MEDELLIN, Colombia (AP) — Celebration turns to tragedy in the skies over Colombia.
Members of a Brazilian first-division soccer team are among more than 70 people killed, when their plan crashed in Medellin, Colombia.
CBS 2’s Hena Daniels reports.
Colombian rescue crews worked in the dark, using flashlights in the heavy rain and mountainous terrain.
A plane carrying Brazil’s Chapecoense soccer team to their biggest match, crashed into a Colombia hillside, killing 75 people and leaving six survivors, Colombia officials announced Tuesday. The few survivors pulled from Monday night’s wreckage were rushed to nearby hospitals.
As daylight came, scenes from the crash show the damamge fuselage, debris and workers varrying bodies of victims up the hillside.
More than 80 people were on board the charter plane, in flight to Venezuela. The plane announced an emergency and lost radar contact just before 10 p.m. Monday, because of an electrical failure, authorities said.
The aircraft, which had departed from Santa Cruz, Bolivia, was carrying the up and coming Chapecoense soccer team from southern Brazil for Wednesday’s first leg of a two-game Copa Sudamericana final against Atletico Nacional of Medellin – the continent’s second-most-important championship.
A video published on the team’s Facebook page showed the team readying for a flight earlier Monday in Sao Paulo’s Guarulhos international airport. Photos of team members in the cockpit and posing in front of the plane ahead of departure quickly spread across social media.
The plane was just five minutes away from its final destination.
“What was supposed to be a celebration has turned into a tragedy,” Medellin Mayor Federico Gutierrez said from the search and rescue command center.
The club said in a brief statement on its Facebook page, “May God accompany our athletes, officials, journalists and other guests traveling with our delegation.”
The tragedy is hitting people in Brazil especially hard, the team from the small city of Chapeco was in the middle of a fairytale season. The Brazilian government has declared three days of mourning.
Expressions of grief poured in from all over the soccer world. South America’s federation canceled all scheduled matches in a show of solidarity, Real Madrid’s squad interrupted its training for a minute of silence and Argentina legend Diego Maradona sent his condolences to the victims’ families over Facebook.
Two goalkeepers, Danilo and Jackson Follmann, as well as a journalist traveling with the team and a Bolivian flight attendant, were found alive in the wreckage. But Danilo was later reported as dead, and authorities said another defender, Helio Zampier, had survived amid a confusion of sometimes conflicting early reports.
The South American Football Federation has suspended all games until further notice.
(TM and © Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. CBS contributed to this content.)