A chartered aircraft with 81 on board, including a Brazilian first division football team heading to Colombia for a regional tournament final, has crashed on its way to Medellin’s international airport.
Aviation authorities said there were reports of at least six survivors and at least 21 journalists were on the plane.
Medellin’s mayor Federico Gutierrez said it was ‘a tragedy of huge proportions’ as he made his way to the site in a mountainous area outside the city where the chartered aircraft crashed shortly before midnight local time on Monday.
He said ambulances and rescuers were on their way.
Offering a glimmer of hope, Kaleth Gutiérrez said: ‘We can’t say how many but there are lots of survivors.’
Aviation authorities said the aircraft, a British Aerospace 146 short-haul plane operated by a Bolivian charter airline named Lamia, declared an emergency at 10pm on Monday (3am GMT) due to an electrical failure.
Authorities and rescuers were immediately activated but an air force helicopter had to turn back due to low visibility.
The aircraft, which made a stop in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, was was taking the Chapecoense football team from southern Brazil.
The team was due to play on Wednesday in the first of a two-game Copa Sudamericana final against Atletico Nacional of Medellin.
One of the first known survivors is defender Alan Ruschel who was taken to La Ceja Hospital with a broken hip and head injuries.
The plane was carrying 72 passengers and nine crew members.
A video published on the team’s Facebook page showed players readying for the flight earlier on Monday in Sao Paulo’s Guarulhos international airport.
The team, from the small city of Chapeco, joined Brazil’s first division in 2014 for the first time since the 1970s and made it to the Copa Sudamericana finals last week by defeating Argentina’s legendary San Lorenzo squad.