A chartered aircraft with 81 people on board, including a Brazilian first division soccer team heading to Colombia for a regional tournament final, has crashed on its way to Medellin’s international airport.
Aviation authorities said the British Aerospace 146 short-haul plane, operated by a Bolivian charter airline named Lamia, declared an emergency at 10 pm Monday (0300 GMT) due to an electrical failure.
Aviation authorities earlier said there were at least six survivors. However Colombian police later reported 76 had died and five survived.
“It’s a tragedy of huge proportions,” Medellin Mayor Federico Gutierrez told Blu Radio on his way to the site in a mountainous area outside the city where aircraft crashed.
Jose Gerardo Acevedo, regional police commander, has confirmed the death toll and the number of survivors.
“Six people were rescued alive, but unfortunately one died. The rest of the occupants unfortunately died. The tragic toll is 76 victims,” he told reporters.
Officials told local media that bodies would be removed once the sun rose, according to Reuters.
Brazilian news organizations reported 21 journalists had been on board.
Brazilian TV channels Globonews and SporTV identified the surviving players as defender Alan Ruschel, goalkeeper Danilo and reserve goalkeeper Jakson Follmann. It was not immediately possible to confirm survivors’ identities.
According to Airliners.net, the Avro RJ85 is among three models by the manufacturer — along with the RJ70 and RJ100 — which vary in length of fuselage. Production of the RJ series ceased in 2002 with a total of 170 planes built.
The RJ85 can hold up to 112 people at six abreast, but the more typical seating configuration was for 85 passengers at five across.
Its maximum operating speed is Mach 0.73, with a cruising speed of 474 mph.
It has a wing span of 86 feet, a height of 28 feet and 3 inches and a length of 93 feet and 10 inches.