Officials say six survivors have been rescued from the wreckage of a chartered plane carrying 81 people, including the squad of a top Brazilian football team, which crashed outside the Colombian city of Medellin.

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The crash occurred amid poor weather conditions as the plane was on its way to the city's international airport, and the country's civil aviation authority said ambulances and emergency workers had arrived at the scene.

Local authorities said there appeared to be survivors, and confirmed the plane was a chartered flight carrying the team of Chapecoense Real for the final of a regional tournament.

The British Aerospace 146 short-haul plane, operated by a charter airline named LaMia, declared an emergency at 10pm Monday (0300 GMT) because of an electrical failure. 

"It's a tragedy of huge proportions," Medellin Mayor Federico Gutierrez told Blu Radio on his way to the site in a mountainous area outside the city where aircraft crashed. 

The aircraft, which made a stop in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, was transporting the first division Chapecoense soccer team from southern Brazil. The team was scheduled to play Wednesday in the first of a two-game Copa Sudamericana final against Atletico Nacional of Medellin. 

"May God accompany our athletes, officials, journalists and other guests traveling with our delegation," the club said in a brief statement on its Facebook page. 

South America's soccer federation extended its condolences to the entire Chapecoense community and said its president, Luis Dominguez, was on his way to Medellin. All soccer activities were suspended until further notice, the organisation said in a statement.