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Tragedy in South America: Chapecoense charter flight crashes; 75 killed

Chapecoense were flying to Colombia for the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana.

A major tragedy this morning as a charter plane carrying members of the Brazilian club Chapecoense has crashed in the Colombian mountains. According to current reports, 81 people were on board, including 22 journalists as well as coaches and players; only six survived, including three players—Alan Luciano Ruschel, Jackson Ragnar Follmann, and Marcos Danilo Padilha. It’s been reported Danilo later passed away in hospital.

The club, currently ninth in Brazil’s Serie A, were traveling to Medellin to take on Atletico National in the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana final. A bit like Villarreal, Chapecoense is a club who have risen from humble beginnings to compete in Brazil’s first level, they knocked off San Lorenzo in the semis to get to the final, and were hoping for a fairytale ending.

Alejandro Martinuccio, who played for Villarreal in the latter half of the 2011-12 season, is a Chapecoense player but was not on the flight. His career over the last few years has been marred by injuries, and he wasn’t part of the traveling party due to exactly that—he was left at home to rehab another injury.

Cleber Santana, former Mallorca and Atletico Madrid player, was among those killed in the crash.

All at Villarreal USA express our sympathy and sadness. Rest in peace.