Updated with Pelé comment: A chartered plane carrying 81 people, including 22 members of Brazilian soccer club Chapecoense, crashed near Medillin, Colombia in the early hours of Tuesday morning local time. Police say 76 people were killed, including members of the team. There were initially six survivors, but one died at the hospital, leaving five still alive, three players are among them, Reuters reports according to Colombian authorities. Brazilian news organizations said 21 journalists had also been on board. CNN, along with British and French news nets have been following the events closely as the rescue attempts continue while clubs and players from around Europe have offered their condolences via social media. Brazilian football legend Pelé also added his voice. (see below).
Chapecoense, which recently joined Brazil’s first division, is an underdog side which had astonished South America by rising to the finals of the Copa Sudamerica — to which the players were en route. That match, against Colombia’s Atlético Nacional, was due to take place Wednesday.
Authorities, per The New York Times, said the plane had reported electrical problems before going down in Cerro Gordo. Colombia’s Blu Radio, citing an interview with Colombia’s civil aviation director, said the plane had declared an emergency as it approached Medellín and was given priority to land before air traffic control lost contact with it.
The Brazilian Football Confederation expressed its “solidarity” and sent “prayers to the passengers and crew of the flight. #ForçaChape”
Soccer great Pelé tweeted:
Brazilian football is in mourning. It is such a tragic loss. My sincere condolences to the families of the deceased. Rest in peace. pic.twitter.com/jfoTMUBWtN
— Pelé (@Pele) November 29, 2016
Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas, who plays for the Portuguese club Porto, said on Twitter: “My condolences on the crash of the plane carrying Chapecoense. A tough moment for football. Be strong and brave.”
— Iker Casillas (@IkerCasillas) November 29, 2016
Manchester United and English national team captain Wayne Rooney wrote:
Sad news to wake up to today. Thoughts are with @ChapecoenseReal and their family and friends.
— Wayne Rooney (@WayneRooney) November 29, 2016
Former German national team captain Michael Ballack said:
— Michael Ballack (@Ballack) November 29, 2016
FC Barcelona held a minute of silence before its training session today:
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) November 29, 2016