Soccer Team Survivor Posted Selfie Moments Before Fatal Plane Crash Killed 75
Brazilian football player Alan Ruschel posted an Instagram story from inside the plane that crashed into a Colombian hillside on Monday night
Brazilian football player Alan Ruschel posted an Instagram story from inside the plane that crashed into a Colombian hillside on Monday night — shortly before the horrific incident killed 75 people on board.
Ruschel, a defender on the Chapecoense soccer team, was with his teammates, smiling and taking selfies, as they headed to Colombia to play in the Copa Sudamericana finals against Atletico Nacional on Wednesday.
But then, the unimaginable happened.
The charter aircraft crashed into a mountainous area in the Antioquian municipality near the José María Córdova International Airport in MedellÍn, where the team was set to arrive.
The 27-year-old, who sustained spinal cord injuries, was one of six people to survive the crash, according to ABC News. The remaining 75 passengers and crew have all been confirmed dead.
Teammate Danilo Padilha, who is shown sitting next to Ruschel in the Instagram post, initially survived the crash, but later died at a nearby hospital. The goalkeeper was 31.
According to a Facebook post, the team will give an official statement about the crash once the Colombian aviation authorities release an announcement. But the Chapecoense club has updated their crest, changing the traditional green color to black to mark the tragedy.
The entire football community has also come together in support during the time of incredible tragedy.
“The Brazilian football family is in mourning. This is a tragedy. I send my condolences to the to the families of the dead. Rest in peace,” tweeted Brazil soccer legend Pelé.
FC Barcelona’s Neymar Jr. also took to social media to offer his condolences, with a photo captioned #ForcaChape.
The club, from the small city of Chapecó, was in the middle of an incredible season — having already defeated two of Argentina’s most prestigious teams, San Lorenzo and Independiente.
“What was supposed to be a celebration has turned into a tragedy,” Medellin Mayor Federico Gutiérrez said from the search and rescue command center, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“This is unbelievable, I am walking on the grass of the stadium and I feel like I am floating,” team spokesman Andrei Copetti told the AP. “No one understands how a story that was so amazing could suffer such a devastating reversal. For many people here reality has still not struck.”
The country of Brazil has officially declared three days of national mourning following the tragedy.