An official confirmed that 75 people on board a plane carrying 81 died after the aircraft crashed in Colombia on Tuesday, reported AFP. Twenty-five bodies have been recovered from the crash site, while six passengers have been rescued so far, the news agency added.
Colombian authorities said the crash took place in the municipality of La Union, according to local news organisation Mi Oriente. Brazilian football team Chapecoense was on board the flight.
Mayor Federico Gutierrez called it “a tragedy of huge proportions”. The Colombian Air Force had sent helicopters to the spot, and the Red Cross, fire department, local police and other rescue workers were deployed at the site. Bad weather has also hampered rescue operations. Air traffic controllers had given the flight priority to land, but officials said it could not make it to the airport, The Guardian reported.
Local channels said the plane lost contact with ground staff while flying over North-West Colombia, CNN reported. The flight had reported an electrical failure before disappearing. It has been identified as a chartered flight, RJ85 CP-2933, part of Lamia airline. Early reports suggest that the aircraft ran out of fuel and crashed at 10:15pm local time. It had taken off from Viru Viru International Airport in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia and was on its way to Medellin airport.
The Chapecoense team, part of Brazil’s first division, was heading to Medellin to play the Copa Sudamerica finals against Atletico Nacional, AP reported. The tournament has been suspended since news of the crash surfaced.