Brazilian team Chapecoense among those on board crashed plane

Authorities name survivors after plane with more than 80 people on board went down during flight from Bolivia to Medellin

Police in Colombia have said 76 people were killed when a plane carrying members of the Brazilian football team Chapecoense crashed in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Initial reports said there were six survivors, including players and a travelling journalist, but police said one person had died in hospital. The plane was carrying 72 passengers and nine crew members.

Chapecoense were flying to play a Copa Sudamerica finals match against Atlético Nacional on Wednesday in Medellin.

The Brazilian president, Michel Temer, declared three days of national mourning and offered his condolences to the friends and families of those on the plane in a series of tweets.

Nesta hora triste que a tragédia se abate sobre dezenas de famílias brasileiras, expresso minha solidariedade.

— Michel Temer (@MichelTemer) November 29, 2016

“I express my solidarity at this sad time when dozens of Brazilian families have been affected by tragedy,” he wrote.

“We are offering every form of help and assistance that we can to the families. The air force and foreign ministry have been put to work. The government will do everything possible to relieve the pain of these friends and families of Brazilian sport and journalism.”

Medellin’s mayor, Federico Gutierrez, described the crash, close to the town of Cerro Gordo, as a “tragedy of huge proportions”.

Site of plane crash in Colombia

Bad weather was reported over the crash site and the search was later called off as heavy fog prevented rescue helicopters from landing.

The plane – a British Aerospace 146 short-haul aircraft – is believed to have started its journey in Sao Paulo, Brazil, at 3.35pm local time. It made a stop in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, a bustling economic hub in eastern Bolivia, later that day before setting off for Colombia.

This was the plane that crashed in Colombia, used to transport Argentina national team earlier this month (photo: @BriEmmanuel_U ) pic.twitter.com/h5LZnZI9fS

— Martin Mazur (@martinmazur) November 29, 2016

A statement from José Maria Córdova airport in Medellin said that at 10pm a plane travelling from Santa Cruz had declared an emergency because of electrical failures between the municipalities of La Ceja and La Unión in Colombia.

“At the moment we know that the disaster happened in Cerro Gordo in the municipality of La Unión and that there were 72 passengers and nine crew aboard, including the football team Chapocoense Real. There are reported to be six survivors,” the statement read.

Colombia’s El Tiempo newspaper said there were at least 22 players from the squad on board. It reported that a 23rd player, whom the newspaper did not name, had been supposed to travel but did not. There were also 22 football journalists from Brazil on the flight.

The survivors were named by the Colombian disaster management agency as Alan Luciano Ruschel, Marcos Danilo Padilha and Jacson Ragnar Follmann. Passengers Rafael Correa Gobbato and Ximena Suarez also survived.

Amanda Ruschel, who is married to Alan Ruschel, the first player to be taken to hospital, said in an Instagram post that her husband was in a stable condition. “Thank God Alan is in the hospital, stable. We are praying for all of those who were not yet rescued and offer our support to all their relatives,” she wrote.

As news of the crash circulated across South America, football fans and clubs paid tribute on Twitter and Facebook.

Força, @ChapecoenseReal! Unidos em um só coração! O Flamengo e sua Nação estão juntos contigo! #ForçaChape

— Flamengo (@Flamengo) November 29, 2016

Some fans posted messages under what appears to be the last video of Chapecoense’s players before the accident on the club’s Facebook page. “I am from Rio de Janeiro and I am praying for you. May God and Our Lady send their angels to take care of you all,” wrote one.

Chapecoense, based in the city of Chapecó in the state of Santa Catarina, play in Brazil’s premier division, Série A. The club was founded in 1973 and first won promotion to the top flight in 2014.

The Diário Catarinense newspaper, which covers Santa Catarina, said there was confusion and anguish among those linked to the club in Chapecó, a small city of about 200,000 residents.

Cissa Soletti, who works for Chapecoense’s marketing department, told the newspaper it was telling staff to gather at the club’s HQ. The mayor of Chapecó, Luciano Buligon, who was due to fly to Colombia for the match, said he knew nothing beyond the fact there were some survivors.

Who are Chapecoense, the football team involved in the Colombia plane crash?

Nivaldo, a goalkeeper who has been at the club since 2006 but did not travel to Colombia, told the UOL Esporte website that he was woken at 5am on Tuesday morning by a phone call from a worried friend who wanted to know if he was on the flight.

