Colombia plane crash: 76 dead after crash involving Brazilian football team, police chief says

Six of the 81 on board were pulled out alive - but one later died in hospital

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The Independent US

Police in Colombia say 76 of the 81 people on board a plane which crashed outside the city of Medellin have died.

Speaking to a local radio station Caracol, Medellin police chief José Acevedo said six people had been pulled alive from the wreckage, but that one had died in hospital.

The other 75 are believed to have died at the crash site. The rescue effort was suspended at around 3am local time due to heavy rain, at which point 25 bodies had been recovered.

Follow the latest updates on the Colombia plane crash here live

The plane was carrying a large delegation including first team players from top-flight Brazilian football team Chapecoense Real.

Three players were among the six initially rescued, along with two crew members and a journalist. It is not yet known which of the six later died in hospital.

Chapecoense Real had chartered the British Aerospace 146 short-haul airliner to take them from Bolivia to Medellin where, on Wednesday, they were due to play the first leg of the Copa Sudamerica finals against Atletico Nacional.

The club had been enjoying a fairy-tale season, advancing to the last hurdle of what is considered South America's equivalent of the Uefa Europa League, just a year after achieving promotion to Brazil's top league for the first time in the club's history.

The plane was just five minutes out from Medellin when its pilots issued a distress signal to control tower, citing an electrical failure.

It crashed in a mountainous area between La Ceja and La Unión which has been hit by bad weather and heavy rains in recent days, hampering the rescue effort.

A rescue helicopter which was dispatched in the wake of the distress signal was forced to turn back due to poor visibility, and those who made it to hospital were taken by ambulance.

Unconfirmed reports have named two players, the Chapecoense players Alan Ruschel and Danilo as among those pulled alive from the wreckage.

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