By Patrick Barron,
Sports Business Writer
It was supposed to be a celebration, a Brazilian soccer had to chance to become the ultimate winners in their region: a shot of winning the Copa Sudamerica, an international competition for South American soccer. Instead, one team’s upcoming success turned into a national tragedy. On November, 28, 2016, members of the Chapecoense soccer team were involved in a plane crash hitting the mountains of Medellín, Colombia.
Among the 77 people aboard, only six people survived as aviation officials presume that the others are dead. The survivors consist of: three players, two crew members, and a journalist that followed the team. And even the survivors suffered injuries as they were rushed into urgent care. For instance, surviving soccer player Alan Ruschel went to a hospital in La Ceja, Colombia to receive treatment for his injuries from the crash.
What is the cause of the crash? Immediately, authorities say that the reason of the plane crash can be concluded because of the plane’s electrical failure and lack of fuel. It is important to note that before the crash, the plane made an emergency call.
Amid the country’s political and soccer scandals, there were glimmers of hope for the country moving forward. The Chapecoense soccer team’s success this year was one of them. One of the feel-good stories coming from Brazil, alongside the country’s success as the host of the 2016 Summer Olympics, the team caught the attention of the nation. Many years ago, Chapecoense did not reach this level of success, as the team struggled in the standings. It was last year that the team played in the Copa Sudamericana tournament for the first time. The country and fans of the game worldwide are shocked of the news of the crash.
While some rescue workers recalled pleas of help, the scene of the crash was not easy to look at. Recalling his account of searching for survivors in the aftermath, Camilo Tobón, one of those workers said, “The first thing I saw was the tail of the plane completely shattered. There was baggage everywhere.”
Later that week, on Saturday fans paid tribute to the players at the team’s stadium as burials were underway. According to ESPN, the South American Football Confederation will later name the team as the 2016 Copa Sudamericana champions. Leagues around the world have paid tribute to the fallen members, as there was a moment of silence in Spain’s El Clásico between Barcelona and Real Madrid, among numerous other matches.
Furthermore, the plane crash has caused players in the Brazilian soccer league to not want to play. As a result, the Brazilian Football Confederation mulled whether matches would resume, and soccer officials had a seven-day mourning period.
It is a sad day to be not only a soccer fan in Brazil, but worldwide. Arguably, the world’s most popular sport is known to have very devoted fans. Fans of the Chapeconesne soccer team are mourning the loss of those in the crash. The future of the team is unknown, but now is not the time for further questions. The entire soccer world is devastated from this tragedy. Let them all have this time to heal from this tragic event.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, December 13th print edition.
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