50 Years After It Went Down, Wreckage Found From Plane Carrying Chilean Soccer Team

Wreckage from the plane was found scattered on the crash site along with human bones.

Cordillera de los Andes

Fiftty years ago, eight players of Chile’s top-division soccer team “Green Cross” were flying back to Santiago after playing a match in Osorno, when their flight went missing.

The plane mysteriously disappeared, and after several weeks of fruitless search, everyone aboard was assumed dead. The players and team staff were never heard from again. 

However, a group of mountain climbers recently came across some wreckage in Andes, Chile, and it turns out to belong to the flight that went down half a century ago. The mountaineers found it in Maule, about 300 kilometers south of Santiago.

LAN Chile Douglas DC-3 went missing in April 3, 1961, with 34 passengers on board. The passengers included the soccer team, coach Arnaldo Vasquez, and other team staff and friends.

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“It was an overwhelming moment and we felt all kinds of sensations. One could feel the energy of the location and breathe in the pain,” one of the mountaineers, Leonardo Albornoz, explained.

He further said that the plane is more than 10,000 feet up the mountain, and some fuselage is still present at the site, scattered along with debris and human bones. These mountaineers refuse to give away the exact location of the crash site for the fear of it being desecrated.

Chile Douglas isn’t the only aviation accident to claim athletes' lives. Just three years before this plane crash, eight players from Manchester United died in the Munich plane crash.