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Brazil Chapecoense football team in Colombia plane crash

Posted on 29th November 2016 at 12:02pm

A plane carrying 81 people, including a top Brazilian football team, has crashed on its approach to the city of Medellin in Colombia. Police say five people survived the crash but the rest of those on board died.

The chartered aircraft, flying from Brazil via Bolivia, was carrying members of the Chapecoense team. The team was due to play in the final of the Copa Sudamericana, against Medellin team Atletico Nacional. The first leg of the final of the cup, South America's second most important club competition, was scheduled for Wednesday, but has now been suspended.

The match was seen as the biggest in the history of the relatively small club, which entered Brazil's top division for the first time in 2014. The South American Football Confederation (Conmebol) said it was suspending "all activities".

Chapecoense issued a brief statement saying: "May God be with our athletes, officials, journalists and other guests travelling with our delegation." It said it would refrain from any further statements until it had assessed the extent of the crash.

Later the team's vice-president, Ivan Tozzo, told cable channal SporTV: "There are a lot of people crying in our city. We could never imagine this. Chapecoense is the biggest reason for joy here."

One of the survivors was confirmed as Chapecoense defender Alan Ruschel. Reports suggest that at least two other footballers - goalkeepers Jackson Follman and Marcos Danilo - may have survived. Originally six survivors were reported, but police later said one of those rescued had died.

What we know about the crash so far

  • Plane operated by Bolivian charter airline Lamia
  • Carrying 72 passengers and nine crew, among them members of the Chapecoense football team
  • Flying from Brazil, bound for Medellin after a stopover in Santa Cruz, Bolivia
  • Plane crashed at 10:15 local time (03:15 GMT) after pilot reported an electrical fault
  • Five people survived the crash, including three footballers

The sports network Telemundo Deportes tweeted (in Spanish) that Ruschel was in shock but conscious and talking, and asked to keep his wedding ring and to see his family. His wife told Globo TV: "Thank God Alan is in the hospital. He's in a stable condition."

The team, from the southern city of Chapeco, was promoted to Brazil's first division in 2014 and reached the final last week after a victory against Argentina's San Lorenzo. Medellin's Mayor Federico Gutierrez described it as "a tragedy of huge proportions". Conmebol said in a statement that its president, Alejandro Dominguez, was on his way to Medellin. "The Conmebol family greatly regrets what happened. All activities of the confederation are suspended until further notice," it said.

Chapecoense football team

  • Founded in 1973.
  • Promoted to the Brazilian top division, Serie A, for the first time in the club's history in 2014. Currently ninth.
  • Were flying to play in the first leg of the final of the Copa Sudamericana - winner qualifies for Copa Libertadores, top continental competition in South America
  • Were underdogs - facing current Cope Libertadores holders Atletico Nacional
  • Based in the Brazilian city of Chapeco in the state of Santa Catarina
  • Brazil's 21st biggest club in terms of revenue at 46m reais ($13.5m/£10.9m)

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Reproduced under licence from BBC News © 2016 BBC

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