76 dead in plane crash near Medellín, Colombia

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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

On Monday local time, a chartered flight carrying 72 passengers and nine crew members crashed on the outskirts of the city of Medellín, Colombia. The Colombian police has indicated only five people on board survived the crash.

The British Aerospace 146 was flying from Brazil to Colombia via Bolivia. The plane reported facing electrical problems near La Ceja and La Unión before crashing at roughly 10:15pm local time (0315 Tuesday UTC). The crash site had bad weather, and heavy fog prevented rescue helicopters from landing.

According to initial reports, six passengers were rescued but later one of them died in hospital.

The flight was carrying Brazilian Série A football team Chapecoense's delegations. Chapecoense was scheduled to play Colombian club Atlético Nacional today in the Copa Sudamericana final; Copa Sudamericana is South America's second-tier club competition, the winner of which is promoted to the first-tier competition of Copa Libertadores in the next season.

The Chapecó based club were promoted to the first division Série A in 2014. They are currently ninth in the league table and the final league match of the season was scheduled to be played on Sunday against Atlético Mineiro. Reaching the final of Copa Sudamericana was the best outcome in the club's history.

By varying reports either 21 or 22 Brazilian football journalists where also on the flight. The five survivors include at least two football players, who have been identified as Alan Ruschel and Jakson Follmann.

South America's governing body of football CONMEBOL has suspended the upcoming fixture. Atlético Nacional were scheduled to play the second leg of the final on December 7.

Brazilian president Michel Temer tweeted, "I express my solidarity at this sad time when dozens of Brazilian families have been affected by tragedy."((pt)) Temer has also called three-day mourning in Brazil.

Atlético Nacional requested CONMEBOL award the Copa Sudamericana to Chapecoense. Several Brazilian clubs said they would loan players to Chapecoense for the upcoming season for free. They also requested Chapecoense be granted three seasons' immunity from relegation to a lower division.

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