Brazilian goalkeeper who was pulled alive from Colombia air crash wreckage that killed 76 - including his fellow soccer teammates -made heartbreaking last call to his wife moments before he died
A Brazilian footballer pulled from the wreckage of the Colombian air disaster made a heartbreaking last telephone call to his wife moments before he died, it has emerged.
Chapecoense goalkeeper Danilo was one of just seven people initially found alive in the mangled remains of the jet which crashed down on its way from Bolivia to the city of Medellin.
The 31-year-old was rushed for treatment after the crash, which claimed more than 70 lives, and spoke to his wife from his hospital bed - only to die from his injuries a short time later. Weeks earlier he had posted a picture of himself next to his wife who he described as 'my love'.
Separate images show him posing for selfies with fellow footballer Alan Ruschel, 27, during the journey from Brazil with Ruschel, 27, telling fans: 'We're coming Colombia.'
Ruschel was pulled alive from the wreckage along with goalkeeper Jacson Follmann, defender Helio Hermito Zampier Neto and passengers Rafael Correa Gobbato and Ximena Suarez, officials said.
Rescuers have started the grim task of removing bodies from the crash site as it emerged the pilot circled in a desperate attempt to burn off fuel before attempting to land.
The chartered plane, carrying the Brazilian football team, crashed outside Medellin killing 76 and leaving just six survivors - three of them players.
Team members had posed together for a picture in Bolivia ahead of take-off as they were travelling to Colombia for the biggest game in the club's history, the Copa Sudamerica final. But their journey came to a devastating end when the jet smashed into a hill and broke in two in remote mountains at about 10.15pm.
The Avro RJ85 plane, which was carrying nine crew, suffered power failures while flying through the Antioquia Department on its way from Bolivia. The pilot is believed to have circled around before crash landing in a desperate bid to lose fuel and avoid an explosion on impact.
Just 20 days ago, the same plane had transported the Argentinian football team, including megastars Lionel Messi and Angel Di Maria, to Belo Horizonte in Brazil, where they played Brazil in a World Cup qualifier match.
Heartbreaking images have since emerged online showing devastated players who were not travelling with the Chapecoense squad sitting in the club's empty changing room.
There are reports that the team had to change their flight at short notice and board the doomed aircraft after Brazilian aviation authorities prevented them from taking a charter plane.
As officials revealed 25 bodies had already been recovered, rescue teams were forced to suspend their operations amid heavy rain in the mountainous region.
A video published on the Chapecoense Facebook page showed team members readying for their journey earlier on Monday in Sao Paulo's Guarulhos international airport.
The team, from the small city of Chapeco, was in the middle of a fairy tale season. It joined Brazil's first division in 2014 for the first time since the 1970s and made it last week to the Copa Sudamericana finals - the equivalent of the UEFA Europa League tournament - after defeating Argentina's San Lorenzo.
'May God accompany our athletes, officials, journalists and other guests travelling with our delegation' the club said in a brief statement on its Facebook page. The players looked happy and relaxed as they waited for permission to board.
The mayor of La Ceja, a nearby town, said on local radio, citing firefighters, that at least 25 people had been killed in the crash and about five survivors had been rescued - but few official figures were yet available.
Ambulances ferrying survivors to hospital can only get to within 30 minutes walk of the spot where the plane has crashed near the town of La Unión, it has emerged.
Rescuers on foot are having to stretcher survivors through fog which prevents them from seeing more than a few feet in front of them, local radio reported. They are then put into lorries which drive them another 700 metres to the waiting ambulances.
The pilots and cabin crew on board the plane that crashed were all Bolivian while most of the passengers were Brazilian and about 40 were part of the Chapecoense delegation.
They included 20 players, the manager Caio Junior and four other members of his coaching team including an assistant manager, a personal trainer, a kinesiologist and a masseur who is said to be among the survivors.
The club's president and vice-president were also on board along with other club managers. The team were only about five minutes from their destination when they crashed.
Among those believed to have perished on the flight to Medellin are dozens of sports journalists and well-known football commentators making their way to report on Chapecoense's history-making game.
