6 teams wiped out by plane crashes

busby-babesLONDON: The plane crash in Colombia involving Brazilian football team Chapecoense Real that killed 76 people is far from the first such tragedy to strike the world of sport.

Here is a look at six other disasters:

Italy’s Torino Grande: 1949

A plane carrying famed Italian football club ‘Torino Grande’ crashed on its way back from Portugal on May 4, 1949, killing all 31 passengers and crew. A reported million people poured into the streets of Turin to bid farewell to their heroes. Torino Grande were named Italian champions for the fifth time in a row. The crash had a devastating impact on the Italian national squad as Torino players were its pillars.

Manchester United’s Busby Babes: 1958

The two-time defending English champions had just reached the European Cup semi-finals with a win in Belgrade, but their plane went down in a snowstorm on February 6, 1958 after a refuelling stop in Munich.

Eight of the ‘Busby Babes’ — named after manager Matt Busby — died, including star Duncan Edwards, along with three members of the staff. A total of 21 people perished. Busby himself received the last rites twice but remarkably recovered and 10 years later led a new squad of ‘Babes’ to European Cup glory.

US figure skating team: 1961

The entire 18-member team died when their plane crashed in Belgium on February 15, 1961, on their way to compete at the World Championships in the former Czechoslovakia. Three members of a skating family were among the victims: US ladies champion Laurence Owens, 16, her sister Maribel, 20, and their mother and coach Maribel Vinson-Owen, an Olympic bronze medallist.

Uruguayan rugby team: 1972

The Andes plane crash became an extraordinary story of survival. Forty members of Uruguay’s Old Christians rugby club were flying with relatives to Chile when their plane went down in the remote mountains on October 13, 1972. Eighteen people died immediately and another 11 succumbed later — many due to an avalanche that swept over the wreckage. Two survivors made a 10-day trek to a Chilean village to summon help and 16 were rescued more than two months after the disaster. They had resorted to cannibalism to stay alive.

Peru’s oldest football team: 1987

A Peruvian navy plane carrying 43 players and staff from Alianza Lima, the country’s oldest football team, plunged into the ocean off Lima on December 8, 1987.

The airliner was returning to the capital from the jungle city of Pucallpa when the pilot reported problems with the landing gear. He survived and was recovered after floating for hours in choppy seas.

Russian ice hockey team: 2011

The first-division Russian ice hockey team Lokomotiv Yaroslavl were wiped out — including Swedish star Stefan Liv — after their plane crashed just after taking off for a match in Minsk on September 7, 2011. Forty-four people died in all. One player survived the crash but died several days later, and only the flight engineer survived. An investigation found that one pilot had hit the brakes by accident, while the other had taken banned medication.