Tragic Disasters in the World of Sports

This is a follow up to ‘10 Terrible Disasters in Sports World’. This list is in (descending) order based on the years that the tragedies took place.

10 More Tragic Disasters in the World of Sports

10. HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS PLANE CRASH (2004)

10 More Tragic Disasters in the World of Sports (Part 1)
Tragic Disasters in the World of Sports

 

It’s been 10 years since NASCAR suffered its worst tragedy. On 24 October 2004, 10 people boarded the plane for a 35 minutes trip to attend a Nextel Cup (now Sprint Cup) race at Martinsville, Virginia. The passengers included several key Hendrick Motorsports staff, including team president John Hendrick and owner Ricky Hendrick. But they never made it to the match as their plane crashed into Bull Mountain, seven miles from their destination. Later investigation pointed out that wadding through the foggy weather the pilots failed to execute an instrument approach procedure and failed to use all navigational aids to confirm the airplane’s position.

News about the crash reached halfway through the race. And although Hendrick Motorsports won the race (Jimmie Johnson was the racer) victory ceremonies were cancelled.

9. ELLIS PARK STADIUM STAMPEDE (2001)

10 More Tragic Disasters in the World of Sports (Part 1)
Tragic Disasters in the World of Sports

The local Soweto derby association football match between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates attracted hundreds of spectators at the Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa. Although the stadium was brimming with spectators an additional 30,000 fans were trying to get inside. And when the Orlando Pirates scored an equaliser and what followed shouldn’t be surprising. All hell broke loosed as fans went insane and pushed inside to witness what was happening. They overspilled into press boxes, a stampede followed and 43 people were crushed death. Investigations later suggested that 120,000 fans were admitted into the stadium. And that the untrained security guards trying to bring the situation under control by firing tear gas may have caused some of the deaths or at least had made the situation worse. But of course the South African Police Department denies these claims.

8. ZAMBIA NATIONAL FOOTBALL TEAM AIR DISASTER (1993)

10 More Tragic Disasters in the World of Sports (Part 1)
Tragic Disasters in the World of Sports

The Zambian national football team were journeying to the FIFA World Cup Qualifier against Senegal in a Zambian Air Force de Havilland Canada DHC-5D Buffalo when it crashed nosed down right into the Atlantic Ocean. The plane was scheduled to make three refuelling stops and it was during the very first stop in Brazzaville that engine problems were noted. Then when they tried to take-off from their second stop, the engine caught fire and failed. The pilot suffering from fatigue switched off the wrong engine causing the entire plane to snoop down into the ocean.

30 people died including footballer, coaching staffs and crew members died. Members of the national team were buried outside the Independence Stadium in Lusaka what today is known as the ‘Heroes’ Acre’.

7. ARMAND CÉSARI STADIUM DISASTER (1992)

10 More Tragic Disasters in the World of Sports (Part 1)
Tragic Disasters in the World of Sports

 

It occurred during the French Cup semi-final match between SC Bastia and Olympique de Marseille. The terrace of the stadium collapsed killing 18 and injuring 2300 more. At the time, Marseille was considered a top-notch team in France and therefore the Bastia board decided to take advantage to fill in that big hole in their pockets. Despite being aware of the capacity of the stadium they increased the number of seats by 50 goddamn percent. Obviously, with such an asshole idea, disaster was inevitable.

An investigation followed and a number of fallings came to light – from Structural problems to carelessness of local authorities. Management of ticketing, construction of temporary terrace, offhandedness of municipal and sports executives – all came under fire. After the trial a number of people were found responsible for the accident and had to serve short sentences.

6. OPPENHEIMER STADIUM DISASTER (1991)

10 More Tragic Disasters in the World of Sports (Part 1)
Tragic Disasters in the World of Sports

 

Also known as the Orkney Disaster (because the stadium was located in the city of Orkney in South Africa’s North West province) was one of the worst sporting incidents in South African history. It occurred during a “friendly” association football match between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates. While the stadium had a capacity of only 23,000, around 7000 more fans were admitted. When the referee upheld a goal scored by the Chiefs, supporters became furious and chaos followed. Allegedly Pirates fans attacked Chiefs fans with knife, cans and even fruits. At the end 42 people had died and many more injured.

5. ALIANZA LIMA AIR Tragedy (1987)

10 More Tragic Disasters in the World of Sports (Part 1)
Tragic Disasters in the World of Sports

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Tragedy struck when on December 8, 1987 a Peruvian Navy Fokker F27-400M aircraft carrying Peruvian football club Alianza Lima crashed right into the Pacific Ocean six miles short of its destination.   It was carrying 44 players, managers, staff, cheerleaders, and crewmembers – all of whom died except for the pilot who miraculously managed to survive.  It was disastrous for Alianza, who lost an incredibly promising team while returning from a Peruvian league match in Pucallpa.

