Chapecoense plane crash survivor Alan Ruschel made his first public comments and revealed that a seat swap may have saved his life.
Ruschel, a 27-year-old defender, is one of three players that survived a fatal plane crash in the mountains of Colombia that killed 71 people, including 19 of his teammates. The team was on the way to Medellin, Colombia, for the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana final. Club director Cadu Gaucho asked Ruschel to switch seats. Gaucho died in the crash.
"Cadu Gaucho asked me to sit further forward and let the journalists sit together at the back," Ruschel said. "I didn’t want to but then I saw Jackson Follmann and he insisted I sit beside him. Only God can explain why I survived the accident. He grabbed me and gave me a second chance."
Watch Ruschel's comments below:
Follmann, a goalkeeper, survived the crash along with defender Neto.
Earlier this month, Ruschel was filmed walking and speaking again while he started his recovery process.
The world's tributes to Chapecoense
CONMEBOL posthumously awarded the Copa Sudamericana title to Chapecoense, at the suggestion of Atletico Nacional, the other finalist.
The two sides will meet next year in the Recopa Sudamericana, which pits the reigning winners of the Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana against one another.