Sports

Brazilian Football Team Chapecoense Involved in Deadly Plane Crash Outside Medellin

Chapecoense were travelling to Medellin for the final of the Copa Sudamericana, before their plane came down outside the Colombian city with up to 76 passengers killed.

by VICE Sports
Nov 29 2016, 1:50pm

Chapecoense players celebrate their Copa Sudamericana semi-final win against San Lorenzo // PA Images

This article originally appeared on VICE Sports UK.

A plane carrying dozens of passengers, including the players and staff of Brazilian football club Chapecoense, went down outside Medellin, Colombia, late last night. The area around Medellin is mountainous, and, although the plane reportedly went down close to a road, the rugged terrain has made the rescue operation difficult.

Details remain sketchy as of the time of writing, with different publications running with different information, but here's what we know so far:

The aircraft was carrying a total of 81 people, 74 of whom were passengers (including players, staff and journalists).

The Guardian, citing a local news source, says as many as 76 people might have died. The figure has not been officially confirmed.

The cause of the crash is not yet known, but the New York Times reports that the plane radioed in electrical problems.

Chapecoense were scheduled to take on Atletico Nacional, of Medellin, in the Copa Sudamericana on Thursday. The club have released a short statement saying: "May God be with our athletes, officials, journalists and other guests travelling with our delegation."

CONMEBOL, the South American continental federation, issued a statement lamenting the tragedy and suspending all competition. The president of the governing body, Alejandro Dominguez, is currently in Medellin, while CONMEBOL officials are in contact with local officials awaiting news on the ground.

Update: Midday GMT

Per a report from the Guardian, Colombia's civil aviation authority has given the names of six survivors. Two are crew members – flight attendant Ximena Suárez, and flight technician Erwin Tumiri – while one is journalist Rafael Hensel. The other three are players: Alan Luciano Ruschel, Jackson Ragnar Follmann, and Marcos Danilo Padilha.

The condition of the survivors, and the severity of any injuries, is currently unknown. The remaining 75 people on the flight are believed to have died in the crash.

Update: 14:00 GMT

A further update from the Guardian, again quoting Colombia's civil aviation authority, provides an amended report on the survivors of the crash. Marcos Danilo Padilha is no longer listed among them and is reported by the BBC to have died in hospital after being pulled from the wreckage. Another player, Helio Hermito Zampier, is now listed among the survivors; the other five are unchanged from the previous report, though Rafael Hensel's surname is now stated as Valmorbida.

Atletico Nacional – the side Chapecoense were travelling to Colombia to play – are believed to have asked to concede the Copa Sudamerica title to their rivals. The first leg would have been played in Medellin on Wednesday night, but the Telegraph reports that Nacional want Chapecoense to be declared champions.

At home, Brazilian President Michel Temer has declared three days of national mourning, while fans of the club are said to be gathering at Chapecoense's stadium wearing the team's colours.

This story is ongoing, with updates pending as the situation develops.