Chapecoense footballer has right leg amputated after Colombia plane crash

Jackson Follmann is now recovering following the procedure

Chapecoense footballer has right leg amputated after Colombia plane crash

Rescue workers stand at the wreckage site of a chartered airplane that crashed in a mountainous area outside Medellin, Colombia | Image: Luis Benavides AP/Press Association Images

One of the footballers who survived a plane crash in Colombia has undergone surgery to have his right leg amputated, doctors have said.

Chapecoense goalkeeper Jackson Follmann is now recovering following the procedure.

Defender Helio Neto is being treated in intensive care after suffering severe trauma to his skull, thorax and lungs.

His fellow defender, Alan Ruschel, has undergone spinal surgery.

The three other survivors were journalist Rafael Valmorbida, air stewardess Ximena Suarez and flight technician Erwin Tumiri.

Search and rescue teams have said 71 people lost their lives, including most of the Chapecoense team and 20 Brazilian journalists.

The BAe 146 came down in a mountainous area as it approached Colombia's second-largest city, Medellin.

Soldiers were guarding the wreckage overnight, with investigators due to begin work at first light.

The Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan has expressed his condolences to the families and loved ones of those involved in the crash.

He alos said there are no reports of any Irish being involved in the incident.

However Irish embassy's in Brazil and Mexico - which is accredited to Colombia - are in contact with the relevant authorities.

Experts from Britain are also to join their Colombian counterparts.

The UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch spokesman said: "The AAIB is deploying a team of three accident investigators specialising in operations, engineering and flight data recorders to the accident site.

"They will be assisted by representatives from the UK manufacturer."

Investigators from Brazil and Bolivia will also be involved.

'No explosion on impact'

Two "black box" flight recorders have been recovered from the crash site on a hillside near the town of La Union.

One local resident said the aircraft appeared to have lost power.

Nancy Munoz, who grows strawberries in the area said: "It came over my house, but there was no noise, the engine must have gone."

A Colombian military source told AFP the plane may have run out of fuel.

The source said: "It is very suspicious that despite the impact there was no explosion. That reinforces the theory of the lack of fuel."

Meanwhile a video has emerged showing the Chapecoense coaching staff praising their charter airline before they set off on their doomed flight.

Athletic director Mauro Stumpf told the Gigavision TV network that the LaMia airline had "treated us very well" during an earlier flight to Colombia when the team won a quarter-final in the South American Cup.

The plane, which departed from Santa Cruz in Bolivia, was carrying the side - based in Chapeco in southern Brazil - to Colombia for the biggest game in the club's history.

They had been due to play in the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana final against Medellin's Atletico Nacional on Wednesday.

Help from other clubs

Atletico Nacional have asked South America's soccer federation to award the cup to the Brazilian side following the tragedy.

Other clubs in Brazil's top division have offered to loan players to Chapecoense.

It has been suggested that the club be protected from relegation for three years while it recovers from its loss.

Club vice-president Ivan Tozzo told Globo SporTV: "The pain is terrible. Just as we had made it, I will not say to the top, but to have national prominence, a tragedy like this happens.

"It is very difficult, a very great tragedy."

People in Chapeco have been trying to take the news in. Businessman Cecilio Hans said: "The city is very quiet. People will only believe once the bodies start to arrive."

Carla Vilembrini, speaking at the city's Santo Antonio Cathedral, said: "To lose (almost) all of them in such a tragic way totally destroyed our city and each one of us."
Alan Heinz, speaking inside the club's stadium, said: "I can't still believe it.

"I was preparing for the best day of my life, and now I don't know what my life will be after this."

The president of Brazil, Michel Temer, has declared three days of mourning.

He said: "I express my solidarity in this sad hour during which tragedy has beset dozens of Brazilian families."