A plane full of young, athletic soccer players, crew members and a few journalists crashed in the mountains near MedellÍn, Colombia, as the team was on their way to the Final of the Copa Sudamericana, a South American soccer tournament.
The team had an extraordinary season and had a great impact on their small, industrial town where they were faced with economic despair and government corruption. This soccer team, the Chapecoense, was making waves in their club history and were finally able to play for the gold on the biggest stage of soccer at their level. However, their story ended with a most horrific and unexpected outcome.
While flying, the pilot made an emergency call about an electrical failure, but moments later the plane violently crashed into the mountains with 77 people aboard. Only six people survived. Among them were three players, two crew members, and one journalist. Everyone else on the plane was declared dead. The crash left the plane in pieces and completely crushed, luggage and bodies scattered.
Juca Kfouri, one of Brazil’s most eminent soccer columnists, declared, “I’ve never seen or felt anything like this in 46 years of journalism.”
Those that were alive called out for help, but as for the rest, there were no wounded, only the dead.The tournament was suspended by soccer officials. However, in great grace and respect, the Colombian team that was expected to play Chapecoense, Atlético Nacional, requested that the trophy be awarded to the Brazilian team, as a “posthumous homage to the victims.”