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Plane carrying Brazilian soccer team, Chapecoense FC, crashes in Columbian jungle – 76 dead, 5 survivors

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A story of red tape, mechanical failures and human tragedy

Bolivian charter flight carrying 81 including top flight Brazil football team Chapecoense crashed into Colombia mountains, 75 killed as their plane crashes on way to Medellin 
Six survivors from the crash including three players, a journalist and two members of the crew
One surviving player, goalkeeper Danillo, pulled alive from Colombia air crash wreckage made last call to his wife moments before he died in hospital
Plane allegedly crashed amid reports of on board ‘electrical problems’
The serie A newcomers were set to play the prestigous Copa Sudamerica tournament final on Wednesday


 Rescue workers search for survivors and the remains of the dead at the crash site
Pilot Quiroga with some players in the cockpit before take off on the ill-fated second leg of their flight
Seventy six. That is the number of fatalities from the passenger manifiest of the ill-fated Flight 2933, after red tape regulations cuffed the crew transporting Brazilian top flight soccer club Chapecoense FC, to the continent’s second most prestigous club competition, forcing them onto a potentially faulty plane that subsequently crashed in the Colombia jungle.

Pilot Mick Quiroga tabled a requestto permit Brazil’s top division Chapecoense soccerteam, who were travelling over the border for a historic Copa Sudamerica cup final, to byepass the circiutous flight to Bolivia, instead fly directly to the town of Medellin, the matchvenue
But aviation authorities refused permission for a flight to take the direct route from Sao Paulo in Brazil to Medellin in Columbia.
A recorded phone call shows how the Bolivia-based LAMIA airline pilot pleaded with the mayor of the club’s home city, Chapeco, to help him get permission for the more direct route.
Mick Quiroga said: “I hired a Bolivian aeroplane to take us from Sao Paulo Guarulhos to Santa Cruz. I’ll be waiting here in Santa Cruz.
“This flight leaves 3pm local time in Sao Paulo, but the process of that other application that we did have leave for because we have approval to enter in Foz do Iguacu and go to Chapeco.
“Please Mayor, give us some help here for us to enter”.
His request was turned down by Brazil’s National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC) because of rules over flight services between countries.
“The transportation must be done by a Brazilian or Colombian company”, a ruling official said.
“I understand that there is a company already in place to carry out the flight. That being the case, I deny authorisation.”


Chapecoense players celebrate the historic moment when the series A new comer qualified first time ever for theCopa Sudamerica cup final after beating Argentina’s San Lorenzo on Nov, 3


Empty locker room: Chapecoense players who did not make trip sit stunned in a nearly empty locker room at the club’s facilities

After already paying for the LAMIA flight, it meant the team had to fly from Brazil and change over to board the doomed plane in Bolivia, from where they set off on Monday night.
‘Micky’ Quiroga died along with 75 others when the plane plunged into a remote forested area near the town of La Ceja.


Pilot,  Mick Quiroga, sought permission for a direct. It was refused and the plane crashed, some reports say, due to an elecrical fault

Heart tugging photographs taken from the cockpit of the ill-fated plane show a smiling Quiroga with some of the Chapecoense squad just hours before the disaster that left only five survivors.

On the other end of the scale of human tragedy lies the soccer club’s first choice goalkeeper Danilo Padilha, who was  pulled from the wreckage of the Colombian air disaster made a heartbreaking last telephone call to his wife moments before he died, it has emerged.
31-year-old Danilo was one of just seven people initially found alive in the mangled remains of the jet which crashed down on its way from Bolivia to the city of Medellin.
Transported to hospital for treatment after the crash, he spoke to his wife from his hospital bed, only to die from his injuries a short time later. Weeks earlier he had posted a picture of himself next to his wife who he described as ‘my love’.
Part of the montage of images emerging from the ill-fated journey, are seperate images showing him posing for selfies with fellow footballer Alan Ruschel, 27, during the journey from Brazil with Ruschel, 27, telling fans: ‘We’re coming Colombia.’
Ruschel himself was one of the trio of palyers pulled alive from the wreckage along with goalkeeper Jacson Follmann, defender Helio Hermito Zampier Neto, a journalist and two crew members, officials said.

