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)
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)
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)
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’.