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Charlton Remembers English Soccer's Greatest Tragedy
The Times Online, December 12th, 2006 4:49PM

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It's one of the sporting world's worst tragedies of all time: the crash in 1958 of a plane carrying Manchester Untied players just outside of Munich. The crash claimed the lives of 23 people, some of the country's biggest soccer stars at the time. Man United great Sir Bobby Charlton is one of the few survivors of that crash, and he spoke to the London Times-the first time he's ever spoken publicly on the subject-about the harrowing events of that day in February, almost 50 years ago. Charlton recalls how two botched take-off attempts indicated that something was wrong. The plane barely lifted off the ground and then it crashed into a fence and the plane began to break into pieces. At that moment, Charlton went unconscious. Fifteen minutes later, Charlton came to about 50 yards from the wreckage of the fuselage, after he was dragged to safety by one of his teammates. "And you know, you feel a bit guilty," he said of surviving. "I do feel guilty, even now, even as I say this. We were all such friends . . . I couldn't understand how I could have been 50 yards away from the aeroplane, still strapped in my seat, without suffering anything but a bang on my head. How could that be? How could I feel myself all over and find out that I was all right, completely whole, and my pals were dead? . . . I think about this every day of my life." Matt Busby, the team's manager, was huddled over moaning and clutching his chest. Others had become mutilated bodies lying in the snow. "I looked round and saw injuries I will never describe," he said. Charlton was just 20 years old at the time. "It was one of the greatest tragedies in sport simply because this great team was on the threshold of being the best," he said. Read the original story...


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