More than 70 dead in South American plane crash

NNA – A plane carrying finalists for the South American football championship has crashed in the country of Colombia.

The British Aerospace 146 short-haul plane was reportedly carrying 72 passengers and nine crew members, including the Brazilian club soccer team, Chapecoense.

Police say 75 of the plane’s passengers are believed dead.

Officials for the Aeronautica Civil government agency in Colombia confirmed six survivors: two crew members, three athletes and one journalist.

The Associated Press reports that Chapecoense defender Alan Ruschel suffered spinal injuries

It is unclear what injuries the other survivors may have suffered.

A Facebook post for the Chapecoense soccer team says in Portuguese that the club’s vice president is awaiting news from Colombian officials before making any announcements regarding the team and potential injuries.

“May God be with our athletes, leaders, journalists and other guests who are with the delegation,” the translated post concluded.

The plane crash took place in a mountainous area near La Union, Colombia, around 10:00 p.m. local time on Monday. The aircraft did not explode or catch fire upon impact.

In a press release, officials for the Jose Maria Cordova International Airport in Rionegro, Colombia, to which the plane was headed, said the aircraft reported electrical problems before the crash.

A surviving flight attendant said the plane ran out of fuel about five minutes before its expected landing at the airport, according to The Associated Press.

Investigators are looking into both reports as the possible cause for the crash.

The airplane took off from Sao Paulo, Brazil’s Guarulhos International Airport Monday, according to The Associated Press. It made a stop in Bolivia before heading toward Colombia.

Chapecoense was due to play in the final of the South American club cup Wednesday with Medellin, Colombia’s team Atletico Nacional.

Conmebol, the South American Football Confederation, released a statement after the crash suspending all activities, including the final, until further notice.–AP

==========N.AF/L.Y.R