Mountaineers: Wreckage found of 1961 plane crash carrying Chilean soccer players

Mountaineers: Wreckage found of 1961 plane crash carrying Chilean soccer players

Published Feb. 10, 2015 12:46 p.m. ET

Chilean mountaineers say they have found the wreckage of a plane that crashed in the Andes 54 years ago, killing 24 people, including eight members of a professional soccer team.

The group said they came across the wreckage at an altitude of about 10,500 feet (3,200 meters) about 215 miles (360 kilometers) south of Santiago, the capital. Expedition member Leonardo Albornoz told Chile's Channel 7 they're keeping the exact site secret to prevent looting.

The disappearance of the Douglas DC-3 carrying members of the top-division Chilean team Green Cross on April 3, 1961 was one of the great unsolved mysteries in the South American country and at the time stunned the sporting world.

The club had played an away match in Osorno in the Copa de Chile and was returning to Santiago. The team and staff were spread over two flights. One of the planes reached the Chilean capital and the other apparently vanished.


Rescuers spent fruitless weeks searching for the missing plane and symbolic funerals for the missing players drew huge crowds in Chile.

"It was a breathtaking moment and we felt all kinds of sensations. One could feel the energy of the place and breathe the pain," Albornoz said of apparent discovering the wreckage.

The mountaineers said they could see a good part of the fuselage without needing to dig it out and found scattered debris and bones. The location of the wreckage was not where official publications indicated it should be.

Green Cross played in Chile's first division until it was dissolved in 1965.