A plane carrying 81 people, including a first division soccer team from Brazil, crashed Monday night in Colombia. Nearly all aboard were killed, but five people survived, Brazilian newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo reported, citing Colombian radio.
The chartered plane was on its way to the Medellin airport and was carrying players and coaches from the Chapecoense soccer team, officials said.
The team, from the small town of Chapeco in Brazil, was scheduled to play a game Wednesday night in the Copa Sudamericana. Three team members survived the accident, including Alan Ruschel, who was conscious but in shock when he was rescued, the Brazilian newspaper O Globo reported.
Several journalists were also on the plane. O Globo said that one of the journalists was among the survivors, but that Fox Sports commentator and former soccer player Mario Sergio died.
The Chapeco Soccer Assn. said it would reserve comment until after the situation became clearer. “May God be with our athletes, leaders, journalists and other invitees who are in the delegation,” the association said in a statement.
The crash occurred in a mountainous area near Medellin, about 15 miles from the city’s airport, Brazilian media reported. No official statement regarding the status of the passengers and crew has been made released.
The plane was carrying 72 passengers and nine crew members, aviation authorities said in a statement. It was chartered by the Bolivian airline Lamia.
Medellin’s Mayor Federico Gutierrez called the crash “a tragedy of huge proportions.”
The Associated Press reported that the plane, flying from Bolivia, declared an emergency late Monday night due to an electrical failure.