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December, 6, 2016

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Football mourns Brazilian players killed in air crash, lack of fuel suspected

La Unión, Colombia- A plane that crashed in the mountains of Colombia, killing 71 people, including members of a Brazilian football team, may have run out of fuel, a Colombian military source told AFP.

"It is very suspicious that despite the impact there was no explosion. That reinforces the theory of the lack of fuel," the source said Tuesday.

Six people miraculously survived the crash Monday night, but the disaster virtually wiped out an up-and-coming Brazilian football team and sent shock waves through the world of football.

Football legends Pele and Maradona as well as current superstars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo led tributes to the players of Chapecoense Real, a humble team whose march to glory was cut abruptly short.

Having risen only recently from obscurity, the team was on its way to play in the finals of the Copa Sudamericana, South America's second-biggest club tournament, when disaster struck.

"The pain is terrible. Just as we had made it, I will not say to the top, but to have national prominence, a tragedy like this happens," club vice-president Ivan Tozzo told Globo SporTV.

"It is very difficult, a very great tragedy."

The charter plane reported "electrical failures" around 10:00 pm Monday (0300 GMT Tuesday) and crashed soon after near the city of Medellin, its destination, officials said.

The plane's black box recorders have been found, but there was no word on how long it would take to analyze them.

The dead included most of the team and 20 Brazilian journalists traveling to cover the match.

The six survivors are being treated in hospital, officials said.

"I have just seen the plane and given the state it is in, it is a miracle that six people survived," said Governor Luis Perez of Antioquia department, where the plane went down.

One survivor, goalkeeper Jackson Follmann, had to have his right leg amputated, said the San Vicente Foundation Hospital outside Medellin.

It reported he was "stabilizing" in intensive care.

Spared By Chance

Colombia's civil aviation authority initially said 75 people were killed. But it later emerged that four people on the passenger manifest had not boarded the plane -- a club official, a journalist, the mayor of the team's hometown and the speaker of the state assembly.

"It's one of those things in life. Only God knows why I ended up staying behind," said Luciano Buligon, the mayor of Chapeco in southern Brazil.

Crying, Plinio Filho, the head of the club's advisory council, recalled the players telling him they were off to "chase a dream" as they left.

"The group was like a family. It was a group of friends, where everyone laughed a lot, even in defeat," he said.

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