A plane carrying Brazilian side Chapecoense has crashed near Medellin in Colombia, killing 75 people with only six survivors.
The team were travelling to play in the Copa Sudamericana final against Medellin side Atletico Nacional before the chartered aircraft went down in the La Union municipality, roughly 22 miles from the city’s airport.
The first leg of the final was set for Wednesday, but has now been suspended by South American football’s governing body CONMEBOL, along with “all federation activities”. President of Brazil, Michel Temer, has announced three days of national mourning following the tragedy.
(AI) Presidente Michel Temer decreta luto oficial por três dias pela tragédia na Colômbia. #ForçaChape
— Michel Temer (@MichelTemer) November 29, 2016
The flight took off from Bolivia and was carrying nine crew members and 72 passengers, including the Verdão. The confirmed survivors are defenders Alan Tuschel and Neto, goalkeepers Danilo and Jackson Follman, team physiotherapist Rafael Gobbato and a Bolivian flight attendant.
Chapecoense, who play in Brazil’s Serie A, have issued a brief statement, saying: “May God be with our athletes, officials, journalists and other guests travelling with our delegation.”
The club’s vice-president, Ivan Tozzo, told cable channel SportTV: “There are a lot of people crying in our city, we could never imagine this. Chapecoense is the biggest reason for joy here.”
Medellin Mayor Federico Gutierrez described it as “a tragedy of huge proportions”.
Confirmado, la aeronave con matrícula CP2933 * transportaba al equipo @ChapecoenseReal. Al parecer hay sobrevivientes.
— José María Córdova (@AeropuertoMDE) November 29, 2016
The Jose Maria Cordova de Rionegro airport, which serves Medellin, said the plane’s pilot declared an emergency because of an electrical failure.
The airport also tweeted the rescue operation has been suspended due to heavy rain and the crash site only being accessible by land, as the plane went down in the mountainous Cerro Gordo area.
Tributes have poured in from football clubs and players around the world, including former Brazil international Dante and Colombian striker Radamel Falcao.
My pray and solidarity for survivors, family and friends of @ChapecoenseReal in this sad time.
— Radamel Falcao (@FALCAO) November 29, 2016
— Valencia CF English (@valenciacf_en) November 29, 2016
— Dante Bonfim Costa (@dante_bonfim) November 29, 2016
— Thibaut Courtois (@thibautcourtois) November 29, 2016
— Michael Ballack (@Ballack) November 29, 2016
Chapecoense had reached the Copa Sudamerica final for the first time in their history after beating San Lorenzo on Saturday. A video of the side celebrating has been doing the rounds on social media: