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December 11, 2017
Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Plane taking Brazilian soccer team crashes in Colombia, 75 dead

Wreckage from a plane that crashed into Colombian jungle with Brazilian soccer team Chapecoense, is seen near Medellin, Colombia.

A charter plane carrying Brazilian soccer team Chapecoense to the biggest game in its history crashed in the Colombian mountains after an electrical fault, killing 75 people on board, authorities said on Tuesday.

Colombia's worst air disaster in two decades killed all but three of players on the team from Brazil's top soccer league as it flew to face Atletico Nacional of Medellin in the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana final, South America's equivalent of the Europa League.

Global soccer was stunned with tributes pouring in from major figures including Pele, Lionel Messi and Wayne Rooney.

The BAe 146 plane, en route from Bolivia where the team had a stopover, went down about 10:15 p.m. on Monday night with 72 passengers and a crew of nine on board.

The aircraft had reported electrical problems and declared an emergency minutes earlier as it neared its destination, Medellin airport officials said.

Flight tracking service Flightradar24 said on Twitter the last signal from flight 2933 came when it about 30 kilometers (19 miles) from its destination at an altitude of 15,500 feet (4,724 m).

At the crash scene near the town of La Union in wooded highlands outside Medellin, dozens of bodies were laid out and covered with sheets around the wreckage.

The plane was shattered against a mountainside with the tail end virtually disintegrated. Rain hampered dozens of rescuers as they combed the muddy and forested area.

Colombia's civil aviation head, Alfredo Bocanegra, said there were 75 confirmed fatalities. The aviation authority identified the six survivors as players Alan Ruschel, Jackson Follmann and Hélio Neto; journalist Rafael Valmorbida; Bolivian flight attendant Ximena Suarez; and Bolivian flight technician Erwin Tumiri.

Two of the survivors were in grave condition.

In addition to players, coaches and staff, 21 journalists had been on board the plane to cover the match, Brazilian news organizations said.

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