On January 28, 1966, seven of Italy’s fastest young swimmers, the Italian national team coach, and 38 others perished in a plane crash. The swimmers were on their way to compete at a meet in Bremen, Germany.
Those who lost their lives in the tragedy included: Luciana Massenzi, national backstroke champion; Carmen Longo, national breaststroke champion; Amedeo Chimisso, just as he was making his international debut; Paolo Costoli, national team coach, European Championship medalist, Italian swimming pioneer, and two-time Olympian; Bruno Bianchi, two-time Olympic sprint freestyler, Chiaffredo ‘Dino’ Rora, national champion and holder of the European 100 back record; Daniela Samuele, junior national butterfly champion; and Sergio de Gregorio, national champion and the first Italian under 18 minutes in the 1500.
The Italian Swimming Federation (FIN) observed the 50th anniversary of the tragedy this week with a commemoration event in Bremen. The FIN delegation at the event observed a moment of silence at 6:51 pm, the time the plane went down. Organizers also screened a trailer of a documentary about the tragedy, titled “Among the Waves in the Sky,” which will premier later this month.
The federation also commemorated the event by holding a mass and installing a memorial near the airport. FIN president Paolo Barelli, former international Italian breaststroke talent and current FIN vice-president Manuela Dalla Valle, Italian technical director Caesar Butini, Italian sports director Gianfranco Saini, and Italian Consul in Germany Flavio Rodilosso were all in attendance.