Soccer

Plane carrying Brazilian soccer team Chapecoense crashes; 71 dead

Kyodo

An aircraft carrying passengers including members of a Brazilian soccer team heading for a regional tournament final crashed in Colombia late Monday, killing 71 people onboard, AP reported Tuesday citing Colombian authorities.

Six people were rescued and are receiving treatment at hospitals and elsewhere, while four who had been thought to be aboard were not actually on the plane, according to the report.

Aviation authorities initially said 75 of 81 passengers and crew members were killed in the crash.

Of the rescued six, three are soccer players, two are crew and one is a journalist. One of the three players is a goalkeeper who later had his right leg amputated, according to the report.

Colombian authorities have retrieved the black box flight recorders from the doomed British Aerospace 146 owned by a Bolivian company.

The plane departed from Sao Paulo, Brazil, and made a stop at Santa Cruz, Bolivia, on its way to Medellin in the northwest of Colombia.

The airplane declared an emergency, reporting an electrical failure before the crash in a mountainous area outside Medellin, according to the reports.

Brazilian team Chapecoense, from the small southern city of Chapeco, had been scheduled to play against Atletico Nacional in the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana final in Medellin on Wednesday.

Atletico Nacional asked the South American soccer confederation Tuesday to award the Copa Sudamericana title to Chapecoense in tribute to team members who died in the crash, according to local reports.

The soccer world mourned the tragic loss with former and current South American soccer stars paying tributes on social media.

“My sincere condolences to the families of the deceased. Rest in peace,” Brazilian legend Pele wrote on Twitter.

“Today is such a sad day in football history. Rest in peace guys. You are immortal,” Barcelona and Argentina striker Lionel Messi wrote on Twitter.

The passengers aboard the flight may include the team manager and four players who previously spent time in the J-League, according to a team list made available by Colombian media.

Caio Junior had a short stint managing Vissel Kobe in J1 in 2009 before he moved on to Qatari side Al Gharafa.

Midfielder Cleber Santana played for Kashiwa Reysol in 2005 and Thiego for then J1 Kyoto Sanga in 2010, while Arthur Maia spent a season at Kawasaki Frontale last year.

Forward Kempes played in Japan for three years, first in 2012 at Cerezo Osaka, where he scored seven times in the top flight, and the following two seasons at J2 JEF United Chiba.

Their names were not included on either the list of four who were not onboard the plane nor on the list of survivors.