71 Killed After Plane Carrying Brazilian Soccer Team Crashes in Colombia
Brazil is in mourning Tuesday after a plane carrying a soccer team crashed in Colombia overnight, killing 71.
The chartered aircraft carrying the Chapecoense Real, a first division team, departed from Bolivia en route to a regional tournament when it went down in Cerro Gordo at about 10 p.m. Monday.
The plane was carrying 77 passengers and crewmembers. Six people survived, authorities said as they revised numbers on Tuesday afternoon.
The British Aerospace 146 short-haul plane reportedly declared an emergency and lost radar contact because of an electrical failure, aviation authorities said.
Dozens of rescuers worked through the night but their efforts were hampered by punishing rain and low visibility. The rescue mission has since become a search for bodies.
Local media broadcasts showed three passengers arriving to a hospital on stretchers. Among them was a Chapecoense defender named Alan Ruschel, who reportedly suffered spinal injuries.
Goalkeepers Marcos Danilo Padilha and Jackson Follmann survived as well, as did a Bolivian flight attendant and a member of the team's delegation. But Danilo Padilha later died during treatment.
As news of the unthinkable tragedy has spread, Brazilian fans and the larger soccer world have paused to grieve.
Fans of the southern Brazilian team came together outside their home stadium in the city of Chapecó to share in their sadness and honor the dead.
And teams as far away as the U.K. took to social media to send condolences to the small Brazilian city and their beloved home team.
"The thoughts of everyone at Manchester United are with @ChapecoenseReal & all those affected by the tragedy in Colombia," read a tweet from Manchester United.
Just two years ago, Chapecoense Real entered Brazil's first division for the first time since the 1970s and had been enjoying a banner season.
They were en route to a regional championship after defeating two top teams from Argentina and a club from Colombia when their dreams abruptly turned into a nation's nightmare.
South America's soccer federation extended its condolences to the Chapecoense community and announced in a statement that all soccer activities were suspended until further notice.
"Chapecoense was the biggest source of happiness in the town," the club’s vice-president, Ivan Tozzo, told Brazil’s SporTV. "Many in the town are crying."