Soccer Season Ends In Tragedy As Team Plane Crashes, Killing 76


A fairy tale sports season ended in a fiery tragedy Tuesday after a plane carrying a Brazilian soccer team crashed killing 76 of the 81 people aboard.

The team was on its way to the finals of a regional tournament at the time of the crash. Officials said that around 10 p.m. Monday the plane declared an emergency due to an electrical failure. Authorities are also investigating reports that the plane ran out of fuel.

Officials also reported heavy rain in the vicinity of the mountainous region where the crash took place, but no severe storms.

The plane was carrying the Chapecoense soccer team to Medellin, Colombia, to compete against other top South American teams.

“It’s a tragedy of huge proportions,” Medellin Mayor Federico Gutierrez said. “What was supposed to be a celebration has turned into a tragedy.”

The team was in the midst of a season that stunned experts.

“It’s a Cinderella football story. They’ve only been in the top division in Brazil for the last couple of years, and they’ve reached the Copa Sudamericana final,” said Keir Radnedge of World Soccer magazine. “What they have achieved in the last couple of years was just amazing.”

“This morning I said goodbye to them and they told me they were going after the dream, turning that dream into reality,” a Chapecoense board member said to TV Globo. “The dream was over early this morning.”

“The pain is terrible. Just as we had made it, I will not say to the top, but to have national prominence, a tragedy like this happens,” club vice-president Ivan Tozzo told Globo SportTV. “It is very difficult, a very great tragedy.”

“… may God accompany our athletes, officials, journalists and other guests traveling with our delegation,” the soccer team said in a Facebook post.

Original reports listed 75 dead. One person who was injured in the crash died overnight.

The team hailed from the small city of Chapeco, Brazil. It joined the top division of soccer teams 2014 for the first time since the 1970s. Last week, it defeated teams from Argentina and Colombia to reach the finals of the Copa Sudamericana.

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