Thousands gather to mourn vic­tims

Trau­ma­tized sur­vivors un­dergo treat­ment in Colom­bia as probe gets un­der­way

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD - By AGEN­CIES in Chapeco, Brazil and La Union, Colom­bia

Thousands squeezed into Chapeco’s cathe­dral and even more packed a sta­dium to mourn the death of 71 peo­ple in a plane crash, 19 of them mem­bers of the Chapecoense club who had been on the brink of soc­cer great­ness.

“To lose (al­most) all of them in such a tragic way, to­tally de­stroyed our city and each one of us,” Carla Vilem­brini said on Tues­day, stand­ing out­side Santo An­to­nio Cathe­dral. She was dressed like so many oth­ers in the club’s green and white jer­seys.

Chapecoense’s fan­tasy sea­son ended on a muddy Colom­bian moun­tain­side on Mon­day.

The club was hav­ing the best sea­son in its 43-year his­tory, head­ing to the first of two matches in the fi­nal of the Copa Su­damer­i­cana, the con­ti­nent’s No 2 club tour­na­ment.

Dis­traught res­i­dents of this south­ern Brazil­ian city of 200,000 peo­ple, an agribusi­ness cen­ter near Ar­gentina, wan­dered the streets around the sta­dium known as Arena Conda in stunned si­lence.

“The city is very quiet,” busi­ness­man Ce­cilio Hans said. “Peo­ple will only be­lieve once the bod­ies start to ar­rive.”

On so­cial me­dia, haunt­ing last pho­tos showed the smil­ing play­ers boarding the flight to Colom­bia for their match with Atletico Na­cional.

In one photo, the team cel­e­brated a last-minute save by goal­keeper Danilo only a week ago against the Ar­gen­tine club San Lorenzo. The save guar­an­teed Chapecoense a spot in the fi­nal and ul­ti­mately cost Danilo his life in the crash.

“I can’t still be­lieve it,” Alan Heinz said in­side the sta­dium.

“I was pre­par­ing for the best day of my life, and now I don’t know what my life will be af­ter this,” he said.

The soc­cer world mourned on Tues­day af­ter a plane car­ry­ing a Brazil­ian team crashed in the moun­tains in Colom­bia, killing 71 peo­ple but mirac­u­lously leav­ing six sur­vivors, of­fi­cials said.

Soc­cer leg­ends Pele and Maradona as well as cur­rent su­per­stars Lionel Messi and Cris­tiano Ron­aldo led trib­utes to the play­ers of Chapecoense Real, a hum­ble team whose march to glory was cut abruptly short.

Barcelona and Real Madrid held a minute of si­lence be­fore their prac­tice ses­sions dur­ing the day, and France’s top two leagues ob­served be a minute’s si­lence at Tues­day night’s games.

Medellin-based Atletico Na­cional said it was ask­ing the South Amer­i­can soc­cer con­fed­er­a­tion to give the Copa Su­damer­i­cana ti­tle to Chape as a trib­ute to the play­ers who died.

Some of Brazil’s top clubs said they wanted to lend play­ers to Chape for the 2017 sea­son. They also said the team should not be rel­e­gated to the sec­ond di­vi­sion as it re­cov­ers from the dis­as­ter.

“The dream is not over. We will fight back when it’s time,” said Chape’s act­ing club pres­i­dent, Gel­son Della Costa.

“Now it’s time to take care of the fam­i­lies,” he said.

Three days of mourn­ing

Doc­tors treated trau­ma­tized sur­vivors and an in­ves­ti­ga­tion was to get un­der­way on Wed­nes­day.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors from Brazil were fly­ing in to join Colom­bian coun­ter­parts check­ing two black boxes from the crash site on a muddy hill­side in wooded high­lands near La Union town.

Sol­diers guarded the wreck­age overnight af­ter res­cuers left, and in­ves­ti­ga­tors were to start work at first light.

Brazil­ian Pres­i­dent Michel Te­mer de­clared three days of of­fi­cial mourn­ing. Tragedy shocks soc­cer world Fi­nal voy­age across Cuba

Mourn­ers hold por­traits of Fidel Cas­tro dur­ing a rally hon­or­ing the late Cuban leader at the Rev­o­lu­tion Plaza in Ha­vana, Cuba, on Tues­day. The ashes of Cas­tro be­gan a four-day jour­ney across the coun­try on Wed­nes­day to his fi­nal rest­ing place in the eastern city of San­ti­ago de Cuba.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.