Plane Carrying Brazilian Soccer Team Chapecoenese Crashes; 76 People Killed

(AP Photo/Gustavo Garello)

A plane crash in Colombia has killed 76 out of 81 passengers, including most (if not all) of Brazilian club team Chapecoense, who played in the Campeonato Brasileirothe country’s highest soccer division.

Chapecoense were on their way to play Atlético Nacional in Medellin, Colombia, in the first match of their two-leg Copa Sudamericana final (which is a tournament similar to the Europa League, but for South American teams). The plane reportedly crashed just minutes before it was scheduled to land, with early investigations pointing to some sort of electrical failure as the cause.

Along with the entire Chapecoense team, the plane was also carrying roughly 15 journalists who were coming to cover the championship final.

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Colombian newspaper El Tiempo reports that 22 members of Chapecoense were on board, with three of the five survivors confirmed as players from the Brazilian Serie A side.

The Colombian disaster management agency said Alan Luciano Ruschel, Marcos Danilo Padilha, and Jackson Ragnar Follmann were the only members of the football club to survive the tragedy. Rafael Correa Gobbato and Ximena Suarez were named as the other two passengers who survived.

Michel Temer, the president of Brazil, came the following statement regarding the tragic incident:

“I express my solidarity at this sad time when dozens of Brazilian families have been affected by tragedy.

“We are offering every form of help and assistance that we can to the families. The air force and foreign ministry have been put to work. The government will do everything possible to relieve the pain of these friends and families of Brazilian sport and journalism.”

Chapecoense have been a tremendous underdog story in Brazil over the past few years. Traditionally a smaller team in the country, they earned promotion into the Campeonato Brasileiro in 2014 after a 35 year absence from the top flight. They finished high enough in the 2015 standings to qualify for the tournament in which they were flying to compete in the final of, a pair of matches that would have easily been the biggest in the history of the club.

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