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Thousands attend memorial for Chapecoense football team


Brazil

Thousands attend memorial for Chapecoense football team

A huge memorial service has been held for the victims of the deadly plane crash which wiped out a Brazilian football team.

Braving heavy rain, tens of thousands of mourners – close to half the population of the city of Chapeco – filled Chapecoense’s stadium in southern Brazil as the bodies of 50 victims were brought into the Condá arena.

In all, seventy-one people died in the LaMia Airlines flight on Monday when it crashed outside Medellin in Colombia.

Only six people survived, including three members of the team.

Brazilian President Michel Temer was among the thousands of mourners to honour the dead, posthumously decorating victims and offering condolences to their families.

The disaster has rocked Chapeco city and more widely Brazil to its core. After a dream season, Chapecoense Real were set to play the biggest match in their history.

Karin Bruxel is a psychologist who has been helping friends and relatives deal with the loss:“The moment of farewell is the moment the person concretely realises their loss, because the person can see they have actually lost their loved one. So they need time. This takes time, like healing a wound, one does not heal from one day to next.”

The cause of the accident is still not known, though it is widely believed the plane ran out of fuel after a recording emerged of the pilot requesting urgent permission to land shortly before the aircraft smashed into a hillside not far from Medellin.

The Bolivian Civil Aviation Authority said it had indefinitely suspended the operating license for LaMia airlines following the deadly crash.

After a dream season, Chapecoense Real were within touching distance of the pinnacle of Latin American football, set to play the biggest match in their history before disaster struck.

The three surviving members of the team are stable and conscious but remain in hospital in Colombia.