Torino (Italy), 1949
After playing a friendly match against Benfica in Lisbon, Torino flew back home in a Fiat F.212. Just prior to landing, the aircraft crashed against the Superga Basilica. A total of 31 people died – including 18 players and five members of the coaching staff. The following year Italy avoided flying to Brazil for the 1950 World Cup, and took boats instead.
Manchester United (England), 1958
Manchester United was flying back home after playing Red Star for Europe’s Cup. Twenty passengers died, including eight players.
Denmark Olympic Team, 1960
A jet chartered by the Danish Football Association crashed after taking off in Copenhagen. Only the pilot survived. Eight players died.
Green Cross (Chile), 1961
Chilean team Green Cross was flying to Santiago when it crashed in the Andes. Twenty-four people died – including eight players, the head coach, and a physical therapist. Chilean authorities discovered the site of the accident only in 2015.
The Strongest (Bolivia), 1969
The team was flying from Santa Cruz de La Sierra to Bolivian capital La Paz when their plane just vanished from the radars. Authorities found the plane on the next day, with all 74 people onboard dead.
Marshall University (United States), 1970
A chartered jet carrying most of the Marshall University football team crashed into a hillside. The team was returning from a game against East Carolina University (a 17-14 loss). Thirty-seven Marshall football players were onboard, along with most of the coaching staff and doctors. In 2006, the film We Are Marshall, starring Matthew McConaughey depicted the aftermath of the tragedy.
Uruguayan Rugby Team, 1972
A chartered flight carrying 45 people, including a rugby union team, their friends, family, and associates, crashed in the Andes. Over one-quarter of the team died in the accident; other succumbed to the cold and injuries. The last 16 survivors were rescued two months later. With little food and no source of heat, they fed on the bodies of dead passengers preserved in the snow. In 1993, a feature film called Alive was based on the story.
Pakhtakor Tashkent (Uzbekistan), 1979
The Pakhtakor Tashkent delegation was going to play at Minsk. While flying over Ukraine, the aircraft crashed into an Aeroflot plane. All 178 passengers died, including 14 players and three members of the coaching staff.
Alianza Lima (Peru), 1987
The Peruvian team was flying from Pucallpa to Lima when it crashed into the Pacific Ocean. Sixteen players and all of the team’s staff died.
Colorful 11 (Suriname), 1989
A group of Dutch Surinamese players who played in the Netherlands formed a team, Colorful 11, to play in a friendly match at Paramaribo. The plane crash during landing. Out of the 178 people on board, only 11 survived – including three players. Another 15 players died. Stars like Ruud Gullit and Frank Rijkaard didn’t have permission from their teams to play, and had avoided the trip.
Zambia’s National Team, 1993
The national team flew to Senegal for a World Cup qualifier match. The plane, however, crashed over the Gabonese coast, killing all 30 people on board – 18 players and staff members.
Chapecoense (Brazil), 2016
The plane carrying Chapecoense crashed when approaching Medellín. At least 75 people died. Twenty-two players were in the flight by Bolivian company Lamia. Twenty-two journalists from Fox TV, Globo, and local stations were among the passengers.