Four soccer players from Brazilian club Palmas died in a plane crash while travelling separately from the team after testing positive for the coronavirus, the club said.

The club’s president also died in the crash after the plane suddenly plunged to the ground at the end of the runway during take off in the northern state of Tocantins, the team reported. The pilot also died.

The players were on their way to Goiania, in the central region of the country, to play a match against Vila Nova.

The players were travelling in a private plane because they had tested positive for COVID-19, club spokesperson Izabela Martins told the Associated Press.

The victims were identified as president Lucas Meira and players – Lucas Praxedes, Guilherme No, Ranule and Marcus Molinari, the club said. The pilot was not identified. There were no survivors.

Palmas Futebol e Regatas was founded in 1997 and plays in Brazil’s fourth division.

The cause of the accident was not immediately known.

Tocantins fire officials reported that the twin-engine Baron model had a capacity of six occupants. When firefighters arrived at the crash site, 500 metres from the runway, the aircraft was being consumed by fire. At least two explosions were heard, according to the official report.

The Brazilian Football Confederation expressed its solidarity with Palmas’ family members and the club’s fans in an official note. – AP