The plane carrying 81 passengers including Brazil’s first 22 football team has crashed in the foot hills of Medellin in Colombia, only seven people survived the accident.
The Chapecoense team was aboard the chartered Venezuelan Lamia plane heading for the Copa Sudamericana first leg final against Atletico Nacional on Wednesday December 8 in Medellin in Bolivia. It was one of the biggest much in the history of small clubs that had recently had the chance to play the Brazilian first division Serie A since 2014 and has now been postponed to another date that will be announced later.
Among the rescued from the plane wreckage was the team’s goalkeeper Marcos Padilha aka Danilo that died in hospital. Two of the rescued have since died including defender Alan Ruschel. Only five are left like defender, Heilio Neto and reserve goalkeeper Jackson Follman.
Alvadir Pelisser one of the founders of Chapecoence FC mourned the tragedy had put an “end to everyone’s dream”.
“We were a family,” he said.
Conmebol, the South American Football Confederation suspended “all activities” go arrange for the funerals of its players that succumbed to the plane crash.
“May God be with our athletes, officials, journalists and other guests travelling with our delegation,”Chapencoense had earlier said in a statement ahead of take off from Brazil.
Founded in 1974 and since 2014 playing in Brazil’s Serie A team became the first Brazilian team in three years to make it to the final of the Copa Sudamericana after beating Argentine side San Lorenzo was ninth ahead of famous match against Sao Paulo, Fluminense and Cruzeiro, some of the most established teams.
The Copa Sudamericana final was a highlight of a glorious season for Chapencoence from Chapeco in Santa Catarina a small city which has fewer than 200,000 inhabitants.
Chapecoense manager Cadu Gaucho, 36 year old, appeared on a facebook video saying in Portuguese that the trip was “the club’s most important to date” shortly before boarding in Sao Paulo.
Ivan Tozzo, the team’s vice-president, later on told cable channal SporTV, “There are a lot of people crying in our city. We could never imagine this. Chapecoense is the biggest reason for joy here.”
Brazilian President Michel Temer decreed three days of national mourning saying it is “a tragedy of huge proportions”.
Conmebol president, Alejandro Dominguez, lamented the incident saying “The Conmebol family greatly regrets what happened. All activities of the confederation are suspended until further notice,” and was on his way to Medellin.
Spanish clubs Real Madrid and Barcelona held a minute’s silence at the beginning of their practice sessions.
Rescuers are still working in the cold, hilly terrain with only hand torches for light to find the bodies of those killed in the plane crash.
The Brazilian soccer fate is rated to be second to that took the lives of the first Zambian football team in the mid 1990s leaving the country creeping for a chance to African and world championships.
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