A plane that crashed in the mountains of Colombia, killing 71 people, including members of a Brazilian football team, may have run out of fuel, a Colombian military source told AFP.

"It is very suspicious that despite the impact there was no explosion. That reinforces the theory of the lack of fuel," the source said Tuesday.

Six people miraculously survived the crash Monday night, but the disaster virtually wiped out an up-and-coming Brazilian football team and sent shock waves through the world of football.

Football legends Pele and Maradona as well as current superstars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo led tributes to the players of Chapecoense Real, a humble team whose march to glory was cut abruptly short.

Having risen only recently from obscurity, the team was on its way to play in the finals of the Copa Sudamericana, South America's second-biggest club tournament, when disaster struck.

"The pain is terrible. Just as we had made it, I will not say to the top, but to have national prominence, a tragedy like this happens," club vice-president Ivan Tozzo told Globo SporTV.

"It is very difficult, a very great tragedy."

The charter plane reported "electrical failures" around 10:00 pm Monday (0300 GMT Tuesday) and crashed soon after near the city of Medellin, its destination, officials said.

The plane's black box recorders have been found, but there was no word on how long it would take to analyze them.

The dead included most of the team and 20 Brazilian journalists traveling to cover the match.

The six survivors are being treated in hospital, officials said.

- Spared by chance -

Colombia's civil aviation authority initially said 75 people were killed. But it later emerged that four people on the passenger manifest had not boarded the plane -- a club official, a journalist, the mayor of the team's hometown and the speaker of the state assembly.

- Last images -

Footage of the club on board the plane before take-off aired on TV channel Gigavision in Bolivia, where the team departed from the city of Santa Cruz after taking a commercial flight from Brazil.

Coach Mauro Stumpf told the TV network he hoped the plane would "bring (us) luck" like it did when the team flew with the same company to a quarter-final match last month.