Colombia Chapecoense plane crash What we know


Colombia Chapecoense plane crash: What we know

A passenger plane carrying 77 people, including Brazil”s Chapecoense football club, has crashed in Colombia. Just six people survived. Here is what we know so far.

What happened?

A charter plane flying from Brazil to Colombia via Bolivia lost contact with ground controllers on Monday evening after the pilot reported an electrical fault.

Images from a flight tracker show the Lamia Flight 2933 circling several times just outside of Medellin.

At around 22:15 on Monday (03:15 GMT on Tuesday), on the approach to the Colombian city of Medellin, it crashed in Cerro Gordo in the municipality of La Union.

The plane broke apart on impact but did not explode, raising suspicions that it had lost power due to a lack of fuel.

The aircraft”s two black box flight recorders, which could provide essential information into what happened, were later recovered “in perfect condition”, officials said.

Bad weather hampered rescue efforts, with the crash site inaccessible by air. Rescuers had to travel on foot for more than half an hour to reach the site.

Colombia”s disaster management agency says 71 people died – the number of dead was initially put at 75, but it turned out four passengers did not make the flight.

Who was on board?

The British Aerospace 146 short-haul plane, operated by Bolivian-based charter airline Lamia, was carrying 77 people.

Chapecoense were due to play in the final of the Copa Sudamericana, against Medellin team Atletico Nacional.

Media captionFootage shows the devastation following the crash near Medellin in Colombia

Three of the survivors are footballers: defenders Alan Ruschel and Helio Zemper, as well as reserve goalkeeper Jakson Follman. Their injuries vary in their severity.

Doctors at the San Vicente Foundation Hospital said Ruschel had suffered spinal injuries and Zemper had injuries to his skull and chest.

Follman had undergone surgery to have his right leg amputated and was said to be in a stable condition.

The club”s main goalkeeper, Marcos Padilha aka Danilo, was pulled alive from the wreckage but later died.

Two crew members and a journalist also survived, according to Colombia”s disaster management agency UNGRD.

Colombian aviation officials said there were 21 journalists on board, six of them from the Fox Sports Brasil channel and others from the Globo network.

Who are Chapecoense?

Image caption
The Chapecoense players celebrate after beating Argentina”s San Lorenzo – the Pope”s team

Chapecoense are a small team from Chapeco, a southern city famous for its meat-packing and an area not commonly associated with the big clubs of the Copa Sudamericana, South America”s equivalent to the Europa League.

The team, founded in 1973, has been performing well this year, sitting in the middle of the table of the national championship.

Chapecoense were promoted to Brazil”s top division, Serie A, for the first time in the club”s history in 2014.

It is quite an achievement for a small club with one of the most limited budgets of any team in the first division. The club also has no well-known star player.

Last week they were seen rejoicing after beating Argentina”s Club Atletico San Lorenzo de Almagro, a popular team whose supporters include Pope Francis.

Why did the flight have a stopover?

Lamia, originally a Venezuelan operator but now based in Bolivia, requested permission from the National Civil Aviation Agency (Anac) to transport the Chapecoense team on a charter flight from Brazil to Colombia.

Anac denied the request, based on the Brazilian Aeronautics Code (CBAer), which deals with air service agreements between countries, stating that the agreement with Lamia did not cover the service.

The team then took a commercial flight from Sao Paulo in Brazil to Santa Cruz de la Sierra in Bolivia, before boarding the Lamia Flight 2933 bound for Medellin.

What type of plane was it?

Image caption
The BA 146 is used by carriers to service small airports (stock image)

The aircraft was a British Aerospace 146 short-haul plane, often used by carriers to service small city-based airports.

The four-engine plane was first used in 1999 and belonged to two other airlines before being sold to Lamia.

Moments before the crash, an electrical fault was recorded with the control tower at Medellin airport, according to a Colombian airport press release.

This is not the first recorded incident involving a British Aerospace 146 aircraft: