Schools and shops have been closed on tuesdays as the town of Chapeco mourns the air crash that killed 75 people including many of the local football team Chapecoense players. The team were travelling to a cup final when disaster struck and the plane that they were travelling on crashed in Columbia. The team, which had been a lowly team for many years had been making slow and steady progress to the higher levels of Brazilian football, and this cup final was a climax to one of their best seasons.
It’s believed that the trophy will be posthumously awarded to the team as a mark of condolence. The team were travelling to the Copa Sudamericana final, the South American version of Europe’s Europa league competition.
The football world has also mourned the losses with stars such as Pele, Neymar, Wayne Rooney and Lionel Messi taking to twitter to tweet their condolences. Also some of the world’s top clubs including Barcelona and Real Madrid have asked for moments of silence in quiet memoriam for the lives lost in the crash.
City officials in Chapeco have called for 30 days of mourning, the town’s population of just over 200,000, has been asked to halt any celebrations in the meantime as a mark of respect to the dead.
In better news it is believed that some of the teams players miraculously avoided death, Alan Ruschel, Jackson Follmann and Helio Zampier were all taken to hospital after the accident. They were three of the five known survivors of the crash. It’s also known that the passengers included sports journalists, their publications have released statements of condolence to their families.
The plane appears to have developed an electrical fault, and the crew declared an emergency just a few minutes before the flight BAe146 that had taken off from Bolivia, crashed into woods outside Medellin. Just miles short of it’s intended airport in the town of Medellin. So far investigators have been able to recover two black box recorders from the scene, and hopefully will be able to glean information on Colombia’s worst plane crash in two decades. Rescue teams hadn’t been helped by poor conditions, which included rain and mud and had made the effort extremely difficult.
The crash has reminded all of previous air disasters that have happened to football teams including most poignantly the Munich air crash that killed 23 including 8 players from English club Manchester united.
Joseph is a 34 year old freelance writer from London. He has a wide interest in politics and specialises in the subject. He's also a blog writer in his spare time.