Colombia Plane Crash: survivors return home to Brazil as defender Neto is finally told of tragedy after waking from coma


Two of the Chapecoense players who survived the air crash in Colombia last month have returned home to Brazil.

Doctors say that goalkeeper Jackson Follmann is well enough to undergo surgery on his back when he gets back to Sao Paulo.

Follman, one of just six survivors from the crash that killed 71 people, including 19 players, had part of his right leg amputated in Medellin, Colombia following the crash on November 28.

Defender Alan Ruschel and journalist Rafael Henzel returned to the southern Brazilian city of Chapeco on Tuesday.

Another survivor, the Chapecoense defender Neto, remains in a serious condition in hospital having only woken from a coma at the weekend.

Medical staff had the duty of informing the 31-year-old player about his teammates’ deaths in the plane crash, which occurred as Chapecoense were heading to Colombia to play Atletico Nacional in the Copa Sudamericana final.

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Neto woke up with no memory of the accident and it was initially decided to withhold the information about the crash until he was capable of handling the shock.

After emerging from his come, Neto reportedly asked a doctor how the game had gone, before becoming suspicious that the injuries he had sustained were more serious than a normal football injury.

Dr Carlos Mendonca, from the RioNegro hospital in Medellin, said: ‘We had a conversation with Neto, we talked about the accident.

‘This was in agreement with the hospital’s clinical team, so that there are no problems in his clinical recovery and emotional state. So, together with a psychologist, we talked with him today.

‘At the start, he became very emotional because he didn’t know, but he is strong and understood.

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‘In the last hours, he had noticed several abrasions on his body, his hand, his legs, and he was already suspicious, because it isn’t common to sustain such injuries in a football match.

‘His father had told me that he was already getting to his limit. With the agreement of a psychologist, we told him.’

The doctor had said that Neto had seen a premonition that the plane was going to crash in a dream the previous night and had been worried about making the trip.

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It was reported that the player, a devout Christian, was reading his Bible in the moments before the crash.

Meanwhile, another one of the survivors, Henzel claimed that ‘at no point did someone from the cabin or the crew tell us, ‘put on your seatbelts.’

‘We just kept flying without any idea of what was about to happen.’

The ill-fated plane took off from Santa Cruz in Bolivia on the final leg of their journey to Colombia and crashed into a mountainside not long before their arrival.

Investigations have been launched in Brazil, Bolivia and Colombia, with Colombian authorities saying they believe a lack of fuel caused the crash.

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