Goalkeeper Danilo  and Alan Ruschel pose for selfies before the crash1.jpg

GoalkeeperDanilo Padilha and Defender Alan Ruschel posing for selfies during the journey from Brazil with Ruschel,  telling fans: ‘We’re coming Colombia’. The pair were among survivors pulled alive from the wreckage but Danilo later died in hospital

Rescue workers scour the crash site of the air columbian disaster.jpg


Flight 2933 crashes on its approach to Medellin’s Jose Maria Cordaba airport, in Colombia’s Antioquia department.
Rescuers have started the grim task of removing bodies from the crash site as it emerged the pilot circled in a desperate attempt to burn off fuel before attempting to land.

Emergency rescue workers transfer Brazilian soccer player Alan Ruschel, one of the six survivors
Human daisy chain as rescue workers traverse the difficult terrain to reach the crash site


Victim: Chapecoense FC head coach, Caio Junior
Medical personell transfer 27-year-old defender, Alan Ruschel after he as pulled alive from the wreckage
Rescuers negotiate the difficult and remote crash sites with stretchers being carried down to waiting ambulances
Danilo’s last-gasp save in the semi-final of the competition had helped the team make it through to the cup final.
The Avro RJ85 plane, which was carrying nine crew, suffered power failures while flying through the Antioquia Department on its way from Bolivia. The pilot is believed to have circled around before crash landing in a desperate bid to lose fuel and avoid an explosion on impact.

The team, from the small city of Chapeco, was in the middle of a fairy tale season. It joined Brazil’s first division in 2014 for the first time since the 1970s and made it last week to the Copa Sudamericana finals – the equivalent of the UEFA Europa League tournament – after defeating Argentina’s San Lorenzo.
‘May God accompany our athletes, officials, journalists and other guests travelling with our delegation’ the club said in a brief statement on its Facebook page. The players looked happy and relaxed as they waited for permission to board.rescue-teams-stand-by-recovered-remains-of-passengers-from-the-lamia-airlines-charter-that-crashed-in-the-mountains-of-cerro-gordo

Chapecoense was traveling on a chartered flight to play Colombian club Atletico Nacional in the Copa Sudamericana final when the plane crashed near Medellin

The team, from the small city of Chapeco, was in the middle of a fairy tale season. It joined Brazil’s first division in 2014 for the first time since the 1970s and made it last week to the Copa Sudamericana finals – the equivalent of the UEFA Europa League tournament – after defeating Argentina’s San Lorenzo.
‘May God accompany our athletes, officials, journalists and other guests travelling with our delegation’ the club said in a brief statement on its Facebook page. The players looked happy and relaxed as they waited for permission to board.


Rescue experts remove recovered bodies of the plane’s wreckage this morning as they worked to clear the scene of the disaster

The flight manifest included 20 players, the manager Caio Junior and four other members of his coaching team including an assistant manager, a personal trainer, a kinesiologist and a masseur who is said to be among the survivors.
The club’s president and vice-president were also on board along with other club managers. The team were only about five minutes from their destination when they crashed.
Among those believed to have perished on the flight to Medellin are dozens of sports journalists and well-known football commentators making their way to report on Chapecoense’s history-making game.
They include a six-strong team from FOX Sports, three reporters from Brazil’s main Globo TV channel, among a total of 21 members of the media.
Among the team from FOX, which was broadcasting the game, were famous commentators Devair Pascovicci and Mario Sergio, as well as respected football journalist Victorino Chermont.
It also emerged Anderson Paixao, the trainer of both Chapecoense and the Brazilian national side, is among those not accounted for.
Anderson had first been called up to train Brazil stars such as Neymar and David Luiz last year for the Copa America in Chile.
His colleague, Chapecoense’s physio Rafael Gobbato is also believed to be among the dead.
The plane was flying from Viru Viru airport in Santa Cruz, Bolivia and should have landed at Jose Maria Cordova in Colombia
The 28-year-old has played for Spain’s Villarreal, Penarol of Uruguay and Brazilian clubs Coritiba, Ponte Preta, Cruzeiro and Fluminense.
Meanwhile the son of coach Caio Junior who perished in the crash has told how he only didn’t board the doomed aircraft after forgetting his passport.
Some of the lorries are getting stuck in mud which is making the rescue more difficult. Witnesses said they have seen five people rescued so far.

