Copa Sudamericana finalists Chapecoense in Colombia plane crash

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Chapecoense made it through to the Copa Sudamericana final after defeating San Lorenzo five days ago.

(ESPNFC) –A chartered plane transporting Brazilian football team Chapecoense to Medellin’s international airport in Colombia crashed overnight, killing 76 people, Colombian officials have confirmed. Five people survived.

The British Aerospace 146 short-haul plane, operated by a charter airline named LaMia, declared an emergency at 10 p.m. local time on Monday because of an electrical failure, aviation authorities said.

Authorities responded to the plane crash at a hill in La Union, according to the Jose Maria Cordova airport’s Twitter page. The municipality is roughly 22 miles from the airport.

The charter aircraft, which took off from Bolivia, was carrying 72 passengers and nine crew members, including Chapecoense who were expected to play in the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana final against Atletico Nacional on Wednesday in Medellin.

CONMEBOL, South American football’s governing body, has confirmed in a statement that the Copa Sudamericana finals and “all federation activities” have been suspended until further notice.

In a statement on their Facebook page, Chapecoense said: “May God accompany our athletes, officials, journalists and other guests traveling with our delegation.”

The Brazilian Football Federation added in a statement: “Our solidarity and prayers are with the passengers and crew.”

The team said it would refrain from any further statements until it had fully evaluated the extent of the crash.

The mayor of the nearby La Ceja municipality, Federico Gutierrez, told Blu Radio that access to the crash site is complicated.

Local media in Colombia are reporting that defender Alan Ruschel is one of the survivors and has arrived in an ambulance at a hospital near Medellin. Blu Radio said the passenger arrived on a stretcher with an oxygen mask and covered in a blanket. He appeared to be alive.

The mayor of Rionegro, a nearby city, confirmed that authorities are continuing to coordinate the search and rescue of survivors, but the accident site can only be accessed by ground transportation because of adverse weather conditions.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report