A plane carrying 81 people, including a top Brazilian football team, has crashed on its approach to the city of Medellin in Colombia, officials say. Reports say there are six survivors. The plane reported electrical problems.
The chartered aircraft, flying from Bolivia, was carrying members of the Chapecoense football team, airport officials said. The team was due to play in the final of the Copa Sudamericana, against Medellin team Atletico Nacional.
The first leg of the final of the cup, South America’s second most important club competition, was scheduled for Wednesday, but has now been suspended. The team, from the southern city of Chapeco, was promoted to Brazil’s first division in 2014 and reached the final last week after a victory against Argentina’s San Lorenzo.
Reports say the British Aerospace 146 short-haul plane, operated by Bolivian charter airline Lamia and carrying 72 passengers and nine crew, crashed in a mountainous area outside the city shortly before midnight local time (05:00 GMT).
Medellin’s Mayor Federico Gutierrez described it as “a tragedy of huge proportions”.
The Jose Maria Cordova de Rionegro airport, which serves Medellin, posted on its Twitter account: “Confirmed, the aircraft licence number CP2933 was carrying the team @ChapecoenseReal. Apparently there are survivors.”
It later said in a statement that “all possible aid was being mobilised because six survivors are being reported”.
Poor weather has meant that the crash site is only accessible by land.
However, there was no fire on impact, which has given rescuers hope that more survivors may be found.