time since the 1970s and made it to the Copa Sudamericana finals last week by defeating Argentina’s legendary San Lorenzo squad.
After news of the disaster broke, tributes poured in from the football community with teams and players from across the world offering condolences and tributes.
“Sad news to wake up to today,” Manchester United and England captain Wayne Rooney.