Journalist who survived Chapecoense plane crash dies after playing football match

Rafael Henzel, 45, was one of six survivors from the 2016 tragedy.

Rafael Henzel pictured in January 2017.
Rafael Henzel pictured in January 2017.
Image: Imago/PA Images

JOURNALIST RAFAEL HENZEL, one of just six survivors of the 77 people on board the plane that crashed carrying the Brazilian football team Chapecoense in 2016, has died of a heart attack that struck while he was playing soccer with friends, his employers Radio Oeste Capital announced on Thursday.

Henzel, 45, had been on the plane to Medellin in November 2016 as a radio journalist when the aircraft ran out of fuel, with 19 members of the Chapecoense team losing their lives.

“He was playing football with friends when he had a heart attack. He was rushed to hospital in Chapeco, where unfortunately he was declared dead,” Radio Oeste Capital reported.

The Brazilian club said on its website: “Throughout his brilliant career, Rafael told the story of Chapecoense,”

“We wholeheartedly hope that the family will have the strength to face yet another difficult time and this irreparable loss. The feelings and prayers of all the Chapecoenses, fans and listeners, are with you.”

Henzel published a book in June 2017 titled “Live each day as if it were your last”.

“I have two dates of birth,” he said in his book. “I am Brazilian and Colombian and it won’t be enough merely to live, I have to justify it,” he explained.

Three footballers and two of the plane crew also survived the crash. 

© – AFP, 2019

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