Superga air disaster
|Date||4 May 1949|
|Summary||Controlled flight into terrain due to low visibility|
|Site||near Turin, Italy|
|Aircraft type||Fiat G.212 CP|
|Operator||Avio Linee Italiane|
|Flight origin||Lisbon, Portugal|
The Superga air disaster occurred on 4 May 1949 when the Fiat G.212 of Avio Linee Italiane (Italian Airlines), carrying the entire Torino football team crashed into the retaining wall at the back of the Basilica of Superga, which stands on the hill of Turin. 31 people died in the crash.
After refuelling at Barcelona, the plane carrying the team flew into a thunderstorm on the approach to Turin and encountered conditions of low cloud and poor visibility. They were forced to descend to be able to fly visually. While descending for Turin, the aircraft crashed against the base of the rear wall of the Basilica of Superga complex at the top of the hill. Italian authorities cited low cloud, poor radio aids and an error in navigation as factors contributing to the accident.
The emotional impact of the crash on Italian sports fans was profound, as it claimed the lives of the players of a team which had won five successive Serie A titles, tying the all-time record, and seriously weakened the Italian national team, which had included up to 10 Torino players. Torino itself would not claim another title until 1976.
At the time of the crash, Torino was leading Serie A with four games left to play in the season. The club carried on by fielding its youth team and in a sign of respect their opponents in each of these matches (Genoa, Palermo, Sampdoria, and Fiorentina) also fielded their youth sides. The youth team won each of the matches and the Scudetto.
Of the entire squad only three players remained: Sauro Tomà missed the trip to Portugal due to injury. Hungarian László Kubala, who was to give a guest performance in Lisbon, had just been re-united with his wife and son; the boy was ill and Kubala stayed back to help care for him, missing the fatal trip. Luigi Giuliano, a youth team player who had earlier in the season played several games and scored four goals for the main squad, did not obtain a passport in time and also survived.
On 26 May, 1949, there was a charity game for the victims' families between Torino Simbolo ("Torino-Symbol") made up of the remaining best of Serie A, and South American giants River Plate of Argentina. "La Maquina" had such immortal players as Norberto Yacono, Alfredo di Stefano and Angel Labruna. The game ended in a 2–2 draw.
- Memorial museum page (in Italian)