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Brazilian Football Team Involved In Plane Crash

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A plane carrying 81 people, including a top Brazilian football team, Chapecoense FC, has crashed on its approach to the city of Medellin in Colombia.

Police earlier said that five people survived the crash but a statement by club said a sixth survivor was later found.

The team was due to play in the final of the Copa Sudamericana, against Medellin team Atletico Nacional.

The first leg of the final of the cup, South America’s second most important club competition, was scheduled for Wednesday, but has now been suspended.

Management of the football club issued a brief statement saying: “May God be with our athletes, officials, journalists and other guests travelling with our delegation.”

It said it would refrain from any further statements until it had assessed the extent of the crash.

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But vice-president of the club, Ivan Tozzo, told a sport television station that “there are a lot of people crying in our city, we could never imagine this. Chapecoense is the biggest reason for joy here.”

One of the survivors was confirmed as Chapecoense defender Alan Ruschel.

Reports suggest that at least two other footballers – goalkeepers Jackson Follman and Danilo – may have survived, as well as physiotherapist Rafael Gobbato.

The team, from the southern city of Chapeco, was promoted to Brazil’s first division in 2014 and reached the final last week after a victory against Argentina’s San Lorenzo.

The British Aerospace 146 short-haul plane, operated by Bolivian charter airline Lamia and carrying 72 passengers and nine crew, crashed in Cerro Gordo in the municipality of La Union.

According to a Colombian airport press release, it had reported an electrical fault to the control tower.

Medellin’s Mayor Federico Gutierrez described it as “a tragedy of huge proportions”.

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Poor weather meant that the crash site, in a mountainous area, was only accessible by land, and later Medellin airport that the rescue operation had been suspended.

There was no fire on impact, which appears to have increased the chances of survivors being found.

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