Chapecoense Crash: Surviving players Alan Ruschel and Neto thank God in emotional messages after returning to Brazil

Two Chapecoense players who survived the devastating plane crash that wiped out most of the team and its support staff have thanked God and everyone who helped them.


Left-back Alan Ruschel and defender Helio Neto were both released from the Colombian hospital where they have been recovering since the crash over two weeks ago.

Upon returning to Brazil, Ruschel said he believed he survived because God wanted it, despite the LaMia Flight 2933 killing most of his colleagues, with 71 lives lost in total.

He was one of only six who survived and was transferred back to his home country where he can recuperate with his family.

Ruschel, 27, posted on social media: “God’s plans are greater than mine, so great that you can not imagine. Thanks to everyone for your love, strength, your prayers and positive thoughts.”

He was well enough to return to his homeland and is currently recovering in a Brazilian hospital – and alongside a photograph showing him next his family, he wrote: “We continue the fight and we will honour the ones that died.

“God, I ask you to comfort their relatives! God, thank you for the mercy in this miracle, the Lord is wonderful, Thank you!”

Doctors at the Unimed hospital in the city of Chapeco, in the southern state of Santa Catarina who are treating him say that given what he has been through his condition is remarkably good – and he could play football again.

Meanwhile centre-back Helio Neto has released a touching video via his father thanking “everyone for the help” after also returning safely to Brazil.

Neto, 31, had only recently emerged from a coma in a Colombia hospital in Medellin and had no recollection of the disaster, reportedly asking for the score of the match when he came round.

Accompanied by his wife and a team of medical staff, Neto was flown back to Chapeco, in the southern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina.

And a video shows him wearing an oxygen mask and lying on a bed, with apparently some breathing problems.

He said: “I want to thank everybody for the help and congratulate them for doing a wonderful job.”

His father, Helan Zampier, accompanied him until the airport, wearing a shirt of Chapecoense with the number 29 on the back.

He is reportedly a devout Christian and earlier reports said he had been reading the Bible in the moments before the crash.

The holy book was later found among the wreckage. It had a bookmark inserted next to Psalm 63, which talks about being safe in the shadow of God’s wings and about thinking of God in bed.

Roberto Cabrini, the journalist who found it, later handed it to Simone, Neto’s wife, while the footballer was still in Colombia.



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