Plane carrying Brazilian soccer team crashes, 75 dead

The Chapecoense soccer team was having a fairy tale season.
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Police officers and rescue workers search for survivors around the wreckage of a plane that crashed in Colombia.

Police officers and rescue workers search for survivors around the wreckage of a plane that crashed in Colombia.

A charter flight carrying a Brazilian soccer team that was having a fairy tale season crashed overnight, killing at least 75 people on board. Six people survived.

The first division Chapecoense soccer team was traveling from Santa Cruz, Bolivia, to Medellin, Colombia, for a two-game Copa Sudamericana final against Atletico Nacional of Medellin, The Associated Press says.

There were 72 passengers and nine crew members on board the plane when it crashed in La Union, a mountainous area near Medellin, Colombia, according to ESPN FC. Six people survived the crash, including three players Alan Luciano Ruschel, Jackson Ragnar Follmann and Marcos Danilo Padilha; two crew members; and a journalist, aviation officials said early Tuesday.

No one understands how a story that was so amazing could suffer such a devastating reversal.

It's not clear what caused the British Aerospace 146 short-haul plane, which was being operated by charter airline LaMia, to crash. Aviation officials say initial reports suggest the plane suffered electrical problems, the AP says, while investigators are also looking into a report from one of the survivors who said the plane ran out of fuel about 5 minutes before it was expected to land at Jose Maria Cordova airport.

A fairy tale season

Reports say Chapecoense was having a fairy tale season. The club joined Brazil's top flight in 2014, which The Telegraph says is "no small achievement for a club of their lowly stature, in a league populated by more illustrious teams such as Corinthians and Santos."

Last week, Chapecoense made the Copa Sudamericana final. (The Copa Sudamericana is comparable to the UEFA Europa League tournament.)

"Chapecoense was the biggest source of happiness in the town," Ivan Tozzo, the club's vice president, told Brazil's SporTV. "Many in the town are crying."

"No one understands how a story that was so amazing could suffer such a devastating reversal. For many people here reality has still not struck," Andrei Copetti, a team spokesman, told the AP.

A statement from the South American Football Confederation says all activities related to the league have been suspended until further notice, and it greatly regrets what happened.

The Associated Press has a list of 20 other sports teams involved in fatal plane crashes. The most recent was Sept. 7, 2011, when 27 players, two coaches and seven club officials from the Russian hockey team Lokomotiv crashed in Tunoshna, Russia.

Tributes pour in

Clubs around the world have been sharing tributes for the Chapecoense team, Al Jazeera reports, many using the hashtag #ForçaChapecoense.

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