On Saturday Brazil prepared to bury the dead from a plane crash that virtually wiped out most of the Chapecoense football team’s players and staff.
The plane crashed into a muddy mountainside outside of Medillin, Colombia, on Monday as the club headed to the two-game final of one of Latin America’s top club tournaments. Seventy-one of the 77 people on board died, including 19 players on the team.
Saturday’s memorial service for the Chapecoense football club was expected to attract 100,000 people – half the population of the city of Chapeco – to the area around the small, 20,000-capacity stadium.
Ahead of the memorial, the bodies of many of the dead, all in caskets, arrived on Saturday morning in Chapeco. Several cargo planes flew overnight from Colombia.
Brazil’s president Michel Temer met the coffins at the Chapeco airport. He was not expected to attend the memorial. Temer, who took power earlier this year after President Dilma Rousseff was impeached and removed, is deeply unpopular. He was jeered at the recent Olympics.
However, after being criticised on social media and even the father of one of the killed players, Temer’s aides said he would attend the memorial.
“He should come to the stadium. No one would boo,” said Osmar Machado, father of dead defender, Felipe.