They include a six-strong team from FOX Sports, three reporters from Brazil's main Globo TV channel, among a total of 21 members of the media.
Among the team from FOX, which was broadcasting the game, were famous commentators Devair Pascovicci and Mario Sergio, as well as respected football journalist Victorino Chermont.
It also emerged Anderson Paixao, the trainer of both Chapecoense and the Brazilian national side, is among those not accounted for.
THE AVRO RJ85 PLANE THAT FIRST FLEW IN 1999
The plane that crashed was an Avro RJ85, produced by a company that is now part of UK's BAE Systems (formerly British Aerospace).
Its registration is CP-2933 and records show the plane first flew in March 1999.
From 1999 to 2007, it was owned by Mesaba Aviation in the US before it was transferred. It was then in the hands of CityJet, before being taken over by Bolivian airline LAMIA in October 2013.
In 2014, part of a wing on a RJ85 aircraft became partially detached as it left from London City Airport to Florence. After climbing to 3,000 feet, the aircraft returned to London City and a new plane was readied.
Production of the RJ series ended in 2002 with 170 planes built in total.
The RJ85 can hold up to 112 people, but the more typical seating arrangement was for 85 passengers.
According to data from Flightradar, it had flown around 1848 miles from the Bolivian city of Santa Cruz.
The RJ85's range is around 1842 miles when equipped with standard fuel tanks, according to Airliners.net.
Alfredo Bocanegra, the head of Colombia's civil aviation agency, said communication with Bolivian aviation officials suggested the plane was experiencing electrical problems.
However, he added that investigators would have to look into reported testimony from a female flight attendant who said the plane had run out of fuel.
It has also been revealed the Argentinian national team, which included Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero, used the same aircraft to travel to their World Cup qualifier against Brazil a fortnight ago, which they lost 3-0.
Anderson had first been called up to train Brazil stars such as Neymar and David Luiz last year for the Copa America in Chile.
His colleague, Chapecoense's physio Rafael Gobbato is also believed to be among the dead.
Meanwhile, it has emerged that the new mayor-elect of Chapeco escaped the doomed flight - despite being on the list of those on board. Luciano Bulligon had planned to join his town's team for their crucial match but changed his mind at the last minute, saying his schedule was too full.
And Chapecoence player Alejandro Martinuccio has revealed how an injury is likely to have saved his life.
The Argentine forward wasn't able to play in the scheduled match in Colombia, so he wasn't on the team plane that crashed Monday night in Colombia, killing most of those aboard. He told Argentina's La Red radio that 'I was saved because I got injured.'
'I feel profound sadness,' he said. 'The only thing I can ask is prayers for the companions who were on the flight.'
The 28-year-old has played for Spain's Villarreal, Penarol of Uruguay and Brazilian clubs Coritiba, Ponte Preta, Cruzeiro and Fluminense.
Meanwhile the son of coach Caio Junior who perished in the crash has told how he only didn't board the doomed aircraft after forgetting his passport.
Some of the lorries are getting stuck in mud which is making the rescue more difficult. Witnesses said they have seen five people rescued so far.
Hypothermia is another concern for those who have survived, because it is only five degrees Celsius. Nearby hospitals have been placed on 'maximum alert' and are preparing for injured passengers to be treated.
Video shared on Twitter claimed to have captured the exact moment the hort-haul plane, operated by a charter airline named LaMia, dropped from the radar. Shocking images also show the mangled wreckage of the plane's wing.
Flight tracking service Flightradar24 said on Twitter the last tracking signal from flight 2933 had been received when it was at 15,500 feet, about 19 miles from its destination, which sits at an altitude of 7,000 fee
The Avro RJ85 was produced by a company that is now part of UK's BAE Systems. A civilian aviation database website says that the plane that it made its first flight on March 1999.
Statistics from planespotters.net show that the regional plane has had several owners since.
From 1999 to 2007, it was owned by Mesaba Aviation in the U.S. before it was transferred. The plane has been in the hands of Bolivian airline LAMIA since October 2013.
British Aerospace, which is now known as BAE Systems, says that the first 146 plane took off in 1981 and that just under 400 - including its successor Avro RJ - were built in total in the U.K. through November 2003.
