A plane with 81 people on board, including players from a Brazilian soccer team heading to Colombia for a regional tournament final, has crashed on its way to Medellin’s airport. There has been no confirmation of casualties at this moment. There were 72 passengers and nine crews on board. Reports say there are at least six survivors, which may include Chapecoense goalkeeper, Marcos Danilo Padilha.
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, but has now been suspended. The South American Football Confederation (Conmebol) said it was suspending “all activities”.
Medellin international airport has confirmed that a charter aircraft with squad members and football journalists on board was involved in a serious emergency on its way to the city.
It was not clear what caused the crash of the aircraft, a British Aerospace 146 short-haul plane, but Colombia had been hit by heavy rains and thunderstorms in recent hours. Data from the FlightRadar24.com website showed the plane circling before eventually disappearing south of Rio Negro.
The team, from the small city of Chapeco, joined Brazil’s first division in 2014 for the first time since the 1970s and made it to the Copa Sudamericana finals last week by defeating Argentina’s legendary San Lorenzo squad. Besides football, the club also has activities in futsal, and they were crowned state champion twice. The club was founded in 1973 as the goal of restoring football in the city of Chapecó, and in just four years of existence, they won their first state title in 1977.