Brazil­ian Foot­ballers In Flight Tragedy


Fiji Sun - - World News - Jy­otip@fi­

Aplane car­ry­ing 81 peo­ple, in­clud­ing a top Brazil­ian foot­ball team, has crashed on its ap­proach to the city of Medellin in Colom­bia.

Colom­bia’s civil avi­a­tion body says only six peo­ple sur­vived the crash, blamed on an elec­tri­cal fault.

The char­tered air­craft, fly­ing from Brazil via Bo­livia, was car­ry­ing mem­bers of the Chapecoense team. The team had been due to play in the fi­nal of the Copa Su­damer­i­cana, against Medellin team Atletico Na­cional. Or­gan­is­ers say Atletico Na­cional has asked for Chapecoense to be awarded the cup.

Brazil­ian clubs have of­fered to lend play­ers to them for free for the next year.

Colom­bian avi­a­tion of­fi­cials said there were 21 jour­nal­ists on board.

What hap­pened? The plane lost con­tact with ground con­trollers as it ap­proached Medellin at about 22:15 (03:45 GMT), af­ter the pi­lot re­ported an elec­tri­cal fault. It came down in a moun­tain­ous area.

At least two of the sur­vivors are foot­ballers. They were con­firmed to be de­fender Alan Ruschel and re­serve goal­keeper Jack­son Foll­man. Some re­ports sug­gest an­other de­fender, He­lio Neto, was also res­cued. Goal­keeper Mar­cos Padilha, also known as Danilo, was pulled alive from the wreck­age but a spokesman said he later died in hospi­tal. The sports net­work Tele­mu­ndo

De­portes tweeted (in Span­ish) that Ruschel was in shock but con­scious and talk­ing, and had asked to keep his wed­ding ring and to see his fam­ily.

Most im­por­tant game Shortly be­fore board­ing in Sao Paulo, Chapecoense man­ager Cadu Gau­cho, 36, ap­peared in a video posted on the team’s Face­book site [in Por­tuguese] de­scrib­ing the trip to Medellin as “the club’s most im­por­tant to date”.

Play­ing in the fi­nal of the Copa Su­damer­i­cana was to be the high­light of a glo­ri­ous sea­son for the team from a small city of less than 200,000 in­hab­i­tants in the state of Santa Cata­rina. Founded in 1973, the team has been play­ing in Brazil’s Serie A since only 2014 but is cur­rently ninth ahead of much more fa­mous and es­tab­lished teams such as Sao Paulo, Flu­mi­nense and Cruzeiro.

Last week, it be­came the first Brazil­ian team in three years to make it to the fi­nal of the Copa Su­damer­i­cana, South Amer­ica’s sec­ond most im­por­tant club com­pe­ti­tion, af­ter beat­ing Ar­gen­tine side San Lorenzo.

One of the founders of the club, Al­vadir Pelisser, told Brasil the tragedy had put an “end to ev­ery­one’s dream”. “We were a fam­ily, I’m shocked,” he added.

What is the re­ac­tion? Brazil­ian Pres­i­dent Michel Te­mer an­nounced three days of na­tional mourn­ing, and top Span­ish clubs Real Madrid and Barcelona held a minute’s si­lence at the be­gin­ning of their prac­tice ses­sions.

Chapecoense’s Vice-Pres­i­dent, Ivan Tozzo, told ca­ble chan­nel

“There are a lot of peo­ple cry­ing in our city. We could never imag­ine this. Chapecoense is the big­gest rea­son for joy here.” Goal­keep­ing coach, Marcelo De Quadros Kunst stayed in Brazil with play­ers who did not travel to Colom­bia. He told the “We see wives faint­ing, am­bu­lances tak­ing them to the hospi­tal, fam­ily mem­bers hold­ing on to foot­ball boots left be­hind.” Ar­gen­tine for­ward Ale­jan­dro Mart­in­uc­cio was one of those who had to stay be­hind. “I was saved be­cause I got in­jured,” he told Ar­gentina’s La Red ra­dio.

“I feel pro­found sad­ness. The only thing I can ask is prayers for the com­pan­ions who were on the flight.” BBC

The team were due to play in the first leg of the fi­nal of the Copa Su­damer­i­cana.

Res­cue and foren­sic teams re­cover the bod­ies of vic­tims of the LAMIA air­lines char­ter that crashed.

Flight CP2933 crash lo­ca­tion.

The last pic­ture of Brazil’s Chapecoense Real foot­ball team be­fore the doomed flight took off.

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