Soccer world’s tribute to team lost in air crash

This file photo taken on November 24, 2016 shows Brazil’s Chapecoense players posing for pictures during their 2016 Copa Sudamericana semifinal second leg football match against Argentina’s San Lorenzo Picture: Nelson Almeida / AFP Photo
This file photo taken on November 24, 2016 shows Brazil’s Chapecoense players posing for pictures during their 2016 Copa Sudamericana semifinal second leg football match against Argentina’s San Lorenzo
Picture: Nelson Almeida / AFP Photo

Emotional tributes were paid yesterday to the Brazilian football team Chapecoense Real which was virtually wiped out in a plane crash in the Colombian mountains, leaving 71 dead.

The charter plane, a British Aerospace 146, reported electrical problems just before the crash as it arrived in Medellin where Chapecoense were to play in the Copa Sudamerican a final.

But a Colombian military source said the airliner might have run out of fuel. “It is very suspicious that despite the impact there was no explosion. That reinforces the theory of the lack of fuel,” the source said.

The weather at the time was bad.

Six people miraculously survived the crash on Monday night. Three of the survivors were footballers, but goalkeeper Jackson Follmann had his right leg amputated, the San Vicente Foundation Hospital outside Medellin said.

Two flight crew and a journalist following Chapecoense for the game against Medellin also survived.

Brazil ordered three days of national mourning for the team.

Fans flocked to the Chapecoense stadium in Brazil to mourn the team, who have emerged from nowhere over the past two years to take South American football by storm.

Other Brazilian clubs have offered them players so they can carry on competing. Special funds have also been set up.

Football legends Pele and Maradona and current superstars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo led tributes to the team.

Ronaldo joined Real Madrid teammates in a minute’s silence for the Brazilian team.

The two black box recorders have been found but no immediate details were given.

The dead included most of the team and 20 Brazilian journalists covering the match.

Crying, Plinio Filho, the head of the club’s advisory council, recalled players telling him they were off to chase a dream as they left.

“We have moved from a dream to a true nightmare,” mayor Luciano Buligon said.
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