This article was first published in the summer of 2019 as part of a 100 part series on the history of British Airways and its predecessor airlines, Imperial Airways, BOAC and BEA. You can browse the full series of 100 stories in numerical order, by theme or by decade.
On 6 February 1958, a chartered British European Airways Airspeed AS-57 Ambassador aircraft operating under flight 609 crashed on its third attempt to take off from a slush-covered runway at Munich-Riem airport.
On board the aircraft was the Manchester United football team (known as “Busby Babes”) along with a number of supporters and journalists.
The aircraft had stopped in Munich for refuelling en route from Belgrade (where the team had been playing) to London.
23 of the 44 passengers on board the aircraft died. The fatalities included 2 crew members, 8 Manchester United players, 3 Manchester United staff, 8 newspaper journalists and 2 other passengers.
The crash remains one of the darkest moments in British sporting history. It of course had a very considerable impact on the city of Manchester which continues to hold memorials to remember those who died.