75 persons have been feared dead with 6 survivors after a chartered flight carrying a Brazilian first division football team crashed near Medellin while on its way to the finals of a regional tournament.
The British Aerospace 146 short-haul plane, operated by a charter airline named LaMia, declared an emergency and lost radar contact just before 10pm on Monday (0300 GMT) because of an electrical failure, aviation authorities said.
Many other sources said that the plane crashed due to lack of fuel.
The plane had carried members of Chapecoense Real, a Brazilian football club for the first leg of a two-game Copa Sudamericana final against Atletico Nacional of Medellin, which was due to be played on Wednesday.
“What was supposed to be a celebration has turned into a tragedy,” Medellin mayor Federico Gutierrez said from the search and rescue command centre.
The club, in a statement issued on its Facebook page, read:
“May God accompany our athletes, officials, journalists and other guests travelling with our delegation”.
The survivors included: a Chapecoense defender named Alan Ruschel, who doctors said suffered spinal injuries, two goalkeepers, Danilo and Jackson Follmann, as well as a member of the team’s delegation and a Bolivian flight attendant.
In the wake of the incident, thousands of Chapecoense fans gathered at the football club’s stadium in Chapecó, Brazil, to mourn the players and staff killed in the plane crash in Colombia.
Members of the crowd wore the team’s colours and brought flags and flowers to leave in tribute to the victims. At one point the fans began to recite the Lord’s Prayer together.
“I’m very sad to receive the news that came through this morning. It was completely unexpected. We’re gathered at the stadium, welcoming people who are affected, people who love Chapecoense,” Tozzo told SporTV.
“The pain is hard to take. Chapecoense was the biggest source of happiness in the city. Many in the town are crying.”
Chapecoense were preparing for the biggest match of their history after a remarkable ascent in Brazilian football.