A chartered plane with 81 people aboard, including members of a Brazilian soccer club, crashed on the outskirts of Medellín, Colombia, the authorities said early Tuesday.
Colombia’s civil aviation agency said the flight was operated by a small airline, LaMia, and carried the soccer club Chapecoense de Brasil. The team was traveling from Bolivia to play in the final of the Copa Sudamericana tournament when the plane crashed about 10 p.m. on Monday.
Colombian news reports said at least one of the survivors was from the soccer team and had been taken to a hospital, where he was conscious and able to speak.
The authorities said the plane had reported electrical problems as it flew near the towns of La Ceja and La Unión in the mountainous stretches around Medellín.
The South American Football Confederation said it had suspended the Copa Sudamericana, and the group’s president was headed to Medellín.
Colombia’s Blu Radio, citing an interview it conducted with Alfredo Bocanegra, Colombia’s civil aviation director, said the plane had declared an emergency as it approached Medellín. The plane was given priority to land before air traffic controllers lost contact with it.
Medellin’s Mayor Federico Gutierrez described it as “a tragedy of huge proportions”.
The Jose Maria Cordova de Rionegro airport, which serves Medellin, posted on its Twitter account: “Confirmed, the aircraft licence number CP2933 was carrying the team @ChapecoenseReal. Apparently there are survivors.”
Poor weather meant that the crash site, in a mountainous area, was only accessible by land, and later Medellin airport tweeted (in Spanish) that the rescue operation had been suspended.
There was no fire on impact, which appears to have increased the chances of survivors being found.
Conmebol said in a statement that its president, Alejandro Dominguez, was on his way to Medellin.
“The Conmebol family greatly regrets what happened. All activities of the confederation are suspended until further notice,” it said.
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