10 Plane Crashes That Have Claimed Lives of Athletes
1.The Brazilian football team’s fairytale rise that ended in tragedy
The fairytale rise of Brazil’s Chapecoense, from small football club to national heroes, was cut tragically short in November 2016, leaving the country mourning the loss of one of its most endearing sports teams.
The plane carrying the Brazilian team to the biggest game in its history was en route from Bolivia to Colombia when it crashed in Rionegro, near Medellin, killing 71 people. Six survived the accident, according to authorities. Chapecoense defender Alan Luciano Ruschel was among the survivors.
A total of 43 of the 71 killed were part of the Chapeconse delegation (19 players, 17 club staff members, 7 people from the board of directors and 4 Fox Sports Brazil journalists), making it the deadliest disaster for a single team ever recorded.
2.The Uruguayan rugby team that crashed in the Andes Mountains and were lost for 72 days
On October 13, 1972, 45 passengers were aboard Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 when it hit a mountain range shrouded in mist as it flew from Santiago to Montevideo. Twelve men died on impact, another five within hours, and one more a week later. Tragedy struck again on October 17 when an avalanche killed eight more of the passengers.
The survivors had little food and no source of heat in the harsh conditions at over 3,600 meters (11,800 ft) altitude. Faced with starvation and radio news reports that the search had been abandoned, those who lived fed on the dead passengers who had been preserved in the snow.
Rescuers did not learn of the survivors until 72 days after the crash until Nando Parrado and Dr. Canessa set out to find help and stumbled across Chilean Sergio Catalán who gave them food and then alerted authorities.
3.The Zambian national soccer team that lost 17 members and took 20 years to win again
In 1993 a military aircraft carrying Zambia’s national soccer team to a World Cup qualifying match crashed into the sea. All 25 passengers and five crew members were killed, including 18 players, as well as the team coach and support staff. A Gabonese official investigation into the accident concluded that the pilot had shut down the wrong engine after a fire.
In 2012, Zambia won the Africa Cup of Nations in Libreville, only a few hundred meters from the crash site. The victory was dedicated to the ones who lost their lives in the tragedy. Zambia beat Côte d’Ivoire 8–7 in a penalty shoot-out after the game ended 0–0 after normal and added time.
4.The entire team of Russian ice hockey club Lokomotiv that was killed in plane crash
Five years have passed since the tragedy rocked Russia’s central city of Yaroslavl, where a plane crashed soon after taking off killing the Kontinental Hockey League’s (KHL) club Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, including the coaching staff and doctors.
The Yak-42 passenger jet crashed on September 7, 2011, seconds after taking off from the runway at Tunoshna Airport. It carried a total of 45 people on board: eight crew and 37 passengers — players, coaches, and doctors of the Lokomotiv ice hockey club, who were on the way to a match in the Belarussian capital of Minsk. Everyone on board was killed except for flight engineer Aleksandr Sizov — he was the sole survivor.
5.The Torino soccer team that was killed in a 1949 plane crash
The Superga air disaster took place in May 1949 when a plane carrying the entire Torino A.C. football team (popularly known as Il Grande Torino) crashed into Superga Hill near Turin, Italy killing all 31 people aboard. 18 players, club officials, journalists accompanying the team.
Il Grande Torino was by far the strongest football team in Italy (it had won 4 National Championships in a row, from 1945 to 1949) and one of the strongest teams in the world. Of the entire squad, only three players remained: Sauro Tomà, who missed the trip to Portugal due to injury, László Kubala, who missed the fatal trip to stay with his family and Luigi Giuliano, who didn’t obtain a passport.
6.The plane crash that rocked US figure skating
In February 1961, the entire 18-member US Figure Skating team was killed in a plane crash in Berg-Kampenhout, Belgium. The team was on its way to the 1961 World Figure Skating Championships in Prague, Czechoslovakia.
Among those killed in the crash was 16-year-old Laurence Owen, who had won the US Figure Skating Championship the previous month. Bradley Long, the 1961 U.S. men’s champion, also perished in the crash, as did Maribel Owen (Laurence’s sister) and Dudley Richards, the 1961 pairs champions, and Diane Sherbloom and Larry Pierce, the 1961 ice dancing champions. In addition to the skaters, 16 people accompanying them, including family, friends, coaches and officials, were killed. The other 38 passengers and crew aboard Sabena Flight 548, which left New York on the night of February 14, also died when the plane went down around 10 a.m. in clear weather while attempting to make a scheduled stopover landing at the Belgian National Airport in Brussels.
