Channel SporTV reports that six players were killed and four team staff. Three teenagers were also injured. The youth players are said to be aged between 14 and 16. One young player said the fire started in an air conditioner in his room. Club president Rodolfo Landim told reporters this was “without a doubt the worst tragedy this club has been through” in its 123-year history. Brazil football legend Pelé described the club as “a place where young people pursue their dreams”. President Jair Bolsonaro, who is receiving treatment for pneumonia, tweeted a statement from the hospital “in solidarity” with the mourning families.
The club’s most prominent former players include World Cup winners Ronaldinho, Bebeto and Romario. Former Brazil star and Flamengo player Ronaldinho offered his condolences for the “terrible tragedy” in a tweet on Friday morning. “We are extremely sad and shaken by the news of the fire,” tweeted Chapeco, a team in southern Brazil that lost 22 players in a plane crash in 2016. One of Flamengo’s most high-profile fans, the country’s vice-president, Gen Hamilton Mourão, also expressed his condolences.