It says around 220 of are still in service in a variety of roles, including aerial firefighting and overnight freight services.
There are reports that the plane was 17 years old and that the team had taken the charter flight out of Bolivia when Brazilian aviation authorities barred the club from chartering a Bolivian plane direct from Sau Paulo
Instead they had to take a commercial flight to Santa Cruz de La Sierra in Bolivia, where they got the plane that crashed, reports in Brazil have claimed.
Hugo Botero Lopez, mayor of La Union, told Colombian newspaper El Tiempo: 'There are firemen from La Union, Rionegro, El Carmen de Vibroal, La Ceja, there are more than 90 lifeguards, but it is not easy to get people who are alive.'
'It's a tragedy of huge proportions,' Medellin's Mayor Federico Gutierrez told Blu Radio on his way to the site in a mountainous area outside the city where the chartered aircraft is believed to have crashed shortly before midnight local time.
HOW CHAPECOENSE WERE DENIED PERMISSION TO FLY DIRECT TO COLOMBIA
Chapecoense had wanted to fly direct from Sao Paulo to Medellin but were barred from doing so because only a Brazilian or Colombian company was allowed to operate the requested route, it has emerged.
The pilot of the doomed flight, Mick Quiroga, asked Luciano Buligon, mayor of the club's city, Chapeco, whether he could intervene to allow the direct route to go ahead rather than having to stop off in Bolivia.
The mayor checked with the National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC) who confirmed that this route had been denied.
Instead, the team took a commercial flight from Sao Paulo to Santa Cruz de la Sierra in Bolivia to pick up the LaMia flight which was being piloted by Quiroga.
In the conversation Quiroga said: 'I have hired a Bolivian air plane to take us from Sao Paulo Guarulhos to Santa Cruz. I'll be waiting here in Santa Cruz. This flight leaves 15:00 local time in São Paulo, but what about the process for the other application to leave from Sao Paulo, because we had approval before to enter through Foz do Iguacu and go to Chapeco (on a previous trip). Please mayor gives us some help here for us to enter.'
Chapecoense flew the first leg of their journey with BoA a Bolivian operator. When they reached, Bolivia, the passengers changed to the LaMia aircraft.
Local media in Colombia are reporting that a male passenger has arrived in an ambulance to a hospital near Medellin.
Blu Radio said the passenger arrived on a stretcher with an oxygen mask and covered in a blanket. He appeared to be alive.
'Tonight it was reported that a plane coming from Viru Viru airport in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, which should have landed at Jose Maria Cordova, airport had gone off course,' a Colombian rescue official, Mauricio Parodi, told reporters.
Rescue teams, from firefighters to disaster management officials, have been pressed into the search for survivors, added Parodi, the director of disaster managment for the province of Antioquia.
Poor weather conditions made the crash site accessible only by road, airport authorities at Medellin, where the plane was scheduled to land, said on social network Twitter.
Chapecoense were set to play Colombian team Atletico Nacional in the South American club tournament's final on Wednesday, with the return fixture in Brazil on December 7.
It was the first time the small club from Chapeco had ever reached the final of a major South American club competition but they were underdogs against a club going for a rare double after winning the Copa Libertadores in July.
Chapecoense were the 21st biggest club in Brazil in terms of revenue, bringing in 46 million reais ($13.5 million) in 2015, according to an annual rich list compiled by Brazilian bank Itau BBA.
Local radio said the team were due to stay at the four-star Hotel San Fernando, an elegant hotel near Medellin's Botanical Garden.
HOW CHAPECOENSE PLAYERS WERE IN THE MIDDLE OF A FAIRY TALE SEASON
Why were Chapecoense heading to Colombia?
Chapecoense were due to play in the final of the Copa Sudamericana on Wednesday, which is South America's secondary club competition - an equivalent to the Europa League in Europe.
They were going to face Colombian side Atletico Nacional in the first match of the two-legged final. A video was uploaded by the club to social media showing the players heading on to the flight.
Chapecoense edged Argentinian side San Lorenzo 1-1 on away goals in the semi-final to become the first Brazilian club to reach a major final in South America since 2013.
