Plane crash in Colombia wipes out Brazilian football team

Plane crash in Colombia wipes out Brazilian football team

SBS World News Radio: A plane carrying a top Brazilian football team has crashed into a mountain on its approach to the city of Medellin in Colombia, killing 75 people. 

The crash of a charter plane carrying the Brazilian football team Chapecoense to its biggest game ever, killing 75 people, has been blamed on an electrical fault.

The plane circled for a few minutes before disappearing from radar after 10pm local time and was found in wooded highlands near the town of La Union, outside Medellin.

The pilot had reported an electrical fault and declared an emergency just minutes before losing contact.

Initially, emergency services struggled to reach the crash site due to stormy conditions.

When they arrived, they found only six survivors, two in a critical condition.

In Brazil, president Michel Temer says he is shocked.

"I want to express my sadness for the awful incident which has caused the death of a football team and many people who accompanied the team from Chapeco, which happened early this morning (and) is extremely sad."

The plane was found shattered against a mountainside, with the tail end virtually gone.

Flying from Brazil via a stopover in Bolivia, it was carrying Chapecoense to the first leg of its Copa Sudamericana final against Atletico Nacional of Medellin.

The Copa Sudamericana is South America's equivalent of the Europa League.

Chapecoense Football Club vice president Ivan Tozzo says the club is devastated.

"The news we received this morning is very sad. In truth, we never expected this. We are gathered here in the Chapecoense grounds receiving those involved in the club, who loved the club, who supported the club. There is nothing like this news. It is very difficult. It still doesn't seem real. Everybody has placed their confidence in God that things will go well for us. Our club will have to go on. It is difficult. It is so difficult to speak. I can't speak. I don't have any more opinions. I don't know what else to say."

The people who survived the crash included three players, as well as a journalist covering the team and two crew members.

Brazilian news organisations say 21 journalists were on board.

In Brazil, the public was left reeling from news of the crash.

Chapacoense fan Marcos Vinicius spoke to Al Jazeera.

"It is a small team, but they were really happy, with no rivalry with other teams. I have never heard anything controversial about them. It is a team that is really loved here in Brazil."

Chapecoense is a small club from the southern Brazilian town of Chapeco.

Another fan says the team played "for the love of the shirt and not for money," with a "commitment that only those who have lived here know."

It was the first time the soccer club had reached the final of a major South American club competition.

Matches have been cancelled around South America, and Brazil's top flight teams have offered to loan players to Chapecoense for next season.

The black box from the plane has been recovered, with investigators hoping it will provide further information on the cause of the crash.

Three days of mourning are underway across Brazil.

The crash has evoked memories of a series of soccer air disasters in the 20th century, including a Munich crash in 1958 that killed 23, including eight Manchester United players.



Stay up to date with SBS NEWS

  • App
  • Subscribe
  • Follow
  • Listen
  • Watch