Tragic: Some of the worst disasters in the history of sports

On this day, in 2001, a terrible stampede that broke out during the Accra Hearts of Oak vs Kumasi Asante Kotoko leading to over 125 deaths. We take a look at other dreadful disasters that have occurred in the world of sports.

The Hillsborough Stadium Stampede

Policemen rescue soccer fans at Hillsborough stadium April 15, 1989 when 96 fans were crushed to death and hundreds injured after support railings collapsed during a match between Liverpool and Nottingham ForestPolicemen rescue soccer fans at Hillsborough stadium April 15, 1989 when 96 fans were crushed to death and hundreds injured after support railings collapsed during a match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest. Pic/AFP

Dubbed Britain’s worst sports disaster, this 1989 stampede saw at least 96 football supporters killed and over 200 more injured. The tragedy took place at Hillsborough stadium in Sheffield during the FA Cup semi-final between Nottingham Forest and Liverpool after a wall collapsed during a stampede by Liverpool supporters. The crush is said to have resulted from too many Liverpool fans being allowed in to the back of an already full stand at the Leppings Lane end of the ground. Some fans have said bad ticket allocation contributed to the disaster. Liverpool has far more supporters than Nottingham Forest but were given 6,000 fewer tickets and allocated the smaller Leppings Lane stand.

Terrorist attack on Sri Lankan cricketers - 3 Mar 2009

Sangakkara with his wife, Mahela Jayawardene, Ajantha Mendis and (L-R) Kumar Sangakkara with his wife Yehali, Mahela Jayawardene, Ajantha Mendis and Tharanga Paranavitana. (Pic/ AFP)

The Sri Lankan cricket team bus was attacked by terrorists while travelling to Gadaffi for their second Test match against Pakistan. 12 gunmen of the terrorist outfit Lashkar-e-Jhangvi awaited a bus, carrying Sri Lankan cricketers when they were travelling to Gadaffi stadium in Lahore, to play the second Test against Pakistan. As the bus passed, the militants opened fire at the bus. Pakistan police returned fire and in the process 6 policemen and 2 civilians died. Several Sri Lankan cricketers were severely injured namely Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara,Thilan Samaraweera, Tharanga Paranavitana, Chaminda Vaas, Ajantha Mendis and Suranga Lakmal.

SS Bokhara disaster – 10 Oct 1892
A P&O ship known as the SS Bokhara sank off-coast of Sand Island in Taiwan due to a disastrous typhoon. This shipwreck claimed a total of 125 lives, eleven of who were members of the Hong Kong national cricket team. The team were returning home after a cricket match a week earlier against Shanghai.

Munich Olympics massacre – 5-6 Sept 1972

munich disaster
A commemoration plate for the victims of the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre in front of the house in Connollystrasse 31, where the Israeli team stayed during the Olympic Games, in Munich, southern Germany. Pic/ AFP

 During the ongoing Summer Olympics in Munich, a Palestinian group known as ‘Black September’ held 11 members of the Israel Olympics team hostage and demanded the release of 234 of their political prisoners who were held at a jail in Israel. The terrorist killed 6 Israeli coaches and 5 Israeli athletes. A total of 17 were reported dead which also included 5 Black September members and a German police officer.

Accra Sports stadium disaster - 9 May 2001
129 football fans in Ghana died after a horrific stampede broke out during a game between Accra Hearts of Oak and Kumasi Asante Kotoko. The stampede broke out after the referee of the match gave a controversial decision. The police personnel present at the stadium began to fire teargas which led to the aggravating the incident.

Southern Airways Flight 932 disaster – 14 Nov 1970
A chartered United States jet plane flying from North Carolina to West Virginia crashed into tree tops on a hill in an attempt to land after an alert regarding bad weather conditions. The plane carried a total of 75 people, 37 who were footballers of the Marshall University team. Following a loss to East Carolina Pirates, the team were on their way home; it was also one of the rare occasions the team travelled by flight. This disaster is recorded as the worst is U.S. sports history.

Superga air disaster – 4 May 1949
A plane carrying the entire Torino football team, also known as 11 Grande Torino, crashed into a wall of the Basilica of Superlaga on a hill of Turin due to bad weather conditions. The team were on their way back home after a friendly match in Portugal. 31 passengers on board were killed which included 18 players, 4 crew members and journalists.

Munich air disaster – 6 Feb 1958

Munich air disaster
The crowd pause for a minutes silence on the game nearest to the anniversary of the Munich Air Disaster before the English Premier League match between Manchester United and Fulham at Old Trafford. Pic/ AFP

A British European Airlines flight 609 crashed on its third attempt to take off from a slush-covered runway in West Germany. The plane carried members of the Manchester United football team who were returning home from a European Cup match. This crash killed a total of 23 people from the 44 on board.

Kathmandu stampede
The Kathmandu Stadium Disaster occurred on March 12, 1988, in Kathmandu, Nepal, during an association football match between Janakpur Cigarette Factory Ltd and Liberation Army of Bangladesh for the 1988 Tribhuvan Challenge Shield. At least 93 people were killed and 100 more were injured when fans attempted to flee from a hailstorm inside the national Dasarath Rangasala Stadium. The Kathmandu stadium disaster is the 4th biggest stadium disaster (in terms of human loss), and the worst stadium disaster in Nepal.

1964 Lima soccer riot stampede
At least 300 football fans were killed and another 500 injured in one of the worst sports tragedies in Latin America. This tragedy took place at the National Stadium in Lima, Peru, in 1964 during a Peru vs Argentina Olympic qualifying match. The incident took place after the referee disallowed a Peruvian goal. Fights broke out, and people looking to exit the arena were stuck. Horrible crowd control measures exacerbated the situation.

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