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UEFA announces minute's silence for South American plane crash victims

UEFA announces minute's silence for South American plane crash victims
By PA Sport

01/12/2016 at 12:51

A minute's silence will be held ahead of all of next week's Champions League and Europa League matches as a mark of respect to those who died in a plane crash which killed 71 people and most of the Chapecoense football team from Brazil.

A minute's silence will be held ahead of all of next week's Champions League and Europa League matches as a mark of respect to those who died in a plane crash which killed 71 people and most of the Chapecoense football team from Brazil.

The charter jet carrying the Chapecoense team, along with club officials and journalists, to Medellin for their Copa Sudamericana final match against Colombian side Atletico Nacional came down late on Monday night.

Civil aviation officials in Colombia have since confirmed the aircraft had run out of fuel at the moment of impact.

The extent of Chapecoense's loss became clear with the news of deaths of players and officials who were on the flight.

Only three players - defender Alan Luciano Ruschel, reserve goalkeeper Jackson Ragnar Follmann and centre-back Helio Hermito Zampier Neto - were listed as among the six survivors, as well as journalist Rafael Valmorbida and crew members Ximena Suarez and Erwin Timuri.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said in a statement: "European football is united in expressing its deepest sympathy to Chapecoense, the Brazilian football confederation (CBF), CONMEBOL (the South American confederation) and the families of all the victims following this week's air disaster.

"This tragedy has shaken the world of football, and we would like to send our support to all of those affected by it."

The 'black box' flight recorders from the British Aerospace 146 plane have been retrieved and are being brought back to the UK to be examined in Farnborough, the Air Accidents Investigation Branch has confirmed.

A recording of the flight's final minutes revealed the pilot told air traffic controllers there had been a ''complete electrical failure'' and that he had run out of fuel before the doomed plane plunged into a wooded mountainside.

A full investigation into the crash is expected to take months and will review everything from the 17-year-old British Aerospace aircraft's flight and maintenance history to the voice and instruments data in the black boxes.

Officials from Colombia' civil aviation authority said at a news conference in Medellin they believed the plane had run out of fuel when it went down some 11 miles from the Jose Maria Cordova de Rionegro airport.

Secretary for the Air Safety Special Administrative Unit of Civil Aeronautics Freddy Bonilla said: "We can clearly state that the aircraft had no fuel at the time of impact, so we started an investigation process to establish the cause."

Bonilla added regulations state an aircraft must have 30 minutes of fuel in reserve to reach an alternative airport in an emergency , but "in this case the plane did not".

Some 59 bodies have been identified, including 52 Brazilians, five Bolivians, a Paraguayan and a Venezuelan.

In an update on the club's official website, Chapecoense confirmed Follmann remained in a "serious condition" after having one leg amputated, while d efender Neto was in a critical but stable condition, and was now " providing good prospects for improvement".

Ruschel had undergone "surgery of the spine, but has normal movements in his arms and legs", while journalist Valmorbidal, of Radio Oeste Capital, had a "thoracic (chest) trauma and a leg fracture" and was "also critical, but the outlook is optimistic".

The club, whose medical team are in Colombia led by Dr Carlos Henrique Mendonca, added there was currently no time-frame on any discharge of patients, but said everyone was being offered the "best possible care".

After this weekend's schedule was called off, the final round of league matches in Brazil's top flight is now set for December 11.

Chapecoense's acting president Ivan Tozzo has suggested the club will hope to be able to fulfil their fixture against Atletico Mineiro, fielding a combined team of youth players and those remaining who were not on board the flight to Colombia.

Veteran goalkeeper Nivaldo was not set to be involved for the Copa Sudamericana final as the home match with Mineiro was to be his 300th and last appearance for the club.

The 42-year-old had stated he would retire immediately, but now appears determined to turn out one last time in memory of his dead colleagues.

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