Bodies Of #Chapecoense Players Head Home For Burial
The bodies of 71 people killed in a plane crash in Colombia that devastated a Brazilian football team are being returned home, as the team’s home town prepares for a memorial service.
More than 100,000 people are expected to turn out for a ceremony at the team’s stadium in Chapeco later.
Just six people survived Monday’s crash outside Medellin, where Chapecoense were due to play a regional final.
Brazilian President Michel Temer is due to greet the planes at the airport.
But he is not expected to go to the ceremony at the stadium, reportedly amid concerns about protests taking place. Fifa’s Gianni Infantino will be attending the service.
As the bodies were taken to the airport in Medellin on Friday, hundreds of people lined the road to pay their final respects.
The remains of the Paraguayan crew member Gustavo Encina were handed over to his family in Paraguay.
The other victims, 64 Brazilians, five Bolivians and a Venezuelan, were flown home in a series of flights.
Nineteen of the dead were members of the Chapecoense football club, and many more were support staff and journalists covering the team.
The bodies of those victims will be carried during a funeral procession through Chapeco on Saturday, ending with a ceremony at the team’s stadium.
“The #Chapecoense will remain in our memory for their perseverance and tenacity. I reiterate my deepest solidarity with relatives of the victims,” Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos wrote on Twitter as the last plane departed.
A minute’s silence will be held before every football match this weekend, and football’s world governing body Fifa also requested that all players wear black armbands in remembrance.
The team has been described as having “a fairy story with a tragic ending”.
It only won promotion to the country’s top division in 2014, but was on its way to the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana final in Medellin when the plane went down.
Authorities are still investigating the cause of the crash. A recording has emerged of the pilot asking the control tower for priority to land because he was out of fuel.