76 dead after plane carrying Brazilian football team crashes in Colombia; 5 survivors

76 dead after plane carrying Brazilian football team crashes in Colombia; 5 survivors

Update 10.10am: A chartered plane with a Brazilian first division football team has crashed in Colombia while on its way to the finals of a regional tournament, killing 76 people.

Officials said that five people survived the crash near Medellin.

The British Aerospace 146 short-haul plane, operated by a charter airline named LaMia, declared an emergency at 10pm local time on Monday because of an electrical failure, aviation authorities said.

The aircraft, which had departed from Santa Cruz, Bolivia, was transporting the Chapecoense team to Medellin's Jose Maria Cordova airport.

The team, from southern Brazil and which had started its journey in Sao Paulo, was scheduled to play on Wednesday in the first of a two-game Copa Sudamericana final against Atletico Nacional of Medellin.

It was not immediately clear if the team switched planes in Bolivia or just made a stopover with the same plane.

"What was supposed to be a celebration has turned into a tragedy," Medellin Mayor Federico Gutierrez said from the search and rescue command centre.

Earlier:

A chartered aircraft with 81 people on board, including a Brazilian first division soccer team heading to Colombia for a regional tournament final, has crashed on its way to Medellin's international airport.

Aviation authorities said there are reports of at least six survivors, with a local mayor confirming that at least three passengers were found alive.

Eighty-one people (72 passengers and nine crew) were on board when the charter flight came down in a mountainous area near the city of Medellin.

AO VIVO – Associação Chapecoense de Futebol | Facebook

A video published on the team’s Facebook page showed players readying for the flight earlier on Monday in Sao Paulo’s Guarulhos international airport.

The club - Chapocoense has put out a statement saying: "May God accompany our athletes, officials, journalists and other guests traveling with our delegation."

The British Aerospace 146 short-haul plane, operated by charter airline LaMia, declared an emergency at 10pm local time on Monday (3am irish time) because of an electrical failure.

"It's a tragedy of huge proportions," Medellin Mayor Federico Gutierrez told Blu Radio on his way to the site in a mountainous area outside the city where the aircraft crashed.

The plane, which made a stop in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, was transporting the first division Chapecoense soccer team from southern Brazil. They were scheduled to play in the first of a two-game Copa Sudamericana final against Atletico Nacional of Medellin on Wednesday.

"May God accompany our athletes, officials, journalists and other guests traveling with our delegation," the club said in a brief statement on its Facebook page.

Earlier:

A plane carrying members of a top-flight Brazilian football team has crashed in Colombia.

Players from Chapecoense are among 72 on board the charter flight. The team, based in the city of Chapecó in the state of Santa Catarina, play in Brazil’s top division, Serie A.

It was heading to the international airport in Colombia's second city of Medellin.

The Jose Maria Cordova de Rionegro airport, which serves Medellin, posted on its Twitter account: "Confirmed, the aircraft licence number CP2933 was carrying the team @ChapecoenseReal. Apparently there are survivors."

Officials from the airport reported only six survivors in a statement.

The plane had declared an emergency due to power failure before losing contact with the control tower.

Colombia has been hit by heavy storms which are hampering rescue efforts.

"The site of the accident is only accessible by land due to climatic conditions and low visibility," a statement from the airport said. "The Colombian Air Force deployed a search and rescue helicopter which had to cancel the mission due to the adverse conditions.

"According to the authorities the police are mobilising all possible help since they are reporting six survivors."

Officials said the plane was carrying 72 passengers and nine crew members.

Chapecoense had reached the finals of the Copa Sudamericana by beating Argentina's San Lorenzo over two legs in the semi-finals, which concluded last week.


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