Pope Francis has asked for prayers for victims of the plane crash in Colombia, noting the Brazilian people are mourning the loss of football players from the Chapecoense team.
He mentioned the tragedy while greeting Portuguese-speaking pilgrims at his general audience on Wednesday on the Vatican.
The crash of the chartered aircraft late on Monday in the Andes mountains claimed 71 lives, including those of players and officials of Chapecoense. The team was travelling to play in the first leg of the final of the Copa Sudamericana in Colombia when the crash occurred.
Francis told the pilgrims that Italians were reminded of the 1949 Superga air crash that wiped out an Italian football team. Francis said, “I’d like to recall today the Brazilian people’s sorrow.” He urged prayers for the victims of these “harsh tragedies.”
In condolence telegrams to the local Colombia bishop and to the head of the Brazilian bishops conference, Francis expressed his solidarity and consolation to families of the dead and injured.