Chapecoense player who cheated death in plane crash 'swapped seats at last minute'

'Only God can explain why I survived the accident. He grabbed me and gave me a second chance'

Will Worley
Sunday 18 December 2016 14:59
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Alan Ruschel arrives home in Brazil
Alan Ruschel arrives home in Brazil

One of the few survivors of the plane crash which killed most of the Chapecoense football team has revealed he reluctantly swapped seats at the last minute.

Alan Ruschel, 27, was one of just six survivors on the flight in which 71 people were killed after the plane crashed into a mountain near Medellin, Colombia on 28 November.

The full-back was sitting near the back of the plane when he was asked by club director Cadu Gaucho to move seats to allow a group of journalists to sit together.

“I didn't want to [move seats] but then I saw (Jackson) Follman and he insisted that I sit beside him,” Mr Ruschel told reporters at his first news conference since the crash.

“Only God can explain why I survived the accident. He grabbed me and gave me a second chance.”

Mr Ruschel suffered a back injury in the crash but expressed his hopes of playing football again. Mr Folman also survived but had part of his leg amputated.

“I don't remember anything about the accident,” Mr Ruschel continued. “When they told me what happened it seemed like a dream, a nightmare. Little by little they've been telling me what happened and I'm starting to understand.”

He said he avoids the news and tries not to speak about the event.

However, Mr Ruschel said he wanted to visit the families of the other players who died in the crash and to treat his Colombian doctors to a barbeque to thank them.

Brazilian plane crash survivor starts walking again

“As a lesson, this tragedy teaches that you have to keep living,” Mr Ruschel continued. “Take advantage of some things and do good for others.

“When I got here today I had the sensation that I was coming home. I promise to give lots more happiness to this team. With a lot of effort and hard work I am going to be back playing again soon.”

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