Colombian authorities say there were at least six survivors out of 81 people aboard a plane that crashed Monday night less than two dozen miles from an airport in northwestern Colombia.
The charter aircraft, which took off from Bolivia, was flying over the town of La Union at around 10 p.m. when electrical flaws were reported, according to a statement from the José María Córdova International Airport in Rionegro, Colombia. The plane crashed shortly after in a mountainous area in the Antioquian municipality, roughly 22 miles from the airport, which serves the city of Medellin.
There were 72 passengers and nine crewmembers on board, including members of Chapecoense, a Brazilian soccer team. The team was expected to play in the Copa Sudamerica finals against Atletico Nacional on Wednesday in Medellin.
The Colombian Civil Aviation Authority tweeted that there were six confirmed survivors — two crew, three players and one journalist.
Elkin Ospina, mayor of the La Ceja municipality outside Medellin, told Blu Radio that at least three people were rescued alive. He said there could be more survivors, but the crash site is difficult to access.
“It’s a tragedy of huge proportions,” Medellin Mayor Federico Gutierrez told Blu Radio on his way to the scene of the crash.
"May God accompany our athletes, officials, journalists and other guests traveling with our delegation,” the club said in a statement on its Facebook page.
Rescue efforts are underway and authorities are asking residents to steer clear of the crash site.
The South American soccer federation canceled games until further notice and said its president, Alejandro Dominguez, was travelling to Medellin.
The plane is a British Aerospace 146 short-haul plane. It is not clear what caused the crash, but Colombia had been hit by heavy rains and thunderstorms in recent hours.
Contributing: Associated Press.