The entire country of Brazil is devastated, as the plane carrying the Chapecoense soccer team crashed on Nov. 28, leaving 76 people dead. None are more heartbroken than the players that weren’t on the flight, as a photo of the athletes captured their utter shock over this tragedy.
“Chapecoense Players who did not travel [with the team,] shocked in the locker room,” tweeted a Twitter user, shortly after the news of the tragedy broke. “Very hard [to look at] image.” No kidding. The pain on their faces is undeniable, as they – along with the rest of Brazil – try to make sense of what happened to their friends and teammates.
They’re not alone in their grief, as the entire soccer world is in mourning as authorities try to unravel what happened. The deadly crash happened outside of Medellin, Colombia, sometime around midnight, local time, per The Guardian. The plane was given permission to land but lost contact with ground controllers. Heavy rain and intense weather conditions — likely the cause of the crash, if not major contributors — hampered rescue efforts. Overall, 76 people died, including 21 journalists.
At least five people, including players Alan Ruschel, 27, and Jackson Follman, survived. Zampier Neto may have also survived, but at the moment, his fate is unconfirmed. Goalkeeper Danillo, 31, initially made it out of the wreckage alive, but he sadly perished from his injuries, according to reports.
This was not supposed to be the end of Chapecoense de Brasil’s run. The soccer club was on their way to play Colombia’s Atletico Nacional in the finals of the Copa Sudamericana tournament. The team was the first club from the Santa Catarina region of Brazil to reach the final of an international competition, and their success had captivated the hearts of millions of their countrymen.
“Chapecoense was one of the most lovely fairy tales,” Martin Mazur, an Argentinian sports journalist, told CNN. “Unlike what happens with the big Brazilian clubs, Chapecoense’s humble story and its magnificent run in the Copa Sudamericana was naturally embraced by Brazilian football fans in general, becoming a fans’ favorite. It was South America’s Cinderella — nobody could have predicted this macabre ending.”
Our thoughts continue to go out to the family, friends and fans of the Chapecoense team during this terrible tragedy.