Felipe Machado turns on his smartphone camera and hits record. He is jovial, and so he should be. He is doing what he loves and it is written all over the broad smile he wears.
‘It’s beginning, it’s beginning. The trip to Colombia,’ he repeats over and over as his teammates signal towards the camera. ‘That’s it guys. Let’s get the trip started.’
A team official passes by his chair and he tells him: ‘Say hello to all.’ Then he records the last four words anyone will ever hear him speak
OK guys, let’s fly!
On the evening of 28 November 2016, LaMia Flight 2933, carrying 77 people crashed as it approached Medellín, Colombia. Among the passengers were 22 players of the Brazilian Associação Chapecoense de Futebol club, 23 staff, 21 journalists and 2 guests. The team was travelling to play their away leg of the Final for the 2016 Copa Sudamericana in Medellín against Atlético Nacional.
71 people died (including 21 journalists and almost the entire first team and managerial staff). One of the four crew members, three of the players, and two other passengers survived. The surviving players were left-back Alan Ruschel, backup goalkeeper Jakson Follmann (who had one of his legs amputated), and center-back Neto.
Goalkeeper Danilo initially survived the crash, but later died before arriving to the hospital. Goalkeeper Nivaldo, who did not board the flight, soon after announced his immediate retirement from football.
The causes of the crash were fuel exhaustion due to poor flight planning, failure to declare an emergency after fuel levels became critically low, and air traffic control at Medellín giving other aircraft priority to land.