Heartbreaking stories are emerging from the Colombia plane crash that killed 76 people including all but two members of the Brazil football team, Chapecoense.
The plane was travelling from southern Brazil to the biggest game in the club’s history – Wednesday’s first leg of the Copa Sudamericana final – when the chartered plane went down in a mountainous rural area outside the city of Medellín, Colombia.
The flight was operated by a small airline, LaMia.
In heartbreaking news that has emerged, the Brazilian goalie known just as Danilo to his adoring fans who was critically injured in the Colombian plane crash, used his final moments to make a final phone call to his wife to say goodbye.
In the minutes before he died, Marcos Danilo spoke to his wife from a hospital bed in Medellin, Colombia.
The 31-year-old devoted husband, and father-of-one was just one of few survivors pulled from the wreckage of the doomed charter plane, which was transporting his soccer team to a big game in Medellin.
Dozens of rescuers working through the night pulled seven passengers alive from the wreckage, including three members of the team, Chapecoense defender Alan Ruschel and two goalkeepers, Marcos Danilo and Jackson Follmann.
As they rushed the survivors to hospital the thoughts of the men were only with their families.
Alan Ruschel, asking for his wedding ring to be looked after and Marcos Danilo – a national hero in Brazil – asking to speak to his wife on the phone.
Just moments before the crash Danilo and Ruschel, who sat together had posted a video on Snapchat of the excited plane, nearing its destination.
Brazilian media report that tragically Danilo died in hospital, but first he managed to speak to his wife, who weeks earlier he had posted a dedication on Instagram calling her “my love.”
O amor não pode ser descrito, não tem limites, não pode ser forçado o amor apenas acontece.. O amor não exerce poder sobre ninguém apenas completa alguém.. O amor é poderoso ele transforma o rosto, a alma, a vida de quem ama; ele trás consigo alegria, paz o carinho e a paciência.. O amor torna tudo possível quando se ama.. O amor é feito de momentos, compreensão, atos e demonstrações.. O amor faz ver o mundo com os olhos de criança.. Amar exige coragem, sim coragem! Coragem pra assumir, pedir perdão, arriscar, pra deixar várias coisas de lado e coragem pra dizer ao mundo o quanto se ama❤ Que o amor de vocês seja sempre assim, repleto de sorrisos, de paixão no olhar um amor que é lindo de se ver!???? Eu amo muito vocês!
His death brings the death toll to 76, leaving only six survivors.
A video on the team’s Facebook page shows them preparing for their much anticipated match.
The team, from the small city of Chapeco, was in the middle of what had been called a “fairy tale season.”
For the first time since the 1970s it had made it last week to the Copa Sudamericana finals – the equivalent of the UEFA Europa League tournament – after defeating Argentina’s San Lorenzo.
Greats of the game have used social media to express their sorrow at the tragedy.
Brazilian soccer legend Pele wrote: “Brazilian football is in mourning.”
Barcelona and Argentina striker Lionel Messi said in a Facebook post, “Sad day for football. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Chapecoense players and others who died. RIP.”
Brazil striker Neymar tweeted the Chapecoense badge.
While the Socceroos tweeted:
British soccer great David Beckham wrote on Instagram:
“My heart and love goes out this morning to all the families and friends that have lost loved ones on this terrible tragedy.”
Plinio David de Nes Filho, a club director, told Globo TV the whole town was devastated.
“This wasn’t just a group where everyone respected each other, it was a family. Before they got on the plane they said they were going to make this dream come true. And this morning the dream ended.”