Brazilian Soccer Team's Air Plane Crash,76 Dead, five Survive
A Chartered Airplane carrying a first-division Brazilian soccer team to a historic game slammed into a Colombian hillside night, killing 76 of the 81 people aboard, authorities said.
Initially Six people survived the Airplane crash, but one expired shortly due to injuries sustained, Colombia's civil aviation agency said.
The crash site is located in a hard-to-access area and rain has hampered rescue and recovery efforts.
"Dozens of rescuers working through the night were initially heartened after pulling three passengers alive from the wreckage," The Associated Press reports. "But as the hours passed, and heavy rainfall and low visibility grounded helicopters and complicated efforts to reach the crash site.
The 72 passengers included members of Chapecoense, a Brazilian Soccer team that was to Play in one of South America's most prestigious tournaments and was scheduled to Play in the Copa Sudamerica finals against Atletico Nacional in Medellin.
The team requested to be declared tournament champion as Juan Carlos de la Cuesta, president of Atletico Nacional, expressed solidarity.
Less than a decade ago Chapecoense was mired in the nation's "D" league, essentially low minor leagues.The climb to celebrity status was a fairytale that drew headlines across the nation.
In recent years it steadily rose through the ranks, reaching the top division of Brazilian Soccer in 2014. Authorities said more than 20 journalists joined the team on the flight in anticipation of game.
"The pain is terrible. Just as we had made it, I will not say to the top, but to have national prominence, a tragedy like this happens," club vice-president Ivan Tozzo told Globo SportTV. "It is very difficult, a very great tragedy."
A tragedy to lose 75 lives, it was not immediately clear what caused the short-haul, British Aerospace 146 to crash, but heavy rains and thunderstorms hit Colombia around the time of the tragedy.
The tragedy stunned the Soccer-mad nation of Brazil. President Michel Temer declared three days of national mourning and mobilized the foreign affairs and defense ministries to assist families of the victims. Brazil's embassy in Bogota was reaching out to families, and planes were made available to transport them to Colombia and to aid in the search and rescue effort.
Temer stated "The government will do everything possible to ease the pain of the family and friends of Sport and national journalism."
In the United States, Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, tweeted: #Chapecoense Cinderella dream ended tragically. Our prayers are with all those killed in heartbreaking plane crash & their loved ones."
Farheen Khursheed Khan [MBA]