On the 29th of November, Chapecoense players and staff made the journey from Brazil as they aimed to win the Copa Sudamericana. In what should have been their finest hour turned into a frantic nightmare as the plane in which they were travelling crashed into a Colombian mountainside - approximately 90km away from Medellín. Just six people of the 77 people on board survived the crash.
Naturally, it was an incident which ravaged their community in Western Brazil and one that sent shockwaves throughout the footballing world.
Weeks later, footage emerged of full-back, Alan Ruschel, delivering a heart-warming message to fans as he took his first steps since sustaining critical injuries.
Following rehabilitation, Alan Ruschel recently left the hospital and gave his account on the incident. The Brazilian defender speaks with an air of gratitude that he has been granted a second opportunity but expressed bewilderment as he attempts to make sense of it all.
Ruschel spoke to members of the press after being discharged from hospital. As reported by the Guardian;
Cadu Gaucho asked me to sit further forward and let the journalists sit together at the back.
I didn’t want to but then I saw [Jackson] Follman and he insisted that I sit beside him. Only God can explain why I survived the accident. He grabbed me and gave me a second chance.
I don’t remember anything about the accident.
When they told me what happened it seemed like a dream, a nightmare. Little by little they’ve been telling me what happened and I’m starting to understand. I try not to speak of the accident, I avoid the news, but from the little I’ve seen I think it was greed on the pilot’s part
Chapecoense are scheduled to play their first game since the tragic accident when they take to the field against Inter de Lages on the 29th of January at home in the first game of the Santa Caterina state championship.