An aircraft with 81 people aboard, including a Brazilian football team, crashed in central Colombia, and rescuers are moving survivors from the site, the country's civil aviation association said on Tuesday.
The Chapecoense football team was among the 72 passengers and 9 crew on board the charter aircraft when it crashed around 10:15 pm on Monday. It was not immediately clear how many survived, however.
“Tonight it was reported that a plane coming from Viru Viru airport in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, which should have landed at Jose Maria Cordova, airport had gone off course,” a Colombian rescue official, Mauricio Parodi, told reporters. Rescue teams, from firefighters to disaster management officials, have been pressed into the search for survivors, added Parodi, the director of disaster management for the province of Antioquia.
Poor weather conditions made the crash site accessible only by road, airport authorities at Medellin, where the plane was scheduled to land, said on social network Twitter.
They confirmed the plane was carrying the soccer team, who had been due to face Atletico Nacional of Medellin in the first leg of Wednesday’s Sudamericana final, South America’s equivalent of the Europa League.
It was the first time the small club from Chapeco had ever reached the final of a major South American club competition but they were underdogs against a club going for a rare double after winning the Copa Libertadores in July.
There were six reported survivors in the crash, but this cannot be independently confirmed. Six reported survivors as plane carrying Brazilian football team Chapecoense crashes in Colombiahttps://t.co/ZkvZ4jb1Wp pic.twitter.com/QIbNyIePJk— Afternoon Voice (@Afternoon_Voice) November 29, 2016
Chapecoense were the 21st-biggest club in Brazil in terms of revenue, bringing in 46 million reais ($13.5 million) in 2015, according to an annual rich list compiled by Brazilian bank Itau BBA. The plane en route to Jose Maria Cordova International Airport in Rionegro, the second-largest airport in Colombia. The team was travelling to compete in the Copa Sudamericana finals.
Chapecoense was scheduled to compete against Colombia's Atletico Nacional on Wednesday. After learning of the crash, the South American football confederation CONMEBOL said the football tournament has been suspended, El Universo reported.