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Tributes pour in for Chapecoense a year after plane crash

Xinhua,November 29, 2017 Adjust font size:

By Michael Place

MEDELLIN, Nov. 28 (Xinhua) -- Vigils and memorials were being held in Brazil and Colombia late Tuesday and early Wednesday to mark the first anniversary of the Chapecoense air tragedy.

Seventy-one people died - including 19 players from the small Brazilian football club Chapecoense - when a chartered flight carrying the team ran out of fuel and crashed near the Colombian city of Medellin.

In Chapeco, in Brazil's southern state of Santa Catarina, hundreds of people took part in a walk to Arena Conda, where a candlelight vigil and a Roman Catholic mass was later held.

At La Union, the nearest town to the crash site in the Colombian Andes, hundreds gathered in the town plaza for a ceremony which included a roll call of the victims. A memorial plaque was also unveiled with the names of the deceased and the six survivors.

Two military helicopters that were used to remove bodies from the crash flew above the square and scattered flower petals on the mourners.

"Those who passed away have not left our hearts or the memories of our people," La Union mayor Hugo Botero said.

A time capsule holding objects of sentimental value was sealed shut, with the promise of being reopened in 40 years.

The items inside included a shirt signed by players from Atletico Nacional, the team Chapecoense were due to play in the final of the Copa Sudamericana a day after the accident.

Tributes were also being planned outside of South America. Italian side Torino announced they would wear Chapecoense's green and white colors in their Serie A match against Atalanta on Saturday to show their solidarity with the Brazilian club.

Torino, who lost 18 of their players in an air tragedy in 1949, said 1,500 of the shirts would be put on sale, with the proceeds to go to families of the Chapecoense crash victims.

World football governing body FIFA also issued a statement and published a video paying respect to those who were killed on their way to the "biggest match of their history."

FIFA requested that a minute's silence be held for all matches around the world on November 28 and 29. Enditem