UPDATE: Colombian Police confirmed 76 dead and five survivors in the chartered plane crash in Colombia, which was carrying members of a Brazilian first league football team. The club’s defender Alan Ruschel was among those rescued.
A charter plane carrying more than 80 people including members of the Brazilian football team Chapecoense has crashed in Colombia.
There are reports of six survivors , including the Chapecoense midfielder Alan Rusche.
The first division Chapecoense football team was on its way to play in the Copa Sudamericana final against Atletico Nacional in Medellin. It started off from Sao Paulo.
The British Aerospace 146 charter short-haul plane, declared an emergency at 10 p.m. Monday (0300 GMT) due to 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 aircraft crashed.
“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.
Elkin Ospina, mayor of La Ceja, confirms at least 25 dead according to firefighters reports
— Martin Mazur (@martinmazur) November 29, 2016
There were 71 passengers and 9 crew members aboard the plane. Some reports said that 25 bodies had been recovered from the crash site.
Rescue operations were on but low visibility, the difficult mountainous terrain, and bad weather were hampering the efforts. Robert Urrea, a Colombian journalist from Radio Caracol, reporting from the crash site said, “The crash site is really complicated, only God arrives there.” He predicts “hours and hours” of rescue operations.
The team is from the city of Chapeco and was having a good season. It made it to the Copa Sudamericana finals — the equivalent of the UEFA Europa League tournament — for the first time after defeating Argentina’s San Lorenzo squad.
The team was scheduled to play Wednesday in the first of a two-game final against the Atletico Nacional of Medellin.
South America’s soccer federation extended its condolences to the entire Chapecoense community and said its president, Luis Dominguez, was on his way to Medellin.
The organization has suspended all activities for the time being, according to a statement.