After the victory, they were described as 'an unglamorous but growing club' by ESPN.
When were Chapecoense formed?
Chapecoense are a relatively young club, formed in 1973 in the city of Chapeco, in south Brazil.
Their stadium, Arena Conda in Santa Catarina, holds 22,600.
Chapecoense would have had to have played the second leg of the Copa Sudamericana final at an alternative venue because CONMEBOL, South America's equivalent to UEFA, state the final must be played at a venue holding at least 40,000 spectators.
They are managed by Caio Junior, who has played and coached extensively across Brazil.
How long have they been in Brazil's top division, Serie A?
They have competed in the first division for three seasons, having made the top tier in 2014.
As recently as 2009, they were in the fourth tier of Brazilian football and their run to a continental final this season was rightly heralded as a significant achievement.
Who are their most notable players?
Ananias, who is on loan at the club from Cruzeiro, netted the decisive away goal against San Lorenzo that got them to the final.
Another loanee at the club is 21-year-old defensive midfielder Matheus Biteco, from German Bundesliga side Hoffenheim.
Goalkeeper Marcelo Boeck spent five years at Sporting Lisbon from 2011-2016, where he was a team-mate of current Leicester striker Islam Slimani.
Boeck reportedly got in trouble with Slimani after they won the Potruguese Super Cup in August 2015 and spraying him with champagne. As a Muslim, Slimani is not allowed to touch alcohol.
Another of their well-known players was Cleber Santana, a midfielder whose best years were spent in Spain with Atletico Madrid and Mallorca.
What is the reaction to the tragedy in South America?
Chapecoense said on the club's Facebook page it 'reserves the right to wait for the official announcement of the Colombian air authority to issue any official statement about the accident. God be with our athletes, officials, journalists and other guests who are with the delegation.'
Atletico Nacional said it 'deeply regrets and sympathizes with @chapecoensereal on the accident and expects information from authorities.'
CONMEBOL has suspended all activities until further notice.
The club's vice president said that the Brazilian city where the team is from is in tears. Ivan Tozzo said that Chapeco, a city of 200,000 residents in southern Brazil, is in mourning.
Tozzo told cable channel SporTV that 'we are very sad, gathered here in the locker room of our stadium. We are still waiting for news. All our board is there, our players. We have nothing concrete on their state.'
He said that 'There are a lot of people crying in our city, we could never imagine this. Chapecoense is the biggest reason for joy here. We hope there are many survivors, at least that most of them are OK.'
The South American soccer federation has cancelled all activities until further notice.
The CONMEBOL federation said in a statement that its president, Alejandro Dominguez, is on his way to Medellin.
Atletico Nacional had said on Twitter: 'National deeply regret and sympathise with @ChapecoenseReal for the accident which has happened and await information from authorities.'
Footballers around the world paid tribute to the team today with England captain Wayne Rooney among those taking to Twitter.
He said: 'Sad news to wake up to today. Thoughts with @ChapecoenseReal and their family and friends.'
Brazilian legend Pele captured the mood of many when he said on Twitter: 'Brazilian football is in mourning.'
'Sad day for football,' Barcelona and Argentina striker Lionel Messi said in a Twitter post. 'Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Chapecoense players and others who died. RIP.'
Former Real Madrid star Luis Figo added: 'Thoughts and prayers go out to all the players families and everyone associated with @ChapecoenseReal football club.'
Brazilian striker Neymar simply tweeted the club badge and Porto goalkeeper Iker Casillas said 'Good luck and stay strong!'
Former Germany captain Michael Ballack tweeted: 'Very sad to read #RIP #Chapecoense Remember we are never safe and anything can happen, so make sure to tell your loved ones that you care.'
Manchester United, who lost eight players in February 1958 as their plane crashed on take off from Munich airport wrote on Twitter: '#ForçaChapecoense - The thoughts of everyone at Manchester United are with @ChapecoenseReal & all those affected by the tragedy in Colombia.'
FIFA President Gianni Infantino said it was a 'very, very sad day for football'.
