Brazilian soccer team killed in plane crash

By: Regina Wright ~Campus News Editor~

Photo courtesy of | Members of the Brazilian Army carried the coffins of Chapecoense’s soccer team on Dec. 3. through the team’s stadium in Chapeco, Brazil, as fans mourned the loss.

Fans of the Brazilian soccer team Chapecoense were shocked Nov. 28 when news broke that the flight carrying the team and guests crashed near Medellin, Colombia.

The 71 victims included players, coaches and journalists. Six travelers- three players, two coaches and one journalist – survived the crash.

Flight LMI2933 took off from Bolivia’s Viru Viru International Airport around 6 p.m. and declared an emergency near the Columbian municipalities of La Ceja and La Union.

The team was traveling from Santa Cruz, Bolivia, to Medellin, Columbia, to play in the first leg of the South American Cup finals against Columbian club team Atletico Nacional.

The team has a devoted local fan base, who mourned the loss of its team on Tuesday morning by gathering at Arena Conda in Chapeco, Brazil. A vigil was held in Medellin, Colmbia, at the Atansio Giradot Statium, where Chapecoense soccer team would play.

“Tomorrow in a symbol of solidarity, we will head to the stadium at 6:45 p.m. wearing white and with candles for the victims,” Medellin mayor Aníbal Gaviria Correa said in a Twitter post.

The reasons for the plane’s crash are still unknown. During the flight satellite images showed scattered showers and thunderstorms that may have caused severe turbulence for the plane. Emergency services responding to the crash could only access the site by land because of the storms.

Data from the plane’s black boxes was found in “perfect condition” according to a Columbian’s civil aviation announcement on Twitter. In addition, a lack of fire indicated in the damage, points to fuel starvation as a contributing factor to the crash.

A seven-person delegation of doctors and legal experts are being sent to Colombia to investigate the crash by Chapecoense.

“It’s really sad this unfortunate event happened, but I’m really glad to see the support the soccer team community has shown,” said senior Thomas Minbiole, a manager of Xavier’s women soccer team. “Rallying around the team during a time when support is needed is the ultimate sign of sportsmanship.”

Tiago da Rocha Viera, a forward for the Chapescoense team, had recently found out he would become a father. The 22-year-old was filmed by his family members a week before the crash reading a note that he and his wife would be having a baby boy.

“This has been a huge loss to the soccer community and has really shown how fragile life is,” Sean Griffin, junior human resources major said. “The Brazilian team is world-renowned, and this will definitely go down alongside the Munich air disaster and the Superga air disaster as one of the worst tragedies in soccer history. I am confident that Brazil and the soccer community as a whole will continue to rally together and support each other during this difficult time.”

After the crash, Chapecoense was named the winner of the South American Cup.