Latin America & Caribbean

Chapecoense air crash: Brace position saved me, says survivor

Alan Ruschel, a defender for the Brazilian soccer team Chapecoense, being led into hospital Image copyright AP
Image caption Chapecoense player Alan Ruschel was one of the survivors

Details are still emerging about how six people survived a plane crash in Colombia that left 71 dead, most of them players for Brazil's Chapecoense football club. All of the survivors are in hospitals near Medellin. Only two of them, crew members, are not in critical condition, doctors say. The other four are in intensive care.

Erwin Tumiri: 'I went into brace position'

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Colombian police released a video (in Spanish) with the moment the flight technician, from Bolivia, was rescued alive, showing him conscious, screaming for his colleagues. He reportedly said in an interview he only managed to survive by following safety procedures. "Many passengers got up from their seats and started yelling," reports quoted him as saying. "I put the bag between my legs and went into brace position as recommended."

Ximena Suarez: 'Lights went out'

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Flight attendant Ximena Suarez, 28, also from Bolivia, said the lights went out less than a minute before the plane crashed, according to Colombian officials. El Colombiano newspaper said she was rescued two hours after the crash. Local media reported that she had injuries on her leg.

Alan Ruschel: 'Save my engagement ring'

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The 27-year-old player has had spinal surgery, but doctors said his movements were not affected. Reports said he was rescued conscious, and asked emergency teams to save his engagement ring.

His fiancee, Marina Storchi, told Brazilian media (article in Portuguese) that she had told the player not to travel to Colombia after his passport went missing in his house.

Jakson Ragnar Follmann: Right leg amputated

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The 24-year-old goalkeeper has had one leg amputated. His father, Paulo, told Associated Press news agency: "The chances of surviving an airplane crash are practically zero. That my son is one of the survivors is a miracle of God."

Helio Hermito Zampier Neto: 'He may be able to play again'

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The defender, 31, was the last person to be rescued. He underwent surgery on a lung, a knee, a wrist and his head. Doctors said he might be able to play again, his father said on Facebook.

Rafael Henzel: 'Call my wife'

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The 43-year-old journalist asked hospital workers to call his wife to tell her he was conscious, a colleague told Brazilian media. Doctors said he had multiple rib fractures that partly collapsed a lung. He is a sports reporter at Oeste Capital radio, in Chapecoense's city of Chapeco.

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