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Soccer team’s plane found 54 years after crashing – SportsUntapped.com
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Added February 16th, 2015 by Ian

Soccer team’s plane found 54 years after crashing
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Over half a century has gone by since members of a Chilean soccer team went missing on a flight over the Andes mountain range. The squad was traveling in a Douglas DC-3 54 years ago and crashed, unfortunately with 25 people onboard. Three of the passengers were referees and all of those onboard lost their lives. However, earlier in February the crash site was finally found when several mountaineers happened to come upon it.

The plane went down back in 1961 and at the time the LAN 301 air disaster crash was considered to be one of the world’s biggest air crashes which involved athletes. Un fortunately there have been a few more since, with a team of professional ice hockey players losing their lives in a Russian disaster in being one of them. In addition, there was also a well-documented crash of a Uruguayan rugby team which went down with their flight in the Andes in October of 1972. In that instance, there were survivors who reportedly resorted to cannibalism to stay alive. Sixteen of them were rescued two months after the crash.

The whereabouts of the Chilean crash had been puzzling experts for over five decades and it appeared it would forever go down in history as an unsolved mystery. The crash site was eventually found approximately 200 miles from Chile’s capital city of Santiago. According to a member of the expedition that stumbled upon the wreckage, “The plane is more than 10,000 feet above sea level. A large part of the fuselage is still intact and a lot of material including human bones are scattered around the wreck.”

Officials in Chile were keeping relatively quiet about the exact location of the plane since they didn’t want an influx of tourists to visit it. They remarked, “This story is being rewritten because they’re not where official publications indicated. We don’t want this place to be defiled and the remains taken as trophies. You have to remember people died here and their families deserve respect.”

The team which was aboard the plane was known as the Green Cross football club. There were two Douglas DC-3 planes flying to Santiago following the team’s cup game against the Osorno Selección club on Ap. 1st, 1961. The contest ended in a 1-1 draw and some of the club’s players chose to take the second plane home even though it was scheduled to make a few stops on the journey back to Santiago. However, most of the first-team players opted to fly on the doomed first plane.

After the crash, the club still managed to field a team to play the second leg of their cup tie against Osorno Selección and were beaten 1-0. The Green Cross team was created back in 1916 and they finished in 12th place in their 14-team league the year of the crash and were relegated. However, in 1964 the club was promoted back into the top division of Chilean football. A year later the club merged with the Deportes Temuco team and the new side was called Green Cross Temuco.

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