On this day in 1954, those young upstarts known as the Hurricanes were asked to play a charity football match against the Garkos Gorgons on the island of Garkos.
Well, we all know that match never took place. The Avianca Colombian Airline (ACA – an airline with an heretofore sterling crash record) plane crashed and plummetted into the ocean this afternoon, with 36 passengers and seven crew on board. Nine footballers are among the 40 dead after an air crash over the North Atlantic Ocean, just off the coast of Hispanola Island.
The footballing world is reeling from the loss of some its most talented young players – known as the “Ball Boys” for their fancy footwork.
Their average age was 22 and they included the likes of captain Garry Wyndham, Shawn McKinley, Davey McGregor, Eddie Irvine, Nicky Gallagher, William Bushell-Guthrie, Roger “The Dodger” Faragher, Anthony Findlay, and Ricky Stormson.
Ten prominent sports journalists and several club officials have also been killed.
The chartered aircraft was bringing the Hurricanes entourage to a charity match against the Garkos Gorgons on Garkos Island. In a sad twist of irony, Chief Executive of the ACA, Alfonso H. W. T. Milagro confirmed the cause of the tragic accident: extreme turbulence due to heavy storming and strong winds.
Two footballers – star strikers Ivan McMullet and Wally “Big Dog” O’Callaghan (pictured above) – are missing and presumed dead, as rescue crews sift through the wreckage on Hispanola Island. They’ll want to work quickly, though; the island itself is considered to be largely inhospitable, a desert home to broods of killer scorpions, invincible monkeys, giant millipedes, exploding crates and autistic children, known to charge wildly at their prey.
Letters of condolences poured in from across the globe, and clubs across Europe and the United Kingdom held two minutes silence at the games on Saturday following the accident.
The only known survivor, team manager Neville Ratcliffe, was surprisingly chipper about the events of last week:
Rest in peace, boys!