 Chapecoense Real football team before the doomed flight took off.jpg Chapecoense FC team before the ill-fated flight took off


Doctors at several hospitals are working to stabilise the six survivors of the plane crash that killed 75 people near Medellin, Colombia.
All the injured suffered severe trauma injuries with hospital officials say Chapecoense FC player Alan Ruschel appears to be in the most critical condition, in the aftermath of a spinal fracture.  Ruschel was stabilised at the San Juan de Dios hospital and transferred by ambulance to the intensive care unit of better-equipped facility, where he’s awaiting surgery.
Defender Helio Zampier arrived shortly after dawn and is in stable condition with skull and chest injuries. A third player, Jakson Follmann, is at another facility and being evaluated for multiple unspecified injuries.
While journalist Rafael Valmorbida is recovering from surgery for chest injuries, Bolivian crew members Ximena Suarez and Erwin Tumiri are listed in stable condition and recovering. Other players listed as being on the flight included:
Ananias, a 27-year-old striker;
Arthur Maia, 24, midfielder;
Bruno Rangel, 34, striker;
Ailton Canela, 21, striker;
Cleber Santana, 35, midfielder;
Dener, 25, defender;
Filipe Machado, 32, defender;
Gil , 29, midfielder;
Gimenez, 21, defender;
Danilo Padilha, 31, goalkeeper;
Kempes, 34, striker;
Lucas Gomes, 26, striker;
Matheus Biteco, 21, midfielder;
Sergio Manoel, 27, midfielder;
William Thiago, 30, defender;
Tiaguinho, 22, striker;
Josimar, 30, midfielder;
Marcelo Augusto, a 25, defender;
Mateus Caramelo, 22, defender.


Chapecoense were in columbia to play in the first leg of the final of the Copa Sudamericana, Wednesday. The competition is contenent’s second most important club competition, equivalent to the Europa League in Europe.
They were billed to face Colombian side Atletico Nacional in the first match of the two-legged final. Chapecoense edged Argentinian side San Lorenzo 1-1 on away goals in the semi-final to become the first Brazilian club to reach a major final in South America since 2013.
After the victory, they were described as ‘an unglamorous but growing club’ by ESPN.

The team joined Brazil’s first division in 2014 for the first time since the 1970s and made it last week to the Copa Sudamericana finals, the equivalent of the UEFA Europa League tournament , after defeating Argentina’s San Lorenzo

How long have they been in Brazil’s top division, Serie A?
They have competed in the first division for three seasons, having made the top tier in 2014.


Chapecoense fans distraught with heads down, Tuesday


Grieving supporters, support each other outside the clubs facilities in Capeco, Tuesday

The club’s vice president said that the Brazilian city where the team is from is in tears. Ivan Tozzo said that Chapeco, a city of 200,000 residents in southern Brazil, is in mourning.

Tozzo told cable channel SporTV that ‘we are very sad, gathered here in the locker room of our stadium. We are still waiting for news. All our board is there, our players. We have nothing concrete on their state.’
He said that ‘There are a lot of people crying in our city, we could never imagine this. Chapecoense is the biggest reason for joy here. We hope there are many survivors, at least that most of them are OK.’
The South American soccer federation has cancelled all activities until further notice.
The CONMEBOL federation said in a statement that its president, Alejandro Dominguez, is on his way to Medellin.
Atletico Nacional had said on Twitter: ‘National deeply regret and sympathise with @ChapecoenseReal for the accident which has happened and await information from authorities.’
Footballers around the world paid tribute to the team today with England captain Wayne Rooney among those taking to Twitter.
He said: ‘Sad news to wake up to today. Thoughts with @ChapecoenseReal and their family and friends.’

Wayne Rooney.jpg
Brazilian legend Pele captured the mood of many when he said on Twitter: ‘Brazilian football is in mourning.’
‘Sad day for football,’ Barcelona and Argentina striker Lionel Messi said in a Twitter post. ‘Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Chapecoense players and others who died. RIP.’
Poutegese great, and former Real Madrid star,  Luis Figo added: ‘Thoughts and prayers go out to all the players families and everyone associated with @ChapecoenseReal football club.’

Luis Figo.jpg
Brazilian striker Neymar tweeted the club badge and Porto’s Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas said ‘Good luck and stay strong!’
Former Germany captain Michael Ballack tweeted: ‘Very sad to read #RIP #Chapecoense Remember we are never safe and anything can happen, so make sure to tell your loved ones that you care.’
Manchester United, who lost a whole genration of players in the documented February 1958 air crash as their plane crashed on take off from Munich airport wrote on Twitter: ‘#ForçaChapecoense – The thoughts of everyone at Manchester United are with @ChapecoenseReal & all those affected by the tragedy in Colombia.’
FIFA President Gianni Infantino said it was a ‘very, very sad day for football’.


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