18 Dec 2016

Colombia plane crash survivor 'changed seats'

6:51 pm on 18 December 2016

A Brazilian footballer who survived the crash that killed most of his team in Colombia last month changed seats at the last minute after a team mate encouraged him to sit beside him.

Alan Ruschel arrived in his home town of Chapeco less than a week ago.

Alan Ruschel arrived in his home town of Chapeco less than a week ago. Photo: AFP

Chapecoense player Alan Ruschel told reporters he had been sitting near the back of the plane but moved forward.

Mr Ruschel was recovering from a back injury but said he hoped to play football again.

He did not recall the accident, he said.

He has pledged to visit the families of the players who died. Only six people survived the crash in mountains near the city of Medellin, with the other 71 on board killed.

The goalkeeper, Jackson Follman, who asked Mr Ruschel to sit next to him in the plane, also survived.

Mr Ruschel said that at first he was unwilling to change seats to allow a group of journalists to sit together at the back of the plane.

"I didn't want to but then I saw Follman and he insisted that I sit beside him," he said.

"Only God can explain why I survived the accident. He grabbed me and gave me a second chance."

The pilot of the charter flight has been accused of trying to fly too far without refuelling the plane, after no fuel was found in the crash wreckage.


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