23 died returning from a European tie

Air travel is so common nowadays. Many of the Today FM breakfast show team returned home from Munich this weekend after a week of outside broadcasts with Topflight on the annual Ian Dempsey Ski Trip now heading for it's 20th year.

There was snow and ice on the runway for takeoff but most people getting set to taxi down the runway were just worried about last minute twitter, insta and text message checks before switching their smart phones off.

Sometimes it can be hard for people to recall exactly what people had to endure in bygone years in terms of travel and work but 60 years ago that Munich runway was the scene of a disaster that still resonates strongly today.

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho and former boss Alex Ferguson will attend a special ceremony to mark the 60th anniversary of the 1958 Munich air disaster.

Supporters, players, staff and the families of those who died will be at Old Trafford to pay their respects. A minute's silence will be held at 3-04pm - the time of the crash on this day in 1958. 23 people were killed - including eight United players among them 22 year old Dubliner Liam 'Billy' Whelan from Cabra.


Sixty years ago, British European Airways Flight 609 crashed on its third attempt to leave an icy Munich runway, a disaster which claimed 23 souls and injured 21 more.

It was a tragedy that forever scarred Manchester United, robbing the club of a truly great team that hadn't even entered its prime.

Brilliant young men died in Germany on their way back from a European Cup tie against Red Star Belgrade, and they left behind a legacy that endures to this day.

United had won the first leg 2-1 and had a request to delay the league fixture after the trip to Belgrade turned down.

Legendary United manager Matt Busby had wanted more time for his players to recover.

For that reason, they would fly, rather than sail, back to England.

Having earned a 3-3 draw that ensured their progression, the squad began the trek home. A pit stop in Munich was required to refuel the plane, but conditions in Germany were dreadful. Freezing temperatures and heavy snow made the runway an ice rink.

The rest as they say...is history. Hopefully the Premier League stars of today appreciate how easy they have it.