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Tue 29 Nov 2016 11:18 AM

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Plane crashes in Colombia with 81 onboard, including Brazil footballers

Chapecoense football team was among the 72 passengers and 9 crew on board the charter aircraft it crashed

Plane crashes in Colombia with 81 onboard, including Brazil footballers
Brazils Chapecoense footballers celebrate after defeating Argentinas San Lorenzo during their 2016 Copa Sudamericana their 2016 Copa Sudamericana semifinal second leg football match held at Arena Conda stadium, in Chapeco, Brazil, on November 23, 2016. (Photo: NELSON ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty Images)

An aircraft with 81 people aboard,
including a Brazilian football team, crashed in central Colombia, and rescuers
are moving survivors from the site, the country's civil aviation association
said on Tuesday.

The Chapecoense football team was among the 72 passengers
and 9 crew on board the charter aircraft when it crashed around 10:15 p.m. on
Monday. It was not immediately clear how many survived, however.

"Tonight it was reported that a plane coming from Viru
Viru airport in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, which should have landed at Jose Maria
Cordova, airport had gone off course," a Colombian rescue official, Mauricio
Parodi, told reporters.

Rescue teams, from firefighters to disaster management
officials, have been pressed into the search for survivors, added Parodi, the
director of disaster management for the province of Antioquia.

Poor weather conditions made the crash site accessible only
by road, airport authorities at Medellin, where the plane was scheduled to land,
said on social network Twitter.

They confirmed the plane was carrying the soccer team, who
had been due to face Atletico Nacional of Medellin in the first leg of
Wednesday’s Sudamericana final, South America’s equivalent of the Europa League.

It was the first time the small club from Chapeco had ever
reached the final of a major South American club competition but they were
underdogs against a club going for a rare double after winning the Copa
Libertadores in July.

Chapecoense were the 21st biggest club in Brazil in terms of
revenue, bringing in 46 million reais ($13.5 million) in 2015, according to an
annual rich list compiled by Brazilian bank Itau BBA.

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