Alan Ruschel is one of just six survivors in the devastating Chapecoense plane crash that killed 71 people last Monday – but it wasn’t the first time he narrowly escaped death.
The player, who is on loan from Internacional, has survived three devastating situations: a serious car crash, moving seats on the jet before it crashed in Colombia, and surviving after being rescued from the wreckage, according to South American media.
The right-back, who is now breathing without the help of machines, was told by his doctor to make the most of life following his recovery.
Doctor Sonagli reportedly told UOL Esporte: “If he [Alan Ruschel] has seven lives, he should not waste the other four.”
According to rescuers, Ruschel screamed for his friends and family as he was being stretchered away from the crash site. As he was being wheeled into surgery for a life-saving operation on his spine, he begged doctors to take off his engagement ring and keep it safe.
His fiancee, Marina Storchi, said the ring is still not back on her husband-to-be’s finger but she has it and she can’t wait to ‘return it to its rightful place’, according to the Daily Mail.
She said: “Alan is everything to me. He is the love of my life.”
Seventy-one people, including 19 players and staff, were killed in last Monday’s crash on the way to Colombia for the first leg of Copa Sudamericana.
The 27-year-old was the first survivor to be pulled from the wreckage and suffered multiple fractures and a spinal injury.
Investigations are continuing into the cause of the accident but a recording suggests the plane was out of fuel moments before the crash outside Medellin.
The club, who were on their way to play Colombian club Atletico Nacional in the two-legged final of Latin America’s No 2 club event, have since been crowned winners of the Copa Sudamericana by South American football confederation Conmebol, the BBC reports.
Atletico Nacional, who asked for Chapecoense to be awarded the trophy, have been given a Fair Play award to acknowledge their ‘spirit of peace, understanding and fair play’.
Our thoughts are with Ruschel, his family, and everyone affected by the devastating crash.