Monday’s plane crash in Medellín, Colombia caused global shockwaves. The chartered airplane, run by Bolivian airline LaMia, carried 77 passengers from Santa Cruz in Bolivia with Medellín, Colombia’s second-largest city, the intended destination. Only six people survived the crash.
The particular news that has reached global headlines is that Brazilian team Chapecoense were on board – and only three of them survived. The division one team were flying to play in the final of the Copa Sudamericana – the South American equivalent to the Europa League. Their story has tugged at the heartstrings of many: they were promoted to Série A in 2014, having made their way up from being in the fourth division only seven years ago. This final was the first one they had ever reached – and players, staff, and sports journalists alike were overjoyed to be travelling to Medellín to play against Belo Horizonte based team Atletico Mineiro.
Source | Chapecoense players celebrating a goal in February 2014
Media reactions have varied from place to place, with some countries opting to focus more on the facts and figures as opposed to the human side of the crash.
Here’s how the media reacted around Europe…
Italy / Tommaso Ciani
The Colombian air disaster involving Chapecoense reminded the Italian media of the Grande Torino’s sport tragedy of 1949. In the aftermath of WWII, Torino FC, based in the Northern Italian city of Torino, was one of the strongest teams of all time. However, the team, now called ‘Grande Torino’, perished in a dramatic air disaster. At 5.03pm on May 4th, the team’s aircraft crashed into the wall of the Basilica of Superga due to thick fog. All the 31 people on board died, including players, coaching staff and several journalists. The media paid particular attention to outline the similarities between the two tragedies, focusing on the emotional side of the story. Torino FC hope to play Chapecoense in a memorial match.
Portugal / Daniela Costa
The plane accident in Colombia wasn’t just another regular international story in Portuguese media. Portugal has very close ties with Brazil – the two countries share a language and have maintained a healthy relationship of mutual cooperation for more than 4 centuries. Although the national media reported the story according to the facts, the coverage tended to be quite emotional. This happened not only because football is a love that both countries share, but also since there are a lot of Portuguese people currently living in Brazil,and many Brazilian immigrants residing in Portugal.
Brazilian TV channels also have a strong relationship with Portuguese media, so a lot of foreign correspondents were able to report it first-hand. Content on Portuguese news channels focused on the people who were killed and the survivors, having released a video with the details of the victims. Both broadcasters and newspapers have been updating the story daily.
Finland / Sara Laitinen
In Finland the coverage of the crash has been very facts and figures based, although there were some human stories in between as well. Ilta-Sanomat, a tabloid paper, has published several articles about the Colombian plane crash over the past few days. They have focused more on the victims and survivors as well as the Brazilian football team as a whole. However, Helsingin Sanomat, the most read newspaper in Finland, has only published four articles about the incident so far, and has focused more on the facts and figures about the crash rather than the individual victims.
There was more coverage about the crash on the TV and radio news, but they were again more focused on the facts and figures, although YLE (the Finnish equivalent of the BBC) did publish an article where they had gathered some tweets and last photos of the football team.
Bulgaria / Pavlena Todorova
The Bulgarian media did in-depth reports on the plane crash in Columbia. One of the most popular media companies, Nova, focused their breaking news on the fact that one of the victims used to play for the Bulgarian team CSK. They put comments from his ex teammates about how kind of a person Filipe Machado was. They also shared tweets from the Telegraph and put links to other articles – with pictures of the team and an article about how to get over your fear of flying.The other popular media “BTV” went with more general reporting for their breaking news: “A plane with Brazilian football players crashed in Columbia” was their headline. They also shared tweets, which is a relatively new method adopted by the Bulgarian media.
Many football fans on social media have highlighted the similarities between this crash and Torino FC’s history, as well as the Munich Air Disaster that killed 8 players and 3 staff from UK football club Manchester United in 1958.
1958: Manchester United
— GeniusFootball (@GeniusFootball) December 2, 2016
It’s interesting to see how reporting varies around Europe, with Bulgarian media even taking the opportunity to promote an article on overcoming a fear of flying. Despite differences in reporting, the disaster is being felt far wider than the South American continent.