Nov 29, 2016, 09.25 PM | Source: PTI
A plane carrying a Brazilian football team crashed in the mountains in Colombia, killing an estimated 75 people while six survived, including several players, officials said today.
The LAMIA airlines charter declared an emergency at around 10:00 pm (local time), reporting it had suffered "electrical failures," and crashed a short time later near the city of Medellin, officials said.
The plane was carrying members of Chapecoense Real, a Brazilian football club that had risen from obscurity to reach the Copa Sudamericana finals, which were set for tomorrow against Atletico Nacional of Colombia.
"The pain is terrible. Just as we had made it, I will not say to the top, but to have national prominence, a tragedy like this happens. It is very difficult, a very great tragedy," club vice-president Ivan Tozzo told Globo SportTV.
In all, there were 72 passengers and nine crew on board the British Aerospace 146.
Brazil's President Michel Temer declared three days of mourning for the victims.
Football stars including Argentina's Lionel Messi and retired legend Diego Maradona led tributes to the players and messages of mourning.
The civil aviation authority said six of the 81 people on board were known to have survived the crash, which left the plane's wrecked white shell plastered over a hillside.
A spokesperson for the authority told AFP that goalkeeper Marcos Danilo Padilha, 31, died after being transferred to hospital from the remote site of the crash.
Danilo's last-minute save in the semi-final had ensured the team made it through to the Copa Sudamericana final.
Another player, Helio Hermito Zampier Neto, survived, Colombia's disaster risk management agency said, adding, "The possibility that other people will be found alive has not been ruled out." Another of the survivors was Alan Ruschel, a 27-year-old defender for the Brazilian team, the head of Colombia's civil aeronautics agency, Alfredo Bocanegra, told reporters.
Radio Caracol said player Jakson Follmann also survived and was taken to hospitals, along with a flight attendant and a journalist. The sixth known survivor was a member of the flight crew.
Brazil's National Civil Aviation Authority said the team flew to on a commercial flight to Santa Cruz in Bolivia, where they switched to a Lamia charter flight bound for Colombia.
The airport statement said the plane's crew "declared it had electrical failures.