Colombia plane crash: 71 dead on Brazil soccer team’s charter flight

Near Medellin, Colombia (CNN)Brazil is mourning the deaths of dozens of its countrymen aboard a flight that crashed into the side of a mountain in Colombia.

Investigators are examining flight recorders retrieved from LAMIA Flight 2933 to determine what brought down the plane with 77 people late Monday night local time.
    Players, coaches and invited guests from Brazil’s Chapecoense soccer team were on board the charter flight. Seventy-one people were killed and six survived.
    On Wednesday, a remembrance will be held for the victims at the Atanasio Girardot Stadium in Medellin, Colombia, where Brazil’s Chapecoense soccer team had been due to play Colombia’s Atletico Nacional team.
    “Tomorrow in a symbol of solidarity, we will head to the stadium at 6:45 p wearing white and with candles for the victims,” the Medellin mayor’s office said in a Twitter post.
    Among the victims were around 20 journalists on the way to cover what was supposed to be a heartwarming chapter in a Cinderella story for a team of unlikely champions. The soccer club, which has risen the ranks in Brazilian soccer and has a devoted national fan base, was set to play in the first leg of the South American Cup finals Wednesday.
    On Tuesday, hundreds of heartbroken fans gathered at Arena Conda in the team’s hometown of Chapeco, Brazil, to mourn their loss.


    Flags flew at half-staff at Brazil’s Planalto Palace.
    The news sent shock waves through the sports world. The Liverpool Football Club paid tribute to the team before their Tuesday night game.

    Jet may have run out of fuel

    Investigators found the plane’s so-called black boxes Tuesday afternoon. The flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder are in “perfect condition,” Colombia’s civil aviation authority said on Twitter.
    As air safety officials begin their investigation, the final resting place of the jet’s wreckage may prove to be a central clue in determining why the airplane crashed.
    The lack of apparent fire damage among the wreckage of the deadly crash of LAMIA flight 2933 is pointing investigators to consider fuel starvation as a contributing factor to Monday’s crash, said a person familiar with the early inquiry.


    Chapecoense is sending a seven-person delegation of doctors and legal experts to Colombia.
    “Only after their arrival will we be able to confirm the facts of this tragedy,” the team said on Twitter.


    ‘We are praying for everyone’

    Three soccer players, two crew members and one journalist survived, Colombian authorities said.
    Among them: defender Alan Luciano Ruschel.
    In an Instagram post, Ruschel’s wife said he was hospitalized in stable condition.
    “We are praying for everyone who has not yet been rescued, and for their families,” Amanda Ruschel wrote. “It is a complicated and difficult situation. Only God can give us strength.”


    The team, whose stadium wasn’t even big enough to host a final by CONMEBOL regulations, was vying to become the first Brazilian club to win the South American Cup final since 2008.
    As word of the crash spread, Brazilian soccer great Pele was among the many athletes and fans expressing their condolences Tuesday.
    “The Brazilian football family is in mourning,” he wrote on Twitter. “This is a tragedy. I send my condolences to the families of the deceased. Rest in peace.”


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