Plane carrying Brazilian football team crashes in Colombia, killing 76

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A chartered plane carrying Brazilian football team Chapecoense has crashed in northwest Colombia, killing at least 76 people, local officials say. Only five people, including three football players, are believed to have survived.

The accident happened on late Monday when LAMIA Bolivia Flight LMI2933, a British Aerospace 146 aircraft, was flying from Viru Viru International Airport in Bolivia to Medellín in Colombia. A total of 81 people were on board, including 72 passengers and 9 crew members.

The airliner disappeared from radar at about 10 p.m. local time on Monday after it declared an emergency due to some sort of electrical fault. The wreckage was later found on a hill in the municipality of La Union in Valle del Cauca province, located southeast of the city of Medellín or northeast of Manizales.

Police chief José Acevedo confirmed that 6 people were found alive at the scene, but one of them succumbed to his or her injuries while being taken to an area hospital. Rescue workers do not expect to find any other survivors, meaning that 76 people are presumed to have been killed, Acevedo said.

The unified command at José María Córdova International Airport identified 3 of the survivors as Chapecoense player Alan Ruschel, Chapecoense player Jakson Follmann, and flight attendant Ximena Suárez. Bluradio identified the other two as Chapecoense player Marcos Danilo and Brazilian journalist Rafael Henzel.

Their conditions were not immediately known.

Brazilian football team Chapecoense was traveling to Medellín for Wednesday’s Copa Sudamericana final against Colombian football team Atlético Nacional. In addition to 22 members of the team, the aircraft was also carrying 28 companions and support staff, 22 journalists and 9 crew members.

As a result of Monday’s accident, the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) announced in a brief statement that all of its activities – and thus those of Copa Sudamericana – have been “suspended until further notice.” It said CONMEBOL President Alejandro Dominguez is heading to Medellín.

“The CONMEBOL family enormously regrets what has happened,” it added.

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