An aircraft with 81 people aboard, including a Brazilian football team, crashed in central Colombia. Rescuers are moving survivors from the site, the country's civil aviation association said on Tuesday. The accident happened in an area called Cerro El Gordo near Medellin, the department said.
The mayor of La Ceja, a nearby town, said on local radio, citing firefighters, that at least 25 people had been killed and around 10 survivors had been rescued after the crash late on Monday. The extent of their injuries remains unclear.
Colombia Civil Aviation Authority reportedly said (in Spanish) the aircraft declared an emergency because it was low on fuel. Following which it was given priority for landing. But, the plane did not make it.
'It's a tragedy of huge proportions.' Medellin's Mayor Federico Gutierrez Gutierrez said. He was on his way to the site in a mountainous area outside the city where aircraft crashed.
'We have the necessary team coming from Medellin – ambulances and medical staff. The important thing here is to understand that there are survivors and we are saving lives. 'We are doing all we can in this very regrettable and sad situation.' The South American football federation has suspended all games and other activities.
Aviation authorities said the aircraft, a British Aerospace 146 short-haul plane operated by a Bolivian charter airline named Lamia, declared an emergency at 10:00pm (local time) on Monday, due to an electrical failure.
"Tonight it was reported that a plane coming from Viru Viru airport in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, which should have landed at Jose Maria Cordova, airport had gone off course." Colombian rescue official Mauricio Parodi said. Authorities and rescuers were immediately activated. But an air force helicopter had to turn back due to low visibility. Poor weather conditions made the crash site only accessible only by road.
The team, from the small city of Chapeco, joined Brazil's first division only in 2014. It was the first time since the 1970s. They made it to the Copa Sudamericana finals last week by defeating Argentina's legendary San Lorenzo squad.