Colombia plane crash survivor Jackson Follmann has leg amputated

REUTERS

New daylight video released by Antioquia police in Colombia shows the debris field left by plane crash. Seventy-one people were killed in the crash.

A Brazilian football player who survived a plane crash that killed 71 people in Colombia's worst air disaster in decades has had one of his legs amputated and remains in a critical condition in hospital, but his family says it is a miracle he is still alive.

Reserve goalkeeper Jackson Follmann, 24, was one of only six survivors on board the charter plane that crashed into the mountains outside Medellin about 10.15pm on Monday local time (Tuesday NZT), shortly after reporting electrical problems. Officials originally said 81 people were on the flight but later revised that down to 77.

Follmann and two of his teammates - defenders Alan Ruschel and Helio Neto - were the only members of the Brazilian soccer team Chapecoense - including its players, coaches and staff - who survived the crash in the remote area south of Medellin.

Jackson Follmann, right, and Alan Ruschel both survived the crash.
AMANDA RUSCHEL/INSTAGRAM

Jackson Follmann, right, and Alan Ruschel both survived the crash.

Also among the six survivors was journalist Rafael Valmorbida, Bolivian flight attendant Ximena Suarez. and Bolivian flight technician Erwin Tumiri, Colombia's civil aviation authority said.

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Brazilian news site Globo said Follmann had one of his legs amputated, and remained in a critical condition in intensive care in hospital. BluRadio Colombia reported that both of Follmann's legs were amputated, but medical authorities have not confirmed that report.

Rescue crews work at the scene of the crash in the Colombian jungle near Medellin.
REUTERS

Rescue crews work at the scene of the crash in the Colombian jungle near Medellin.

Follmann's parents said it was a miracle their son had survived.

"In a plane crash, you know that the chance of survival is virtually zero. That he was among the survivors is a miracle of God," Follmann's father, Paul, told Globo.

Follmann's mother, Marisa, told the news organisation that, in her heart, she knew her son had survived.

The Chapecoense club from southern Brazil reportedly posted this photo of its first division team boarding the charter ...

The Chapecoense club from southern Brazil reportedly posted this photo of its first division team boarding the charter flight that crashed in Colombia.

"At the time [when they received the news of the plane crash] my husband went into shock, was terrified. Me too ... but a mother's heart is never wrong. My heart said that God was protecting him, he was fine," she said.

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They are travelling to Medellin to be by their son's bedside.

Neto and Valmorbida were in "very delicate but stable" condition in intensive care, Dr Guillermo Molina, head of a clinic treating them, said. Neto suffered trauma to his head, thorax and lungs, as well as open wounds to his knees.

Ruschel also was in intensive care but in stable condition, Dr Ana Maria Gonzalez, director of another clinic also treating them, told Reuters. The two members of the flight staff were out of danger and under observation, she said.

Follmann signed with Chapecoense in May and was the team's back-up goalkeeper to Danilo, who was initially reported to have survived the crash but died from his injuries in hospital.

Those killed on the flight included 21 journalists travelling with the team, which was on its way to the finals of a regional tournament when the British Aerospace 146 short-haul plane, operated by a charter airline named LaMia, declared an emergency and crashed.

"What was supposed to be a celebration has turned into a tragedy," Medellin mayor Federico Gutierrez said from the search-and-rescue command centre.

It was the first time Chapecoense, a small club from the southern Brazilian town of Chapeco, had reached the final of a major South American club competition.

Matches were cancelled around South America and Brazil declared three days of mourning following the crash. Atletico Nacional, the team due to face off against Chapecoense in the final, requested the trophy be awarded to Chapecoense in honour of those who died.

On its website, the Football Chapecoense Association said: "God be with our athletes, officials, journalists and other guests who are with the delegation."

 - Sydney Morning Herald

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