A chartered plane carrying 81 people, including members of a Brazilian soccer club, crashed on the outskirts of Medellin, Colombia, on Monday night, killing almost everyone onboard.

Plane Carrying Brazilian Soccer Team Chapecoense Crashes In Colombia, Killing Scores

Colombia’s civil aviation authority confirmed early Tuesday that six people had survived the crash — three players, two crew members and a journalist who was accompanying the team.

The flight was operated by a small airline, LaMia, and was carrying members of Brazilian first division soccer club Chapecoense. The team was traveling from Bolivia to Medellin, and was scheduled to play the first of a two-game Copa Sudamericana final against Colombian club Atletico Nacional on Wednesday. Authorities stated the plane crashed around 10 p.m. on Monday.

The survivors are Chapecoense players Alan Ruschel, Jackson Ragnar Follmann and Helio Hermito Zampier, plus flight attendant Ximena Suarez, aircraft mechanic Erwin Tumiri, and journalist Rafael Valmorbida.


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The aircraft was carrying 72 passengers and nine crew members, according to a statement issued by the Medellin airport. Search and rescue efforts were delayed by low visibility and difficulty reaching the mountainous region.

The authorities stated the plane had reported electrical problems as it flew near the towns of La Ceja and La Union.

The fatal crash destroyed the hopes of one of Brazil’s top soccer clubs. In a national league plagued by corruption scandals, mismanagement, and lingering anger over the mess involving the national team’s embarrassing 7-1 loss to Germany in the Brazil 2014 World Cup semifinal, Chapecoense managed to achieve both success on the field and financial stability.

At least 21 journalists were reported to be onboard the plane, including reporters from Fox Latin America, the Globo television network and news organizations from southern Brazil.

Described by their coach as the “Brazilian Leicester City” Chapecoense had only been promoted to Brazil’s top-flight in 2014 for the first time since the 1970s (they were in the fourth-tier in 2009) and were in the midst of one of their best ever seasons.

In a televised address, President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia called the crash “a tragedy that has the whole region in mourning.” Santos also added that he had spoken with Brazilian President Michel Temer, offering any assistance needed.

Federico Gutiérrez, the mayor of Medellín, told Blu Radio that “emergency support, with firefighters, ambulances and the hospital network,” had been activated.

Conmebol, the governing body of South American soccer, issued a statement to say that all of the federation’s activities would be suspended until further notice. A number of teams in Brazil canceled events; Barcelona said it would hold a moment of silence before training on Tuesday; and clubs from across the world, including Manchester City and AC Milan, shared their condolences.

Romário de Souza Faria, a former striker for the Brazilian national team, expressed his “solidarity with the friends and families of the players, journalists, technical staff and flight crew” who died in the crash.

“God please help all those who were onboard the plane,” Alexandre Pato, who plays in Spain and has been a member of Brazil’s national team, wrote on Twitter.

 RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – NOVEMBER 16: Kempes (C) of Chapecoense celebrates a scored goal during the match between Botafogo and Chapecoense as part of Brasileirao Series A 2016 at Luso Brasileiro stadium on November 16, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Alexandre Loureiro/Getty Images)

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