Colombia begins repatriating dead from chartered plane crash

Published 9:09 am Friday, December 2, 2016

RIO NEGRO, Colombia — An honor guard played taps early Friday as members of Colombia’s military loaded five flight crew victims of an air crash that also killed most members of a soccer team onto a cargo plane for the trip back to their native Bolivia.

The five were all Bolivian crew members of the chartered flight that crashed into the Andes mountains on Monday, killing 71 people, including players and coaches from Chapecoense, a small-town Brazilian soccer team that was headed to the Copa Sudamericana finals after a fairy-tale season that had captivated their soccer-crazed nation.

The bodies of a group of 50 Brazilian victims will be repatriated later Friday on three flights to Chapeco, the team’s hometown, where they’ll be received by their loved ones. On Thursday, white sheets printed with the green and white logo of the soccer club were placed over row upon row of caskets at a Medellin funeral home.

Email newsletter signup

The somber farewell come as details emerge pointing to alleged negligence on the part of the Bolivian charter company hired by the team to shuttle the players to Medellin for the finals of the prestigious soccer championship.