Effects of deadly Colombian plane crash felt in Boise

We met a Boise State student who is from the same hometown as the soccer team killed in the crash.

BOISE - Devastation across the nation after a plane crashed near Medellin, in northwest Colombia Monday, killed 71 people. Those on board included a division first Brazilian soccer team, Chapecoense, 21 journalists and the crew.

There were only six survivors.

Among those six survivors are three soccer players, two crew members and one journalist.

Chapecoense is from the Brazilian city of Chapeco, which is roughly the size of Boise.

KTVB spoke to a student as Boise State who has roots in Chapeco and says it is not just the loss of a soccer team, it is a loss of part of the city's culture.

“Being here is like being a fish out of water now because I want to be with my country because that is their culture. I don’t feel like I should be here right now because my family is devastated and heartbroken,” said Rei Tchele, a sophomore at BSU.

Rei Tchele moved from Brazil when she was 12, but many of her family remains in Chapeco.

She remembers growing up, watching Chapecoense play was more than a game.

“It is like a culture there. That is what we would sit down and watch, my cousins are die-hard fans and when they heard they were going to the championships that was everything to them,” she said.

Rei Tchele describes the team as a group of scrappy underdogs who fought their way to the international championship in South America where they were scheduled to play before the deadly crash.

“They are the ones that everyone just cheered for because that was there hometown those were the friends they grew up with. They wanted to be soccer players, they went and did it and made it big,” said Rei Tchele.

The plane crash has devastated people around the world but is perhaps felt most in the team's hometown of Chapeco.

According to reports, city officials have declared a 30-day mourning period, canceling all holiday celebrations.

Rei Tchele says the game was never about a championship, soccer is part of the way of life in Chapeco.

"To that town it just means that the dream is gone. Something that they looked so forward too and they were so excited about disappeared,” she said.

Copyright 2016 KTVB


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