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PR12-16 Remembering the tragedy of Bremen 1966

Remembering the tragedy of Bremen 1966

Fifty years ago, on this day, Italian swimming went through one of the worst tragedies in sporting history. Italian national swimmers Bruno Bianchi, Amedeo Chimisso, Sergio De Gregorio, Carmen Longo, Luciana Massenzi, Chiaffredo "Dino" Rora, Daniela Samuele, coach Paolo Costoli and RAI commentator Nico Sapio died in an airplane crash while heading towards Bremen to take part in the prestigious indoor swim meet. The Italian Swim Team was shaping around these athletes that would have participated at the Olympics in Mexico City.

On the sad anniversary of the disaster, LEN President Paolo Barelli pays his respect to the memory of those who died and expresses deep condolences on behalf of the European swimming family. Today, along with the German Swimming Federation President, Dr. Christa Thiel and the General Consul in Hannover, Flavio Rodilosso, a delegation of the Italian Swimming Federation, local authorities and Lufthansa representatives took part at an official commemoration organised by the Italian Swimming Federation, the Consulate of Italy and by the city of Bremen, on the site of the accident.

“The disaster created an emptiness impossible to fill. The memories are still with us and cause pain even today” President Barelli said.

Back in 1966, on 28 January a Lufthansa airplane coming from Frankfurt crashed during the landing phase at the Bremen airport. There were no survivors. Among the 46 who died there were members of the Italian national swimming team and a journalist of the Italian Television (RAI) who would have commented the prestigious swim meet in Bremen, the most important event of the indoor season. The meet went ahead, but a black cloth was placed in the lanes that should have been occupied by the Italian swimmers, and a bouquet of flowers on the starting blocks.