Brazilian Soccer Player Credits Seat Change for His Survival in Crash that Killed 71 Others

He said he changed seats at the last minute.

A Chapecoense soccer player who survived the Colombian plane crash that killed more than 70 people last month says his life was spared due to a seat change.

Defender Alan Ruschel, 27, told reporters on Saturday that the club’s director, Cadu Gaucho, asked him to sit further forward so that journalists on the flight could sit together and that it was that request that saved him. 

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“I didn’t want to but then I saw [Jakson] Follman and he insisted I sit beside him. Only God can explain why I survived the accident. He grabbed me and gave me a second chance,” Ruschel said.

The plane went down in the early hours of November 29, killing 71 of the 77 people onboard.

Follman, a goalie on the team, also survived the crash but had part of his leg amputated. Defender Helio Neto, a team staff member, a journalist, and a flight attendant survived as well.

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Last week, Neto woke up from a drug-induced coma after the crash and medical staff decided not to inform him of the fate of his teammates.

Initial reports of the crash investigation have suggested the aircraft was low on fuel, according to authorities.

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