76 killed in Colombia plane crash
A plane carrying 81 people, including football players from Brazil and journalists covering their match, has crashed in Colombia, with officials saying 76 people are confirmed dead.
The aircraft, carrying Brazil’s first division Chapecoense Real football team among 72 passengers and nine crew, crashed late Monday near the Colombian city of Medellin.
“It’s a tragedy of huge proportions,” Medellin’s Mayor Federico Gutierrez Gutierrez was quoted as saying on his way to the site in a mountainous area outside the city where aircraft crashed.
The civil aviation authority said five people have so far been rescued, including three Chapecoense players, but rescue operations were being complicated by heavy rains in the crash area.
The aircraft, a British Aerospace 146 short-haul plane operated by a Bolivian charter airline named Lamia, crashed in an area called Cerro Gordo about 50 km from Medellin, Colombia’s second largest city.
Local radio said the same aircraft transported Argentina’s national squad for a match earlier this month in Brazil.
Aviation authorities said the aircraft declared an emergency at 10 p.m. Monday (0300 GMT) due to an electrical failure. A Colombian mayor had earlier said the plane appeared to have run out of fuel.
The football team was due to play in a final for the South American Cup in Medellin on Wednesday.
A video on the team’s Facebook page showed the squad readying for the flight earlier Monday in Sao Paulo’s airport.
The team from the small city of Chapeco made it to the South American Cup finals last week by defeating Argentina’s legendary San Lorenzo squad.