Coffins of plane crash victims en route to Brazilian soccer stadium memorial

By Andrew V. Pestano Follow @AVPLive9 Contact the Author   |  Dec. 2, 2016 at 10:41 AM
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MEDELLIN, Colombia, Dec. 2 (UPI) -- The bodies of the Brazilians who died in the LaMia Flight 2933 plane crash in Colombia have been identified and are being prepared to be returned to Brazil.

A charter plane headed from Bolivia to Medellin for the championship match of the Copa Sudamericana crashed Monday night into mountainous terrain near Rionegro, Colombia. Seventy-one people died, including most of the Chapecoense Brazilian soccer team.

On Friday, the coffins holding the bodies of the Brazilian soccer team players, journalists and companions will be taken directly to the club's Arena Condá stadium in Chapecó, Brazil, where a memorial will be held.

"We lost everything. We are so sad. They are not only football players, but friends, brothers. We share a good relationship in the team," said Chapecoense goalkeeper José Nivaldo Martins Constante, who did not travel with the team. "We are just like family members. We like each other and we're very united."

Brazil has declared a three-day mourning period. Bolivia's Directorate General of Civil Aviation has suspended LaMia Airlines' operations after the crash.

FIFA announced FIFA President Gianni Infantino, who described the incident as a "very, very sad day" for soccer, will attend the memorial in Chapeco, along with Brazil's national team coach Adenor Leonardo Bacchi, better known as Tite.

"In response to Monday's air tragedy that struck Brazilian team Associação Chapecoense de Futebol, the Bureau of the FIFA Council has called for a minute's silence before every football match this weekend," FIFA said in a statement. "All players around the world are also asked to wear black armbands in memory of the tragic loss of life."

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