The Superga air disaster took place on Wednesday, May 4, 1949, when a plane carrying almost the entire Torino A.C. football squad, popularly known as Il Grande Torino, crashed into the hill of Superga near Turin killing all 31 aboard including 18 players, club officials, journalists accompanying the team, and the plane's crew. The team was returning from a farewell match for José Ferreira against Benfica in Lisbon.
The Italian Airlines Fiat G212CP carrying the team flew into a thunderstorm on the approach to Turin and encountered conditions of low cloud and poor visibility. After descending to be able to fly visually the plane clipped a wall close to the Basilica of Superga and crashed. Italian authorities cited low cloud, poor radio aids and an error in navigation as factors contributing to the accident.
The emotional impact the crash made on Italian sports fans was profound, as it claimed the lives of the players of a legendary team which had won the last Serie A title before the league play was interrupted in 1944 by World War II and had then returned after the conflict to win four consecutive titles (1946–1949).
At the time of the crash Torino A.C. was leading Serie A with four games left to play in the season. The club carried on by fielding its youth team (Primavera) and in a sign of respect their opponents in each of these matches (Genoa, Palermo, Sampdoria, and Fiorentina) also fielded their youth sides. Primavera won each of their matches. The disaster seriously weakened the country's national side which had included up to 10 Torino players. Torino itself would not claim another title until 1976.
Of the entire squad only one player remained: Sauro Tomà missed the trip to Portugal due to injury. The Hungarian star Ladislao 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.
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