Prior to the crash, the UShad won the men’s gold medal at every Olympics since 1948 (when Dick Button became the first American man to do so), while US women had claimed Olympic gold in 1956 and 1960. After the crash, an American woman (Peggy Fleming) would not capture Olympic gold until 1968, and a US man (Scott Hamilton) would not do so until 1984.
The incident was the worst air disaster involving an American sports team until November 1970, when 37 players on the Marshall University football team were killed in a plane crash in West Virginia.
7. Manchester United Soccer Team
Today, Manchester United is one of the most popular soccer teams in the world and has worldwide brand recognition. In 1958, though, the team was wiped out in a truly tragic plane crash.
Flying from from a European Cup match against Red Star Belgrade, the plane carrying Man U – also known as the “Busby Babes,” stopped in Munich, Germany, to refuel. Once the refueling was complete, the pilots tried and aborted two takeoff attempts because of some difficulties with the engine amid worsening weather conditions. By the time the pilots made a third attempt to take off, it had begun to snow, which caused a layer of slush to form at the end of the runway.
On the third attempt, the pilot got the plan moving, but when it hit that layer of slush, the plane lost a ton of speed, which meant that it would not be able to lift off. Instead, the plane skidded through the slush and barreled through a fence at the end of the runway. A wing was sheared off when it hit a house and the plane crashed.
23 of the 44 people on board died in the crash. Among the dead were eight of Man U’s players and three members of the team’s staff. The crash, and the deaths of its players, has left a dark, indelible mark on the soccer club that remains to this very day.
8. Puerto Rico Women’s National Volleyball Team
In preparation for the Central American and Caribbean Games being held in Panama in 1970, the Puerto Rican Women’s National Team played a friendly against the Dominican Republic.
Following the match, the team boarded a plane to head home. Shortly after takeoff from the airport in Santo Domingo though, the team’s plane crashed into the waters of the Caribbean Sea just off the coast of the Dominican Republic.
The crash killed all aboard, including most of the members of the Puerto Rican Women’s National team. The only member of the team who was not killed, was team captain Carmen Rosa Sabater, who left the day before.
9. U.S. Boxing Team
On March 14th, 1980, the world, and the world of amateur boxing, was stunned to learn that the U.S. Boxing team had been all but wiped out of existence following a tragic plane crash.
Traveling from New York to Warsaw to compete in events in preparation for the upcoming Olympic trials, the team’s spirits were high and with a number of very talented athletes, they were looking forward to the future.
Following an exchange with the tower in which the pilots requested a go around to check on a potential problem with their landing gear, the plane entered an uncontrolled descent for unknown reasons. The plane’s right wing clipped a tree, and the plane impacted the frozen over moat of a 19th century Polish fortress where it disintegrated. Through a tremendous effort, the pilot did manage to avoid hitting a correctional facility for teenagers, but the loss of life was still staggering.
All told, 87 people were killed on the doomed flight including 14 American boxers, and eight staff members.
10. Hendrick Motorsports
For years, the Hendrick family has been a staple of the NASCAR circuit. They’ve been described as the kindest, most passionate family in the sport. In October 2004 though, a tragedy struck that rocked not just the family, but all of NASCAR to its very foundation.
On that cold, rainy October day, a small plane carrying eight members of the Hendrick Motorsports family, along with two pilots, took what was supposed to be a short flight from Concord, North Carolina to the speedway at Martinsville, Virginia, to attend a race. They never made it.
Attemping to land at the Blue Ridge Airport, the pilot of the plane, thanks to rain and fog, missed his first attempt, and circled back around to make another attempt at landing. Unfortunately, for a great many people, as the pilot circled around for another attempt, he slammed the plane into Bull Mountain, killing all on board.
Among the dead were Hendrick Motorsports team president John Hendrick, his twin daughters, Kimberly and Jennifer, Ricky Hendrick, who was the son of Rick Hendrick and possible heir apparent to the Hendrick Motorsports throne, GM Jeff Turner, and chief engine builder Randy Dorton.
Word of the tragedy broke midway through the race at Martinsville – a race won by Jimmie Johnson and the Hendrick Motorsports team – but all Victory Lane celebrations were canceled out of respect.
via Oddee.com & Thesportster.com