Brazilian journalists mourn the deaths of 20 colleagues who died in plane crash on way to cover soccer match

At least twenty journalists were killed in a plane crash late in the night of Nov. 28 near Medellín, Colombia. The group was accompanying a delegation from the Brazilian soccer team Chapecoense. The team, from the city of Chapecó in southern Brazil, was traveling to play its first match of the final of the South American Cup.

According to Colombian authorities, at least 71 people died in the accident and only six survived. Among the victims were soccer players, Brazilian journalists and the crew. Journalist Rafael Henzel Valmorbida of radio Oeste Capital in Chapecó survived.

The charter plane left Santa Cruz de la Sierra in Bolivia on its way to Medellín with 77 people on board, including reporting teams from RBS, Fox Sports, Globo and other media outlets.

Media outlets and journalists who lost colleagues in the crash posted tributes on their sites and via social media.

We lost more than one team: we lost friends, partners, colleagues, family members!,” wrote Oeste Capital on its site. They asked for prayers for Henzel and paid homage to the three colleagues from their station who were killed: Renan Agnolin, Edson Luiz Ebelini (Picolé) and Gelson Galiotto.

Five professionals from RBS Group, an affiliate of Globo TV, were killed in the crash. RBS said it is “offering support to families members at this time and continues searching for official information on the situation of employees.”

The Brazilian Association of Radio and Television Broadcasters (ABERT), the National Association of Magazine Editors (ANER) and the National Association of Newspapers (ANJ) issued a note lamenting the tragedy.

“The entities express their sympathy and ample solidarity with the relatives of the professionals victimized in the fulfillment of their activity, as well as those of the other passengers and flight crew. In this moment of mourning, the associations also join in the pain of all Brazilians,” they said.

Abraji (the Brazilian Association of Investigative Journalism) also published a note in solidarity with the families and friends of the victims.

“Abraji regrets the fall of the plane in which 22 press professionals and the Chapecoense team traveled to a match in Medellín, Colombia. To date, only Rafael Hensel of radio Oeste Capital has been rescued alive among the 22 journalists on board. Abraji lends solidarity to the families and friends of all the victims.”

News site G1 published a list with the names of the press professionals who were in the crash:

  • Laion Espíndola, of Globo Esporte
  • Giovane Klein Victória, of RBS
  • Bruno Mauri da Silva, of RBS
  • Djalma Araújo Neto, da RBS
  • André Podiacki, of RBS
  • Guilherme Marques, of Globo
  • Ari de Araújo Jr., of Globo
  • Guilherme Laars, of Globo
  • Victorino Chermont, of Fox
  • Rodrigo Santana Gonçalves, of Fox
  • Deva Pascovicci (Devair Paschoalon), of Fox
  • Lilacio Pereira Jr., of Fox
  • Paulo Clement, of Fox
  • Mário Sérgio, of Fox
  • Renan Agnolin, radio Oeste Capital, of Chapecó
  • Fernando Schardong, radio Chapecó
  • Edson Ebeliny, radio Oeste Capital, of Chapecó
  • Gelson Galiotto, radio Oeste Capital, of Chapecó
  • Douglas Dorneles, radio Chapecó
  • Jacir Biavatti, RIC TV and radio Vang FM
  • Rafael Henzel Valmorbidada Rádio FM (survivor)


*Teresa Mioli assisted with this post

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.