The incident occurred at a time when the country was dealing with Sendero Luminoso terrorist movement. People demanded to know what had occurred but to everyone’s surprise the Navy did not release the results of its investigation and denied request of private investigation too. It wasn’t until 2006 it was revealed that the pilot lacked night flying experience. Added to this, his misreading of the emergency procedures related to the landing gear issue, as well as the aircraft’s poor mechanical condition – all lead to a disastrous crash. No wonder the Navy was ashamed to reveal results of the investigation.

4. ZAMALEK DISASTER (1974)

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Tragic Disasters in the World of Sports

 

The Zamalek disaster was one of those several black spot in the history of Football but the thing with this tragedy is that it occurred before the match had even started. Following a change of venue for a football friendly match at the Zamalek Stadium in Cairo between Zamalek SC of Egypt and Dukla Prague of Czechoslovakia, fans flocked to the newly chosen stadium. The previous stadium being bigger, supporters were afraid they wouldn’t get enough seats. The stadium could only afford 40,000 spectators whereas 80,000 fans were trying to charge in. Walls started crumbling, people started falling over each other which resulted in approximately 50 deaths and 50 more injured.

3. BURNDEN PARK DISASTER (1946)

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Tragic Disasters in the World of Sports

 

At a particular match, the Burnden Park football stadium was flooded with 85,000 excess audiences who began spilling onto the pitch. The match was an FA Cup Quarter-final second-leg tie between Bolton and Stoke City and the place being the home of Bolton Wanderers, tons and tons of Bolton fans turned up to cheer for their home-team. Expectedly overcrowding causing a stampede killing 33 people and injuring hundreds of spectators. At the time the Burnden Park Disaster was called the deadliest stadium-related disaster in British history up until the Ibrox Park disaster occurred in 1971.

Following this tragedy the Moelwyn Hughes’s official report was brought forth that recommended rigorous control of crowd sizes. After the Bolton Wanderers moved to a new ground, a memorial was built at the site and today the place functions as a market.

2. IBROX DISASTER (1902)

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Tragic Disasters in the World of Sports

 

On a fine April day in 1902 at Ibrox Park (now Ibrox Stadium) in Glasgow, Scotland a football match going on between Scotland and England when suddenly the stand collapsed. It was the back of the newly built West Tribune Stand that collapsed owing to heavy rainfall the previous night.  After 51 minutes of the match, people suddenly felt the ground under their feet giving away. And down they plunged 40 feet to the ground below killing 25 people and 517 injuries.

The tragedy had major discussions on how stand should be constructed. Previously wooden terracing supported the steel girder frame of the stand which, following the accident was changed to earthworks or reinforced concrete. Such changes were made throughout the United Kingdom.

But still accidents kept recurring at Ibrox years after years. In 1961 two people were killed in a crush on the stairway then again in 1967 and 1969 several people were injured in two more incidents.

1. IBROX DISASTER (1971)

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Tragic Disasters in the World of Sports

 

As mentioned above, following a number of accidents at Ibrox £150,000 was spent over the stadium for improvements. But still, in January 2nd 1971, a crush among the crowd at an Old Firm football game led to 66 deaths and over 200 injured. It occurred at an exit stairway at Ibrox Park (now Ibrox Stadium) in Glasgow Scotland and was considered the worst British football disaster of the time.

It so happened that a match between Rangers and Celtic was becoming disappointing for the Ranger fans who got up and headed towards the exit. But in the final moments of the match, the Rangers scored an equaliser and thousands of spectators who were leaving the ground by stairway-13 turned back when the crowd began cheering at the equaliser. Rumours have it that a child being carried on his father’s shoulders fell, causing a massive chain-reaction when people started falling on each other.  Most of the fans died due to compressive asphyxia with their bodies stacked up one another.

10 More Tragic Disasters in the World of Sports (Part 1)

1. IBROX DISASTER (1971)
2. IBROX DISASTER (1902)
3. BURNDEN PARK DISASTER (1946)
3. BURNDEN PARK DISASTER (1946)
5. ALIANZA LIMA AIR Tragedy (1987)
6. OPPENHEIMER STADIUM DISASTER (1991)
7. ARMAND CÉSARI STADIUM DISASTER (1992)
8. ZAMBIA NATIONAL FOOTBALL TEAM AIR DISASTER (1993)
9. ELLIS PARK STADIUM STAMPEDE (2001)
10. HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS PLANE CRASH (2004