Medellin : The bodies of the 71 victims killed in a plane crash in Colombia that wiped out a Brazilian football team returned home, as mourners prepared a massive funeral, reports AFP.
Along the road to the airport, hundreds of people brandished flowers, white balloons and Colombian flags to pay a final farewell to the victims of Monday’s tragedy. The remains of the first victim, Paraguayan crew member Gustavo Encina, were handed over to his family early Friday in a coffin draped in his country’s flag. The other victims — 64 Brazilians, five Bolivians and a Venezuelan — were flown home on a series of flights throughout the day.
“What we want now more than anything else is to go home, to take our friends and brothers home. The wait is the worst,” said Roberto Di Marche, a cousin of football team Chapecoense Real’s late director Nilson Folle Junior.
In the club’s hometown, the southern Brazilian city of Chapeco, more than 100,000 people — about half the city’s population — are expected to attend a memorial service Saturday in honour of the team, whose fairytale season was tragically cut short. FIFA chief Gianni Infantino canceled a trip to Australia to attend the funeral. Officials said Brazilian President Michel Temer would likely travel to Chapeco as well. The bodies will be carried during a funeral procession through the city, ending with a ceremony at the team’s stadium.