In a devastating turn of events, a short-haul plane carrying 77 passengers, including the entire Chapecoense football team, crashed into a mountain on Monday evening. Of the passengers, 71 have been confirmed dead, with the remaining 6 in critical conditions.
The Bolivian airline-owned British Aerospace 146 had departed from Santa Cruz, Bolivia on Monday. While en route to Medellin Airport in Columbia, the aircraft declared a state of emergency and lost radio contact right before 10 in the evening.
The last pilot distress call stated that the plane was experiencing electrical failures, which is believed to be the main cause of the crash. The aircraft and its 77 passengers were lost above the mountains near Medellin, about five minutes away from the intended landing zone.
The flight contained 68 passengers and 9 crew members. According to the New York Times, a majority of the plane's passengers were composed of Chapecoense players, team organizers, and journalists.
The famous football team was flying to Columbia to play in the finals of the Copa Sudamericana, an international South American international soccer competition. It would have been the first time for the small-town team to compete in an international championship match.
The devastating crash was accompanied by heavy rainfall and harsh weather conditions, thus making rescue efforts more difficult. Among the 77 passengers, only 7 survivors were pulled out of the wreckage. However, despite surviving the initial crash, Chapecoense goalkeeper, Marcos Danilo, died a few moments after rescue.
Other survivors included Chapecoense defender, Alan Ruschel, and goalkeeper, Jackson Follman. Other survivors included a member of the team's crew, a Bolivian stewardess, and a journalist for a Brazilian publication.
According to BBC, flight information initially showed 81 passengers were meant to be on the Bolivian flight. However, it was later found that 4 passengers had failed to board that night.
The cause of the crash is still under investigation. With the black box recovered, authorities are currently studying the flight information in hopes of determining the cause of the plane's malfunction. However, early reports indicate that the plane may have experienced malfunction due to a lack of fuel.