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The 5 Worst Football Air Disasters of all time

Soumyadeep Paul

Tragedy struck in devastating proportions late on Monday night. A Bolivian charter plane called Lamia carrying players of Brazilian local side Chapecoense crashed on its course to Colombia. Against this backdrop, The Sportsrush takes a look at the 5 worst football air disasters of all time.

1. Munich Air Disaster

This disaster remains etched as an important, though tragic part of Manchester United’s history. On the ill fated date of 6 February 1958, the British European Airways flight 609 carrying the Manchester United squad met with this accident.

The flight crashed during its third attempt to take off after hitting the slush and colliding with a house at the side of the runway. The initial attempts had been foiled due to boost surging in the left engine. Evacuation was started, but not before 20 of the 44 total crew members had lost their lives.

The 5 Worst Football Air Disasters of all time

To pay homage to the deceased players, Manchester United held a minute of silence on the 50th anniversary of the disaster. The memorial clock in the Old Trafford was also stopped as a token of remembrance and respect.

2. Superga Air Disaster

On May 4 1949, in the first disaster of its kind involving association football teams, the Torino football team met with tragedy. Being carried by a Fiat G.212 aircraft of the Italian Airlines, it crashed into the wall of Superga. This was owing to the low visibility.

The crash of Superga claimed the lives of 31 victims. Among these were many members of the Italian football team as well. The reason of the crash was attributed to the malfunctioning of the aircraft’s altmeter.

3. Zambia National Football Team Air Disaster

Another of the 5 worst football air disasters of all time took place at the expense of the Zambian team. The plane was carrying the entire team to Dakar in Senegal for a FIFA World Cup Qualifying game. The flight crashed into the Atlantic Ocean just half a kilometre away from the shore at Gabon.

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Reports later revealed a lapse on the part of the pilot. He had accidentally switched off the wrong engine after a fire, which was a main reason for the crash. All the 25 players and staff members lost their lived in the crash.

4. Dniprodzerzhynsk Mid-Air Collision

In August 1979, the Pakhtakor FK soccer team had reached the Soviet Top League. Moreover, it was the only Uzbek soccer club to hold that distinction. Everything was rosy till the during a flight to play Dinamo Minsk where disaster struck.

During the course of the flight, the plane carrying Pakhtakor FK collided head-on with another plane over the Ukranian town of Dneprodzerzhinsk. The collision killed all 178 people aboard the flight. This accident occurred primarily due to miscommunication among the two pilots.

It was a tragedy that shook the foundations of Pakhtakor club to the very core. Also, the entire Soviet soccer league would never be the same again.

5. LAN Chile Flight 210

This was definitely one of the 5 worst football air disasters of all time. The LAN Chile Flight 210, flying from Castro to Santiago disappeared in the Andes out of thin air. The flight was carrying 8 footballers and 2 coaching staff members.

The last recorded message from the pilot reported ice covering the wings and propellers. The flight would meet a fatal end with 24 total fatalities. Since then, there have been sightings of human remains. Much recently in February last year, the aircraft’s fuselage was discovered after more than 50 years in the Andes.

About the author

Soumyadeep Paul

Soumyadeep Paul


I am Soumyadeep, a sportsman by birth and a MBA by choice. I love to play, watch, follow and analyze sports. Writing is another passion of mine and that is what excites me to be a part of The SportsRush. Please reach out to me for views, comments, bouquets and brickbats.

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