Plane crash footballer says he owes his survival to moving seats

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Chapecoense footballer Alan Rushchel says he only survived last month’s horror plane smash in Colombia because he moved seats just before the accident. The defender, who says he hopes to be back playing football soon, had been sitting near the rear of the airplane, which suffered horrendous damage, but was asked to move by club director Cadu Gaucho.

Mr Rushchel, who was on his way to play in the Copa Sudamericana final with his team mates and several sports journalists, says he was asked if he wouldn’t mind sitting further towards the front so the reporters could sit together.

He said he hadn’t wanted to move at first, but was persuaded to by a teammate. He added: “Only God can explain why I survived the accident. He grabbed me and gave me a second chance.”


The 27 year old was one of only six people to survive the smash after the plane came down and crashed into mountains near Medellin. Seventy one people lost their lives in the air disaster, including almost all of Mr Rushchel’s team mates as well as team directors and support staff.

One of Mr Rushchel’s closest friends, the Goalkeeper Jackson Follman was the one to persuade him to sit next to him. Mr Follman also survived the crash, but has had to have part of his leg amputated because it was too damaged to repair.

Mr Ruschel told a news conference that he remembers nothing at all about the accident. He says that it seems like a dream or a nightmare, adding that he tried not to watch the news, but from what he had seen, he believed that the crash was down to “pilot greed”. The pilot of the aircraft has been accused of taking off without enough fuel on board, even though he was given the opportunity to refuel.

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