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In moving footage, Colombia plane crash survivor gives 'thumbs up' as he thanks people for their support

One of the six survivors of a horror plane crash which killed 71 people has appeared on camera to thank his supporters - as his family celebrated what they called a "miraculous" recovery.

In the special video message, Chapecoense defender Alan Ruschel can be seen walking into a room at the San Vicente Fundacion Hospital in Colombia, with some assistance.

Wearing a hospital gown and with injuries still visible, he gives a thumbs up before sitting down in a chair and addressing well-wishers.

"Thank you everyone, everyone worried about my recovery," he said.

"This is Alan Ruschel. I wanted to tell you that I am recovering very well. I will soon be back in Brazil to finish recovering. I want to thank you for all of your support, for all of the caring messages that I received. Thank you everyone. Thank you very much."

Ruschel was aboard the BAe146 flight when it smashed into a mountainside, after reportedly running out of fuel and suffering electric problems.

Wreckage from the crash in Colombia Credit: RTV

The team had been travelling to the final of the Copa Sudamericana football tournament after a stellar rise through the ranks. Despite never getting to play the match, the team has been awarded the title following the tragedy.

His sister Alissen, posting to social media, echoed his thanks to supporters - describing his recovery as "astronomical" and "miraculous".

She revealed he does not remember anything about the crash - and one of the first things he asked was whether anybody else had been hurt.

Ruschel is believed to have undergone spinal surgery due to his injuries. Seventy-one others, including most of his teammates, trainers and coaches along with several journalists and crew members, perished in the crash.

Six people survived - five of whom, including two of Ruschel's fellow players, a journalist and a Bolivian crew member, remain in hospital.

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Goalie Jackson Follman had to have his right leg amputated, while doctors said defender Helio Neto was recovering from severe trauma to his skull, thorax and lungs.

Journalist Rafael Valmorbida suffered multiple rib fractures which caused a partial lung collapse.

The two crew members did not suffer serious injuries, the hospital has said, and one - Erwin Tumiri - has been discharged and has returned home to Santa Cruz.

Authorities in Bolivia have suspended flight operator LaMia's licence and detained its chief executive, while Brazilian prosecutors have said they would be working with colleagues in Colombia and Bolivia to investigate the crash.

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