“Everybody is praying that the worst hasn’t happened. I’m bracing for the worst. I don’t want to, I can’t believe it, but you have to be strong.”

Raimundo Colombo, the Santa Catarina governor, issued a statement about the disaster expressing his profound regret. He said Chapecoense had not only been representing Chapecó and the state of Santa Catarina to the rest of Brazil and Latin America, but were also making history as the first Santa Catarina club to contest the final of an international competition.

He said he was in “state of shock” and expressed his solidarity with the families of the players, club officials and journalists who formed the delegation “at what is a time of great pain for the sporting community in Santa Catarina and in Brazil.”

As of last weekend, Chapecoense were ninth in the Brazilian table after 37 games played. They were scheduled to conclude the domestic season against Atlético Mineiro on Sunday.

The Copa Sudamericana is South America’s second-tier club competition, one rung below the Copa Libertadores, the centrepiece of the continent’s football calendar. The winner of the Copa Sudamericana gains automatic entry into next season’s Copa Libertadores.

The final, like each round of the tournament, is a two-legged tie, consisting of a home and an away fixture. Colombia’s Atlético Nacional were due to visit Brazil for the return leg on 7 December.

Chapecoense had already travelled twice to Argentina, beating Independiente and San Lorenzo, and Colombia once, where they lost to Junior 1-0 but progressed on aggregate in the quarter-finals.

Contributors

Tom Phillips, Bonnie Malkin and Mike Hytner

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Chapecoense plane crash: victims to be honoured with mass wake at stadium
South America mourns after nearly all of Brazilian club’s players, management team and media contingent died when plane went down in Colombia

Tom Phillips

30, Nov, 2016 @4:31 AM

Article image
Colombia plane crash: Brazil mourns victims from Chapecoense team flight
Brazilian president announces three days of national mourning after plane carrying Chapecoense football team crashes killing 71 people

Sam Jones, Tom Phillips and Jack Lang

29, Nov, 2016 @10:49 PM

Article image
Colombia plane crash: Fans gather to mourn Chapecoense footballers among 75 killed – as it happened
A charter aircraft carrying 81 people including members of Brazil’s Chapecoense football team has crashed en route to Medellin airport

Matthew Weaver and Bonnie Malkin

29, Nov, 2016 @8:43 PM

Article image
Chapecoense plane crash: fans' anger after confirmation plane ran out of fuel
Colombian media release audio of pilot telling air traffic controllers plane – which crashed killing 71 players, crew and journalists – was ‘without fuel’

Dom Phillips in Chapecó

01, Dec, 2016 @7:18 AM

Article image
Chapecoense fans gather in grief at football club's stadium in Brazil
Mourners wear football team’s colours and place tributes outside club’s arena in Chapecó after plane crash in Colombia

Jack Lang

29, Nov, 2016 @3:52 PM

Article image
Bodies of Chapecoense players killed in plane crash returned to Brazil
Coffins of football team, supporters and journalists who lost lives met by Brazilian president Michel Temer at Chapeco airport

Chris Johnston and agencies

03, Dec, 2016 @4:23 PM

Article image
Chapecoense plane crash: what we know so far about the flight
Why did the plane carrying the Brazilian football team crash into a mountainside killing all but six of the 77 people on board?

Matthew Weaver

01, Dec, 2016 @1:29 PM

Article image
'What he did was mass murder': little sympathy for Colombia plane crash pilot
Miguel Quiroga’s father-in-law asked for forgiveness, as flight plan revealed inadequate fuel reserve for journey that killed most of a Brazilian football team

Dom Phillips in Rio de Janeiro

03, Dec, 2016 @10:56 AM

Article image
Tragedy strikes Chapecoense, serial overachievers dubbed a ‘Brazilian Leicester’
Chapecoense, the Brazilian team on board the plane that has crashed in Colombia, were in the middle of a fairytale season when the tragedy struck

Jack Lang

29, Nov, 2016 @8:46 AM

Article image
British investigators fly to Colombia to help examine plane crash
Team from Air Accident Investigation Bureau will help Colombian officials as crashed plane was built in UK

Gwyn Topham Transport correspondent

29, Nov, 2016 @6:02 PM