Kobe Bryant's newest sports star dies in a tragic plane crash


Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter accident on Sunday at the age of 41, and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna sent shock waves through the sports world. It also conjured up memories of other athletes who also tragically died in plane or helicopter accidents. Here are some athletes who have died in aviation tragedies.

Thurman Munson

On August 2, 1979, Munson crashed while trying to land his Cessna Citation plane at Akron-Canton airport. He suffered a broken neck as a result of the accident and died of suffocation at the age of 32. The other two passengers survived. Munson, a seven-time All Star catcher, was with the Yankees at the age of 11, who were retiring and dedicated a memorial plaque in Monument Park immediately after his death.

Thurman Munson plane crash
Rescue workers examine the wreckage of a plane crash that killed Thurman Munson.AP

Roberto Clemente

Clemente was killed during an emergency relief flight on December 31, 1972, which he had arranged to help the victims of a major earthquake in Managua, the capital of Nicaragua. After learning that his first three flights had been diverted by Somozan government officials, Clemente decided on the fourth flight to ensure his arrival. The Douglas DC-7 cargo plane he flew with had mechanical problems in the past and was overloaded at 4,200 pounds, which eventually led to a crash off the coast of Puerto Rico into the Atlantic because the engine failed. His body was never recovered and all five people on board died. The pirates retired in 1973 for the 38-year-old Clemente as number 21.

Roy Halladay

Halladay flew an ICON A5 amphibious aircraft and crashed into the Gulf of Mexico on November 7, 2017. Halladay was the only person on the plane. Air traffic control said they had received no distress signals from Halladay, whose autopsy later revealed that he had morphine, amphetamine and a sleep aid and a trace of alcohol in his system. Halladay was 40 years old. The Phillies suspended Halladays No. 34 for the 2018 season to honor him, and the Blue Jays retired at No. 32 on the opening day of the 2018 season.

Cory Lidle

On October 11, 2006, while he was flying a Cirrus SR20 aircraft with his co-pilot / flight instructor, Lidle fell fatally into a high-rise building on the Upper East Side. The plane was reportedly about to fly into a restricted airspace before a strong wind blew the plane into the building. Twenty-six others were injured in the accident, many of whom were first aiders in New York City. 34-year-old Lidle was the third Yankee to be killed in a plane crash. The Yankees wore black armbands for the entire 2007 season.

Locomotive Yaroslavl

A Yakovlev Yak-42 charter flight with players and coaches of the professional locomotive Yaroslavl ice hockey team of the Russian Continental Hockey League crashed on September 7, 2011 during takeoff. The result is that the plane rolls over the runway and hits an antenna mast before it hits the shore the Volga crashes. It later turned out that the pilot had used falsified documents to obtain permission to fly the aircraft, while crew members lacked the training necessary to fly the aircraft. 26 players were killed, including former ranger Alexander Karpovtsev, Lokomotiv's assistant coach.

Locomotive Yaroslavl crashes
Russian rescuers and investigators worked with the Russian ice hockey team Lokomotiv Yaroslavl at the crash site of an airplane in 2011.AFP via Getty Images

Marshall Football

When he returned from a game in North Carolina, a domestic U.S. DC-9 commercial jet crashed onto a hill outside of Tri-State 14 airport with 37 members of the Marshall University soccer team, eight coaches, 25 boosters, and five crew members. November 1970. The plane collided with the treetops before it caught fire.

Wichita State football

More than a month earlier, on October 2, 1970, 14 state footballers in Wichita died when a Martin 404 crashed into a hill near Silver Plume, Colorado. Thirty-one people died, including 14 players from the Wichita state football team that was on its way to play against the state of Utah.

Rocky Marciano

The day before his 46th birthday, Marciano was a passenger in a minor plane crash on August 31, 1969. When he was traveling to Des Moines, Iowa in the middle of the night due to bad weather, the inexperienced pilot who manned the plane attempted to land but a tree two miles before the runway. The pilot, Marciano and Lew Farrell, another former boxer, were all killed on impact.

Basketball in the state of Oklahoma

A Beechcraft Super King Air 200 with two players from the Oklahoma state basketball team and six transmitters and coaches crashed on January 27, 2001 in a field outside of Denver, Colorado. The crash occurred in the middle of a snowstorm on the way home from a loss to the Colorado Buffaloes. In the state of Oklahoma there is a memorial in the Gallagher-Iba Arena with the title "Remember the Ten".

Oklahoma State plane crash
An Adams County Sheriffs Department official and a Bennet Fire Department fireman inspect the 2001 plane wreck outside of Byers, Colorado, in which members of the Oklahoma state basketball team were killed.AFP via Getty Images

Payne Stewart

Stewart traveled from Florida to Texas for the Tour Championship on October 25, 1999 and died in a Learjet crash. The plane was out of pressure and all passengers died of hypoxia. They flew with the autopilot until the fuel ran out and they crashed into a field in South Dakota. Stewart was 42 years old.

American basketball championship

All but one member of the 1977 Evansville basketball team died in a plane crash on December 13, 1977, on their way to play a game against Middle Tennessee. The plane crashed on take-off, and the National Transportation Safety Board blamed the accident for the pilot not removing the aileron and rudder gusts of wind before takeoff. The plane's baggage compartment was also overloaded, which apparently also contributed to the crash. The only member of the team that did not die was David Furr, who was out of the season due to an ankle injury and was not on the plane. Furr and his younger brother were killed in a car accident two weeks after the accident.


On November 28, 2016, a charter flight by the Brazilian Chapecoense soccer team crashed near Medellin in Colombia. The team was on its way to the Copa Sudamericana 2016 finals, in which 71 of the 77 people on board died. The cause of the crash was allegedly the fuel depletion due to the airline's poor flight schedule and the pilot's failure to report an emergency and alert air traffic control after the fuel level dropped.

Old Christians Club rugby

On October 13, 1972, a charter flight for members of the rugby team, family members, supporters and friends of the Uruguayan Old Christians Club crashed on a glacier in the Andes. Twenty-eight of the 45 people on board survived the crash and suffered the accident 72 days earlier. 16 people were saved. In the face of hunger, the survivors resorted to anthropophagy. An inexperienced copilot mistakenly believed that despite different instruments, they had achieved their goal. The plane then hit the mountain and lost both wings before crashing.

Jim Hardin

Hardin crashed in Key West, Florida on March 9, 1991, shortly after launching his Beech 25-C33A. His plane's propeller failed with fatigue and crashed, although Hardin tried to return to Key West International Airport for an emergency landing. It was generally believed that Hardin, the former Yankee who died at the age of 47, distracted the aircraft from falling onto a nearby baseball field where small children were playing.