Officials: Plane carrying Brazilian soccer team to Colombia crashes, 76 dead

Colombian authorities say 76 people including members of a Brazilian soccer team were killed in a plane crash Monday night in northwestern Colombia. There were five survivors.

The charter aircraft took off from Bolivia and was flying over the town of La Union at around 10 p.m. when electrical flaws were reported, according to a statement from the José María Córdova International Airport in Rionegro, Colombia. The plane crashed shortly after in a mountainous area in the Antioquian municipality, roughly 22 miles from the airport, which serves the city of Medellin.

There were 72 passengers and nine crewmembers on board, including members of Chapecoense, a Brazilian first division soccer team. The team was expected to play in the Copa Sudamerica finals against Atletico Nacional on Wednesday in Medellin.

“It’s a tragedy of huge proportions,” Medellin Mayor Federico Gutierrez told Blu Radio on his way to the scene of the crash.

"May God accompany our athletes, officials, journalists and other guests traveling with our delegation,” the club said in a statement on its Facebook page.

Chapecoense defender Alan Ruschel, 27, is in a stable condition after being pulled from the plane's wreckage, according to media reports. The disaster management agency also said that players Marcos Danilo Padilha and Jacson Ragnar Follmann survived as well as passengers Rafael Correa Gobbato and Ximena Suarez. The survivors were taken to nearby hospitals.

Rescue efforts are underway and authorities are asking residents to steer clear of the crash site.

The South American soccer federation canceled games until further notice and said its president, Alejandro Dominguez, was travelling to Medellin.

Solo personal autorizado podrá acceder al sitio del accidente. Por favor mantener las vías despejadas para facilitar la evacuación.

    — Alcaldía de Rionegro (@AlcRionegro) November 29, 2016

The plane is a British Aerospace 146 short-haul plane. It is not clear what caused the crash, but Colombia had been hit by heavy rains and thunderstorms in recent hours.


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