International desk – Seventy-six people are confirmed dead after a plane carrying 81 people on board, including members of a Brazilian football team, crash outside Medellin of Colombia.
Only five passengers survived and are being treated at hospital in Colombia.
The charter plane carrying 72 passengers — including players from Brazilian soccer team Chapecoense — crashed near Rionegro, Colombia, according to the country’s civil aviation department.
Nine crew members were also on board.
The plane declared an emergency between the municipalities of La Ceja and La Union, according to a statement from Colombian aviation officials.
The crash occurred in an area called Cerro El Gordo near Medellin, American broadcaster CNN reported quoting officials.
The civil aviation agency had initially announced that six passengers — three players, two crew members, and one journalist — survived the crash.
Later the officials said that one of those survivors died on the way to the hospital.
At least two soccer players and one crew member survived, authorities said. Chapecoense players Alan Luciano Ruschel and Jackson Ragnar Follmann survived, as did crew member Ximena Suarez.
Officials did not immediately release the names of the other two survivors.
“Thank you my god,” Alissen Ruschel, Alan’s wife, wrote in an Instagram post after the crash. “…God bless and give all family members strength.”
The plane took off from Bolivia’s Viru Viru airport at 6:18 p.m. local time, according to air controller Manuel Palamas.
Officials didn’t specify what happened to the plane but did say that the wounded were being transported to medical centers.
But images of the incident show what appear to be damaged parts of the plane. Tattered debris emblazoned with the club’s logo was also photographed at the crash site.
The mayor of nearby Medellin said on Twitter that he is on his way to the accident site.
“The important thing here seeing that there might be survivors, it’s saving lives. That’s first and foremost,” Mayor Federico Gutierrez said.
“We’re here supporting them on this very very sad story. They have our solidarity, so do their families, their friends, their countries. ”
Satellite images show that scattered showers and thunderstorms have moved across the region over the last 12 hours — though no big storms nearby, according to CNN meteorologist Michael Guy.
There likely would have been turbulence in the region due to intermittent thunderstorms and winds from around the mountains in the region, Guy says.
A statement from nearby Jose Maria Cordova airport says the accident site can only be accessed by land because of weather conditions.
The Colombian Air Force had to abort a mission to the accident site due to inclement weather, according to Colombian officials.