HOW COLOMBIA CRASH HAS CHILLING ECHOES OF 1958 MUNICH AIR DISASTER
On 6 February 1958 British European Airways flight 609 crashed on its third attempt to take off from a slush-covered runway at Munich-Riem Airport, West Germany.
On the plane was the Manchester United team, nicknamed the 'Busby Babes', along with supporters and journalists. Sir Bobby Charlton and Matt Busby survived.
Geoff Bent, Roger Byrne, Eddie Colman, Mark Jones, David Pegg, Tommy Taylor, Liam 'Billy' Whelan all died. Duncan Edwards survived the crash, but died in hospital 15 days later.
The squad were returning from a European game in Belgrade, Yugoslavia (now Serbia) when they stopped to refuel in Germany.
In total 20 of the 44 on the aircraft died. The injured, some unconscious, were taken to the Rechts der Isar Hospital in Munich where three more died, resulting in 23 fatalities with 21 survivors.
The pilot James Thain was blamed for the crash but it was later established that slush on the runway caused the accident.
The following are other air disasters which have involved football teams:
1949: The plane carrying Italian club side Torino back from a match against Benfica in Lisbon crashed into the Superga hill during its approach to Turin airport. All 31 on board were killed including the 18-strong squad, devastating the finest team in the club's history.
Shortly afterwards, Torino went on to win a fifth Serie A title in a row, although they have only it once since then, in 1975/76.
1960: Eight Danish footballers, on their way to a trial to select the Denmark team for the Rome Olympic Games soccer tournament, were killed when their plane crashed into the Oresund strait after takeoff from Copenhagen. Denmark went on to win the silver medal.
1969: Players from Bolivian team The Strongest were among 78 people killed when the flight carrying them from the lowland city of Santa Cruz crashed at Viloco, near La Paz.
1979: Seventeen players and coaching officials from Pakhtakor Tashkent were among 178 killed when the flight taking them to a Soviet league match at Dinamo Minsk was involved in a mid-air collision over what is now Ukraine.
Pakhtakor were the only team from present day Uzbekistan to play in the top flight of the Soviet league.
1987: Sixteen players from Peruvian league leaders Alianza Lima, plus officials and coaching stuff, were among 43 killed when a flight bringing them back from a championship match in Pucallpa crashed on approach to Lima airport. Only the captain survived.
1989: Fourteen Dutch footballers of Surinamese heritage were among 176 people killed when Surinam Airways flight 764 crashed on its approach to Paramaribo after a flight from Amsterdam. The footballers played for different professional teams in the Netherlands and had formed a team called 'The Colourful 11' to play exhibition matches against local side in the South American country.
1993: All 30 people on board a chartered Zambian Air Force flight, including 18 players from the country's national team, were killed when it crashed into the sea off the coast of Gabon shortly after taking off following a refuelling stop. The team was on its way to Senegal for a World Cup qualifier.
Kalusha Bwalya, the team captain and now president of the Zambia football federation, was not on board as he was travelling to the game separately.
In 2012, Zambia won the African Nations Cup for the only time, beating Ivory Coast on penalties in a final played at in Libreville just a few kilometres from the crash site.
This afternoon, there were reports that Chapecoense will be crowned Copa Sudamerica champions 'in the next few days'.
According to Brazilian sports journalist Thiago Suman Colombia side Atletico Nacional is believed to be preparing to concede the title to the dead players of Chapecoense in an extraordinary gesture.
The two teams should have been competing for the trophy in Medellin tomorrow night.
Mr Suram, who is also a football commentator on Brazil's Radio Grenal FM, told MailOnline: 'The information at the moment is that Atletico nacional will send a request of [governing body] Conmebol for them to declare Chapecoense the legitimate winners of the Cup.
'The gesture would be similar to what happened in 1949, when the Torino team were also killed in a plane crash when it collided with the Superga Basilica in Italy, killing all 31 on board.
'Still on the same day, the other teams in the Italian championship agreed to give the title posthumously to Turin. 'The directors and players of Atletico Nacional have shown unanimity in what they wanted. Chapecoense will be crowned champions, if not tomorrow night when the winner would have been decided, then certainly in the next few days.'