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Brazil mourns football players, journalists in air crash

November 29, 2016

Brazil declared three days of mourning Tuesday for the football players, journalists and others among the estimated 75 killed in a charter plane crash in Colombia.

President Michel Temer declared “three days of official mourning over the tragedy,” his office said.

On Twitter, Temer announced that Brazil’s air force would deploy to help relatives of the victims travel to Colombia.

“The government will do everything it can to relieve the pain of friends and families of sport and journalism,” he tweeted.

The Brazilian foreign ministry was also sending diplomats to Medellin, the Colombian city near the crash site, to help in the aftermath.

The ministry expressed “profound sadness over the tragic air accident,” which took place late Monday.

Only six people survived the disaster, some of them players from the Chapecoense football club which was traveling, accompanied by journalists, to play the first leg in a Copa Sudamericana final against Colombia’s Atletico Nacional.

The mayor of Chapeco, home to a club that had caught Brazilians’ imagination with its rise from obscurity, described the city’s despair.

“We have moved from a dream to a true nightmare,” a tearful Luciano Buligon told TV Globo.

“This is a moment of mourning, sadness and for comforting the families,” he said.

Dispatches from AFP concerning freedom of information, censorship and news coverage in regions where independent media is under threat.