According to a tweet from SporTV, nine members of the Chapecoense soccer team were not with their teammates on the charter plane that crashed late Monday night in Colombia on the way to a championship match. Now the Brazilian team’s surviving members must come to grips with a devastating tragedy.
The list of players not on the plane: Rafael Lima, Nenem, Demerson, Marcelo Boeck, Andrei, Hyoran, Alejandro Martinuccio, Moises and Nivaldo. Many Brazilian soccer players go by only one name, per tradition.
DC Esportes tweeted out a photo of some of the distraught players in the team’s locker room.
Martinuccio, an Argentine forward who was left off Chapecoense’s active roster for the Copa Sudamericana match against Atletico Nacional of Medellín because of an injury, requested prayers for his teammates.
“We are waiting on news, I have survived as I was injured,” Martinuccio told Radio de la Red, via the Spanish outlet Marca. “I feel a deep sadness for my teammates. The only thing I can say is to pray for them.”
Demerson’s sister told Globo that the Chapecoense defender also was left off the team because of injury, a happenstance she dubbed “a miracle.”
“I’ve been crying ever since I woke up,” she said. “It’s a very big tragedy, we have nothing to talk about. But at the same time, we are very happy because Demerson was not on the flight. He talked to me and then to my mother, who is in shock so far. He went to the Condá Arena, and after that the news of the dead came out, we could not get in touch.”
The son of Chapecoense Coach Caio Junior said on Facebook that he missed the team’s flight from Sao Paulo only because he had forgotten his passport. The coach was one of the people who perished in the crash.
“We need some strength, I ask you to give us some privacy, especially to my mother and thank you all for calling and sending me a message, I was in [Sao Paulo] today and I did not board because I had forgotten my passport,” Matheus Saroli wrote.
António Araújo, Boeck’s agent, told TSF Radio that his client was not on the plane in order to celebrate his birthday on Monday.
Ivan Tozzo, the club’s vice president, invited Chapecoense’s fans to come to the team’s stadium to mourn together.
“We are gathered at the stadium,” he said. “We welcome all people who are affected, people who love Chapecoense.”