CHAPECO, Brazil (Reuters) – The Brazilian town of Chapeco, its buildings draped in the green colors of its devastated soccer club, prepared on Saturday to receive the bodies of victims of an air disaster in Colombia that killed 71 people and wiped out the team.
The crash on Monday night shocked soccer fans the world over and plunged Brazil, South America’s biggest nation, into mourning. The BAe146 regional airliner operated by Bolivian charter company LAMIA had radioed that it was running out of fuel before smashing into a hillside outside the Colombian city of Medellin.
Only six people survived, including just three members of the soccer side Chapecoense en route to the Copa Sudamericana final, the biggest game in its history.
Reports in Brazilian media that the plane, which circled outside Medellin for 16 minutes while another aircraft made an emergency landing, had barely enough fuel for the flight from Bolivia have outraged relatives of the victims.
Bolivian President Evo Morales pledged to take “drastic measures” to determine what caused the crash. Bolivia has suspended LAMIA’s operating license and replaced the national aviation authority’s management.
In Chapeco, a small agricultural town in southern Brazil, dozens of fans kept vigil at Chapecoense’s stadium, where an impromptu shrine swelled with fresh flowers and handmade posters. Green and black cloth was draped from fences, store fronts and construction sites.
Sidnei de Oliveira Dias, a 25-year-old fan, said an open air wake due to…