Chapecoense plane crash claims 71 lives

Seven rescued from wreckage of plane carrying Brazilian soccer team, but one later died in hospital

The Colombian authorities say 71 of the 77 passengers aboard the aircraft that crashed on Monday night in Colombia died. Among them were members of Brazilian first division soccer team Chapecoense, headed to Colombia for a regional tournament final.

Chapecoense player Alan Ruschel arrives at a hospital in La Ceja, Colombia
Chapecoense player Alan Ruschel arrives at a hospital in La Ceja, ColombiaEFE
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El equipo de fútbol brasileño Chapecoense sufre un accidente de avión en Colombia

The plane with the call sign CP2933 was carrying soccer players, assistants and managers, as well as journalists and nine crew members.

Local radio said the same aircraft transported Argentina’s national squad for a match earlier this month in Brazil.

Seven people were brought out of the plane's wreckage alive – although one person later died.

The survivors include soccer players Alan Ruschel, Jackson Ragnar Follman and Helio Hermito Zampier, who was found under the wreckage a full five hours after the crash, as well as crew members Ximena Suárez and Erwin Tumiri and journalist Rafael Malmorbida, originally identified as Rafael Henzel. Two of these people are said to be in a serious condition.

Confirmed, aircraft with the call sign CP2933 was transporting the team @ChapecoenseReal. It seems there are survivors.

Chapecoense goalkeeper Danilo Padilha was also rescued at the site of the crash but later died in hospital.

Originally 81 people were thought to have to have been on board the flight but examination of passenger records showed four passengers had failed to board the plane. 

Of the total of 77 people who did embark, there were 68 Brazilians and the nine Bolivian members of the flight crew.

“It’s a tragedy of huge proportions,” Medellín’s Mayor Federico Gutiérrez told Blu Radio on his way to the crash site, in a mountainous area outside the city. He advised the public to stay away and said that a national emergency plan was being put into place.

It’s a tragedy of huge proportions Federico Gutiérrez, Medellin Mayor 

Aviation authorities said the aircraft was a short-haul plane operated by a Bolivian charter airline named LAMIA. The plane which had previoiusly made a stopover in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, was scheduled to land at 9.33pm, but declared an emergency at 10pm on Monday due to an electrical failure, said the first statement issued by Medellín airport.

However, authorities have yet to confirm the cause of the accident with electrical faults and a lack of fuel among the possibilities being reported.

Authorities and rescuers were immediately activated but an Air Force helicopter had to turn back due to low visibility.

The aircraft was carrying the first-division Chapecoense soccer team from southern Brazil. The team was scheduled to play on Wednesday in the first of a two-game Copa Sudamericana final against Atlético Nacional of Medellín.

Chapecoense AF had previously posted video footage of players boarding the plane on Facebook.

The team, from the small city of Chapecó in the southern state of Santa Catarina, 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.

Conmebol, the South American Football Confederation, issued a statement saying it “greatly regrets what happened” and that “all activities of the Confederation are suspended until further notice.” The confederation’s president, Alejandro Domínguez, is en route to Medellín.

English version by Nick Lyne.

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