Colombia plane crash: 81 on board flight to Medellin


Cii Radio| Sabera Sheik Essop| 29 November 2016| 28 Safar 1438

Among the passengers were players from Brazilian football team Chapocoense, heading to a regional tournament final.

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.

In a statement posted on Twitter, the Jose Maria Cordova International Airport said at least six survivors had been rescued at the site, which could only be accessed by land due to harsh weather conditions.

The Chapocoense football team was among 72 passengers and 9 crew on board the aircraft.

Speaking from Bogota, Al Jazeera’s Alessandro Rampietti says the flight crashed in a mountainous region.
“There have been heavy rains day in and day out in the last week or so. That could have played a big role in the crash, but that is still unconfirmed,” he said.

“It’s a tragedy of huge proportions,” Gutierrez told Blu Radio on his way to the site in a mountainous area outside the city where the chartered aircraft was believed to have crashed shortly before midnight local time.

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 website showed the plane circling before eventually disappearing south of Rio Negro.

Medellin’s airport confirmed that the aircraft, which made a stop in Bolivia, was transporting the first division Chapecoense team from southern Brazil.

The team was scheduled to play Wednesday in the first of a two-game Copa Sudamericana final against Atletico Nacional of Medellin.

A video published on the team’s Facebook page showed players preparing for the flight earlier on Monday in Sao Paulo’s Guarulhos international airport.

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.

Al Jazeera senior sports presenter Andy Richardson described the team as “a rare model of organisational success” that was “lauded as an example of how to run a club”.

He added: “They were seen as a real success story of the last three or four years in Brazilian football.”

Source : Al Jazeera