Members of leading soccer team killed in plane crash in Colombia
Tragedy struck Brazilian soccer in a profound way when a chartered plane transporting a Brazilian first division soccer team crashed in Medellin, Colombia killing 75 passengers, most of whom were members of the team. Only six passengers survived.
The promising Chapecoense soccer team from southern Brazil was on its way from Santa Cruz, Bolivia to Medellin to play in the first leg of a two-game Copa South America final against Atletico Nacional of Medellin.
The team, coaches, officials, and journalists were among 72 passengers and nine crew-members traveling on a British Aerospace 146 aircraft operated by a charter airline named LaMia. The pilots declared an emergency and lost radar contact just before 10 p.m. Monday because of an electrical failure, aviation authorities said. The plane crashed during heavy rainfall and foggy conditions in mountainous terrain, which made rescue and recovery efforts difficult.
The survivors included a defender and two goalkeepers of the soccer team, but reports indicated they each had serious injuries.
The team originated from the small Brazilian city of Chapeco, but was little known nationally until 2014 when it made it to the first division of Brazil’s national soccer tournament. The team enjoyed a very successful season., and last week advanced to the 2016 Copa South America finals, after defeating two of Argentina’s top teams, San Lorenzo and Independiente, and also the Colombian team Junior.