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Tragedy and broken dreams in Brazilian football team's plane crash

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Chapecoense team at a match against Argentinian team San Lorenzo on 23 November 2016. NELSON ALMEIDA / AFP

A charter plane carrying Brazilian football team of Chapecoense Real crashed in the mountains in Colombia late Monday, killing as many as 75 people, officials said. Goalkeeper Marcos Danilo Padilha "died while being transferred" to hospital, a source in the civil aviation authority told the AFP news agency on Tuesday.


Only six people survived, four of them players, officials said.

The LAMIA airlines charter declared an emergency at around 10pm on Monday local time, reporting it had suffered "electrical failures", and crashed a short time later near the city of Medellin.

The plane was carrying members of Chapecoense Real, a Brazilian football club that had risen from obscurity to play in the Copa Sudamericana finals on Wednesday against Atletico Nacional of Colombia.

"The pain is terrible. Just as we had made it, I will not say to the top, but to have national prominence, a tragedy like this happens. It is very difficult, a very great tragedy," club vice-president Ivan Tozzo told Globo SportTV.

The flight of the team's plane and where it went down RFI

There were 72 passengers and nine crew on board the British Aerospace 146.

Police commander Jose Gerardo Acevedo initially said only five people survived the crash but Colombian authorities later said a sixth person was found alive, raising hopes there might be other survivors.

One of the survivors was Alan Ruschel, a 27-year-old defender for the Brazilian team.

Radio Caracol said two other players - Marcos Danilo Padilla and Jackson Follmann - also survived and were taken to hospitals, along with a flight attendant and a journalist.

Local da queda do avião da Chapecoense na Colômbia que deixou 76 mortos. REUTERS/Fredy Builes TEMPLATE OUT

Elkin Ospina, the mayor of the town of La Ceja near the crash site, said the mountainous terrain was some 3,300 metres above sea level and very difficult to access.

Conmebol, the South American football confederation, meanwhile officially called off the Copa Sudamericana final that was to be played between Chapecoense and Atletico Nacional.

Brazil's President Michel Temer declared three days of mourning for the victims.

Broken dreams

Chapecoense and Atletico Nacional were supposed to have faced off in Wednesday's first leg of the final of the Copa Sudamericana, the second most prestigious club football tournament in South America after the Copa Libertadores.

Flores e mensagens são vistas ao lado de uma bandeira da equipe de futebol Chapecoense em homenagem a seus jogadores na frente do estádio Arena Conda em Chapeco, Brasil, 29 de novembro de 2016. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker

Chapecoense had reached the final after completing a victory on away goals last week over Argentinian side San Lorenzo in the semi-finals.

The club is widely regarded as one of the minnows of Brazilian club football, having been founded relatively recently in 1973 in the city of Chapeco in southern Santa Catarina state.

After decades in the lower divisions, Chapecoense returned to Brazil's top flight Serie A in 2014 for the first time since 1979. The club finished in 14th spot in the 2015 edition of the 20-team championship.