Seventy-five people, including most of Brazil’s Chapecoense soccer team, died when their plane crashed just before landing near Colombia’s second largest city Medellin. Six survived the crash.
The airplane crashed late Monday evening in a rural part of La Union, a municipality some 13 miles south of the international airport located outside of Medellin’s urban area.
“We were able to rescue five people alive, the rest of the people died,” Antioquia Police commander Jose Gerardo Acevedo said early Tuesday morning.
Rescue workers later found a sixth survivor, although no identity could immediately be confirmed. All surviving victims have been taken to local hospitals.
The confirmed survivors are air hostess Ximena Sanchez, journalist Rafael Henzel and soccer players Alan Ruschel, Marcos Danilo Padilha and Jackson Follmann.
The Brazilian team flew from Bolivia’s capital La Paz into the city to face Medellin side Atletico Nacional in the first leg of the final of the Copa Sudamericana on Wednesday.
According to Colombia’s aviation director Alfredo Bocanegra, “the plane had asked for a priority landing, which was granted, but then contact was lost.”
Rescue work has been hindered by the region’s mountainous terrain and ongoing rains that impede helicopters from reaching the site of the crash.
According to local authorities, the airplane likely crashed due to technical failures, but said they will need at least two weeks to thoroughly investigate the tragedy.