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Today marks 63 years since the Munich Air Disaster that killed eight Manchester United players

The Munich air disaster occurred on 6th February 1958 when British European Airways Flight 609 crashed on its third attempt to take off from Munich-Riem Airport.

The Airspeed AS.57 Ambassador aircraft skidded off the end of the runway on the third attempt to take off, crashing into the fence surrounding the airport and across a road before its port wing torn off as it caught a house.


Part of the airplane's tail was torn off before the left side of the cockpit hit a tree. The right side of the fuselage hit a wooden hut, inside which was a truck filled with tires and fuel, which exploded.

Of the 44 people on board the plane, 20 died at the scene while three others, including co-pilot Captain Kenneth Rayment and Manchester United player Duncan Edwards, passed away in the ensuing weeks as a result of their injuries.


In total, eight Manchester United players (Geoff Bent, Roger Byrne, Eddie Colman, Duncan Edwards, Mark Jones, David Pegg, Tommy Taylor, Billy Whelan) were killed.

The crash was originally blamed on pilot error, but it was later found to have been caused by slush towards the end of the runway which slowed the aircraft from reaching speeds.


German airport authorities took legal action against Captain Thain, who had survived the crash. The airport authorities claimed he had taken off without clearing the wings of ice, which caused the crash despite several witnesses stating that no ice had been seen on the wing.

Manchester United Football Club settled a legal action against the British European Airways out of court.


Tonight on the day of the anniversary United will be hosting Everton on an English premier league match. There will be a minute’s silence before the game, which kicks off at 20:00 GMT, with both captains laying wreaths in memory of those who died. Both teams will also wear black armbands.

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