Tragedy struck the Brazilian soccer team Chapecoense late Monday when a plane carrying a majority of the players crashed near Medellin, Colombia. Officials said 81 people were aboard the aircraft and believed just six survived.
Colombia's National Air Guard confirmed that Associação Chapecoense de Futebol players Jackson Follman, Alan Ruschel and Helio Hermito Zampier Neto were among the survivors of the air disaster, according to an ESPN report. Flight attendant Ximena Suarez, crew member Erwin Tumiri and journalist Rafael Henzel Valmorbida were the other three who reportedly survived the deadly crash.
Chapecoense, a small club in the southern state of Santa Catarina, was having a dream season in Brazil's top league and had advanced last week to the final of the major Copa Sudamericana tournament. "May God accompany our athletes, officials, journalists and other guests traveling with our delegation," the club said in a statement Tuesday on Facebook, as translated by ESPN.
Unfortunately, the Chapecoense crash is not the first such disaster involving a sports team. Listed below are a number of notable such plane accidents that have involved high-profile teams like Manchester United and Marshall University football:
1958: Manchester United
Described by the club as the "darkest day," in February 1958 a plane carrying players from one of the world's most famous soccer teams crashed after a failed takeoff in Munich, Germany. Twenty-three people died, including eight United players and three club staffers.
1961: United States figure skating team
All 18 members of the American figure skating team were killed in a crash in Belgium en route to World Figure Skating Championships in Prague. Investigators never definitively determined the cause of the incident.
1970: Marshall University football
Thirty-seven members of Marshall University's football team, as well as eight coaches, 25 program boosters, eight coaches and five crew members, died in a November 1970 plane crash that nobody onboard the aircraft survived. The team was heading back to campus in Huntington, West Virginia from a game in North Carolina.
2001: Oklahoma State University men's basketball
Ten people — including two Oklahoma State men's basketball players and six of the university's staffers — died after a small aircraft crashed some 40 miles east of Denver in January 2001. "This is indeed a very sad day for Oklahoma State University," then-president James Halligan said in a statement.
2004: Hendrick Motorsports
Ten people died after a small aircraft crashed just outside Blue Ridge Regional Airport in Virginia. Among the dead were Hendrick Motorsports team president John Hendrick and NASCAR driver Ricky Hendrick.
2011: Lokomotiv Yaroslavl
The entire Russian hockey club Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, one of the country's top franchises, died in a plane crash that left 44 people dead in September 2011. The plane caught fire shortly after takeoff in western Russia.
2011: Oklahoma State University women's basketball
In a cruel twist of fate, in November 2011 another deadly plane crash struck Oklahoma state's basketball community. Oklahoma State's women’s basketball coach and an assistant coach were killed when the pilot of their small plane lost control of the craft and crashed in Arkansas.