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Manchester United narrowly avoid scary – and eerily historic – airline incident

Nov 26, 2013, 5:33 PM EDT

Munich clock

Manchester United – of all teams – was involved in a scary mid-air incident Tuesday.

It happened in Germany – of all places.

The globally iconic club was en route to European competition – of all things.

The facts, as reported by various outlets across the continent: A team charter was forced to abort its Tuesday evening landing at Cologne’s Konrad Adenauer Airport in Germany only 400 meters above the runway.

Reports said another plane was on the runway as the club attempted to touch down ahead of its Champions League match on Wednesday at Bayer Leverkusen in Germany’s Rhine region.

Pilots on the plane abandoned the landing, circled the ground and then touched down successfully 10 minutes later without further incident. Still, some of players seemed unnerved; here was Rio Ferdinand‘s quick Twitter take:


The eeriness of it (as fans of the world-famous club know all too well) is about an infamous bit of awful history: In February of 1958, a British European Airways flight crashed on a Munich runway while returning to England from a European Cup contest. A total of 23 people died (out of 44 on board), including players, staff and journalists.

It remains one of the most notorious air disasters in the history of world sports, commemorated thoroughly by the club, including with the Munich clock (pictured above) that still resides at Old Trafford.

  1. hildezero - Nov 26, 2013 at 5:59 PM

    Damn. I would like to see a documentary about that collision. Surely there must be one, right? It sounds very very interesting.

    • thedeadlockvictim - Nov 26, 2013 at 10:49 PM

      Not sure about documentaries, but there was an excellent BBC dramatization of the crash and its aftermath, called “United”. That came out a couple years ago.

  2. midtec2005 - Nov 27, 2013 at 10:25 AM

    The last two time I flew somewhere we had aborted landings, it’s not actually that uncommon… still isn’t fun though. The first of those was a wind-sheer warning (that’s dangerous), the second was a large ship that was in the river directly in front of the runway, we had to wait for it to pass (not so dangerous).

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