News / World

The Latest: Officials identify 59 victims of Colombia crash

Colombia's Atletico Nacional soccer fans gather for a tribute to members of Brazil's Chapecoense soccer team who died in a plane crash, at Atanasio Girardot stadium where they were to play a game in Medellin, Colombia, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. The plane was carrying members of Brazil's team who were traveling to the Copa Sudamericana finals to meet up with Colombia's Atlético Nacional Wednesday night. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)

Colombia's Atletico Nacional soccer fans gather for a tribute to members of Brazil's Chapecoense soccer team who died in a plane crash, at Atanasio Girardot stadium where they were to play a game in Medellin, Colombia, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. The plane was carrying members of Brazil's team who were traveling to the Copa Sudamericana finals to meet up with Colombia's Atlético Nacional Wednesday night. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)

LA UNION, Colombia — The latest on the aftermath of Colombian plane crash that killed members of Brazilian soccer team (all times local):

8:25 p.m.

Forensic authorities in Colombia say they have so far identified 59 of the 71 people killed in Monday night's plane crash and hope to finish their work Thursday.

Of those identified, 52 are Brazilian, five are Bolivian, one is Venezuelan and another is Paraguayan.

Brazil's air force has a Hercules cargo plane waiting in Medellin to return the bodies of the victims, which include most of Brazil's Chapecoense soccer team.

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7:50 p.m.

The tribute to Brazil's Chapecoense soccer team is in full swing in Medellin, Colombia.

Prior to the tribute's start, fans of the local Atletico Nacional team dressed in white and shouted slogans in support of the Brazilian squad, which was on a plane that crashed outside the city. The Brazilians were supposed to have played Atletico Nacional in the finals of the Copa Sudamericana tournament Wednesday night.

A military band's memorial tune as the stadium lights dimmed has brought tears to the faces of Atletico Nacional's normally stern-faced players and everyone else in the nearly full 40,000-seat stadium.

Black Hawk helicopters that helped in the rescue operation that managed to pull six survivors from the wreckage performed a fly-over. Several first responders who were at the crash scene attended.

Brazilian Foreign Minister Jose Serra fought to hold back tears as he thanked fans for their show of solidarity. He told them: "It's a light of hope when all of us are trying to understand what's impossible to understand."

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6:10 p.m.

Colombians dressed in white are arriving at a soccer stadium in Medellin to pay tribute to a Brazilian team that was nearly wiped out in a plane crash outside the city.

Despite the tragic circumstances, the mood is surprisingly festive as fans of Medellin's Atletico Nacional soccer club shout slogans in support of Brazil's Chapecoense team. The Brazilian squad was supposed to have played the hometown team Wednesday night in the first round of the two-game finals of the Copa Sudamericana tournament.

Medellin's mayor is in attendance and there is talk the event may also draw Brazilian Foreign Minister Jose Serra, who arrived in the city to oversee the repatriation of the bodies of the mostly Brazilian victims.

Atletico Nacional has proposed that the Copa Sudamericana title be awarded to its Brazilian rival in honour of the team and the soccer world's loss.

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3:20 p.m.

The acting president of the Chapecoense soccer club says the team hopes to play its final game of the league season using primarily a youth team.

Nineteen of the club's players were killed Monday in an air crash in Colombia. Three survived but are hospitalized in Colombia.

Speaking Wednesday to reporters, Ivan Tozzo says he was told to go ahead with the match by Marco Polo Del Nero, head of the Brazilian Football Confederation.

Tozzo quoted Del Nero as saying, "This game has to happen. There has to be a big ceremony."

The Brazilian Football Confederation has called for seven days of mourning. The final round of top league matches in Brazil is set for Dec. 11.

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1:30 p.m.

The only Brazilian player in the NFL says he is "devastated" by the crash of a chartered plane carrying 77 people in Colombia.

Kansas City Chiefs kicker Cairo Santos says he recognized the names of many of the players for the soccer club Chapecoense who were aboard the plane. Many played for larger clubs earlier in their careers, including Flamengo, the team that Santos supports.

Chapecoense was headed to the first of two matches in the final of the Copa Sudamericana, the continent's No. 2 club tournament. Santos called the team "a Cinderella story, a small club doing big things."

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12:40 p.m.

The pilot of a chartered plane with 77 people aboard told air traffic controllers he had run out of fuel moments before crashing into the Andes.

A recording from the air traffic tower leaked to W Radio shows the pilot of the British-built jet repeatedly requesting permission to land due to a "total electric failure" and lack of fuel.

A female controller can be heard giving instructions as the aircraft loses speed and altitude about 8 miles from the Medellin airport. Just before going silent the pilot says he's flying at an altitude at 9,000 feet.

W Radio didn't say how it obtained the recordings. But they would seem to confirm the account of a pilot on a nearby commercial flight.

Monday's crash killed all but six of the people aboard, including most members of the Chapecoense soccer team from Brazil.

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7:30 a.m.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says it was with great dismay that she learned about the tragic plane crash in Colombia.

The chancellor expressed her condolences Wednesday in a letter to Brazilian President Michel Temer, saying she wants to convey the sympathy of the German people.

Merkel expressed her sympathy for the families of the victims and sent best wishes for a speedy recovery of the survivors of the disaster.

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7 a.m.

Pope Francis has asked for prayers for victims of the plane crash in Colombia, noting the Brazilian people are mourning the loss of soccer players from the Chapecoense team.

He mentioned the tragedy while greeting Portuguese-speaking pilgrims at his public audience Wednesday at the Vatican.

The crash of the chartered aircraft late Monday in the Andes mountains claimed 71 lives.

Francis told the pilgrims that Italians were reminded of the 1949 Superga air crash that wiped out an Italian soccer team. Francis said, "I'd like to recall today the Brazilian people's sorrow." He urged prayers for the victims of these "harsh tragedies."

In condolence telegrams to the local Colombia bishop and to the head of the Brazilian bishops conference, Francis expressed his solidarity and consolation to families of the dead and injured.