76 People Dead After Brazilian Soccer Team's Fatal Plane Crash
A charter plane transporting the Brazilian Chapecoense soccer team to a final match crashed in Colombia on Monday night (Nov. 28). The fatal crash killed 76 out of the 81 passengers on board, according to authorities.
The first division team, along with member of its press and crew, departed from their layover in Bolivia, bound for the international airport in Rionegro, Colombia. The pilot reportedly declared an emergency due to an electrical failure, the NY Daily News reports. Only moments before the crash, a flight map showed the plane circling the Rionegro airport before it lost contact with the tower dispatchers.
Rescue teams initially found six survivors caught in the wreck. Emergency responders later confirmed goalkeeper Danilo Padilha died at the hospital. The remaining survivors were identified as: goalkeeper Jackson Ragnar Follmann, defender Alan Luciano Ruschel, central defender Helio Hermito Zampier, along with two members of the flight crew, and a journalist traveling with the team. The last moments before the plane went down were captured by survivor Alan Ruschel on Snapchat. A series of short videos showed him and Padihla laughing and joking around before the plane took off.
The Chapecoense Soccer Association issued a statement on its Facebook page, offering condolences to the athletes and their families. "May God be with our athletes, leaders, journalists and other guests who were along with the delegation," the statement read. Players and other members of the team who had stayed behind in Brazil, reportedly gathered in their home locker room, wrapped in the team's green and white flag in mourning of their deceased teammates and friends. "I feel profound sadness," midfielder Alejandro Martinuccio said of the crash, according to the NY Daily News. Martinuccio was supposed to join his teammates on the plane, but missed his flight due to a knee injury. "The only thing I can ask is prayers for the companions who were on the flight," he adds.
The two-time state champions were scheduled to play in the finals of the Copa Sudamericana against Atletico Nacional on Nov. 30, in Medellin, Colombia. In light of the recent tragedy, the South American Football Confederation has reportedly suspended all matches until further notice.