Chapecoense Tragedy Joins Long List Of Sports Teams Lost To Plane Crashes

A plane carrying dozens of players and coaches from a Brazilian soccer team crashed into a Columbian hillside Monday night, killing at least 76 people. [Update: 77 people]

83 people were on the chartered flight that crashed outside of Medellin, Columbia. Most of who were on the plane were with Brazil’s Chapecoense soccer team, who were traveling from Bolivia to play in the final of the Copa Sudamericana tournament.

Such tragedies are always mind-numbing, especially when an entire sports team is lost. What makes the castrophe even worse is that such crashes continue to happen.

Chapecoense is just the latest team on an already long list of sports teams lost from plane crashes.

Here is a list of the most notable plane crashes involving sports teams throughout history. Probably the most notable in U.S. history was the loss of the Marshall football team in West Virginia in 1970, a crash that devestated and set back the program for decades.

AP News

A list of other sports teams involved in fatal plane crashes:

Nov. 8, 1948 — Czechoslovak national ice hockey team, five members including IIHF Hall of Famer Ladislav Trojak, in the English Channel.

May 4, 1949 — Italian soccer club Torino. The four-time league champions lost 22 members, including 18 players, in Turin, Italy.

Jan. 7, 1950 — Moscow VVS ice hockey team, 11 players, near Sverdlovsk.

Feb. 6, 1958 — English soccer champion Manchester United, eight members, in Munich.

Aug. 14, 1958 — Egyptian fencing team, six members, in the Atlantic Ocean.

Oct. 10, 1960 — Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo football team, 16 members, in Toledo, Ohio.

Feb. 16, 1961 — U.S. figure skating team, 18 members and 10 coaches and officials, in Belgium.

April 3, 1961 — Green Cross, eight members of the first-division Chilean soccer team plus two members of the coaching staff, in the Las Lastimas Mountains.

April 28, 1968 — Lamar Tech track team, five members and the coach, in Beaumont, Texas.

Sept. 26, 1969 — Bolivian soccer team “The Strongest,” coach Eustaquio Ortuno, 16 players and two staff members, near Viloco, Bolivia.

Oct. 2, 1970 — Wichita State football team, 14 players, in Colorado.

Nov. 14, 1970 — Marshall University football team, 36 players, in Huntington, West Virginia.

Oct. 13, 1972 — Uruguayan rugby club, among the 29 casualties, in the Andes, Chile.

Dec. 13, 1977 — University of Evansville men’s basketball coach Bobby Watson and 14 players, in Evansville, Indiana.

March 14, 1980 — U.S. amateur boxing team, 14 members, in Warsaw, Poland.

Nov. 25, 1985 — Iowa State women’s cross country team, coach Ron Renko, assistant coach Pat Moynihan, and team members Julie Rose, Susan Baxter and Sheryl Maahs, in Des Moines, Iowa.

Dec. 8, 1987 — Peruvian first-division soccer team Alianza Lima, coach Marcos Calderon and 16 players, in Lima, Peru.

April 28, 1993 — Zambia’s national soccer team, 18 players and five team officials, in Libreville, Gabon.

Jan. 27, 2001 — Oklahoma State basketball players Dan Lawson and Nate Fleming, and six team staffers and broadcasters, in Byers, Colorado.

Sept. 7, 2011 — Russian hockey team Lokomotiv, 27 players, two coaches and seven club officials, in Tunoshna, Russia.

More about the tragedy from Monday and what may have caused the crash can be read in this New York Times article.


Josh Helmuth is the editor of Crave Sports.

Photo: Getty