Forty years ago, Pakhtakor football team died in a plane crash
Tashkent, Uzbekistan (UzDaily.com) - On 11 August 1979, 17 football players of Pakhtakor Tashkent took off on an Aeroflot Tu-134 airliner, which flied on the route Tashkent-Minsk flight. They were flying to face local Dynamo within the USSR championship.
The same airliner was moving towards them on the route Chisinau - Voroshilovgrad - Kuibyshev with 89 passengers and six crew members on board. At an altitude of 7800 meters in the sky above Dneprodzerzhinsk there was a collision of two aircraft.
For unknown reasons, the dispatchers did not allow the aircraft with Pakhtakor on board to climb the route of 9 or 10 thousand meters. Because of this fatal mistake, 178 people died, including 17 members of Pakhtakor team.
The State Commission determined that two air traffic controllers from Kharkov were guilty of the incident. Subsequently, they were sentenced to 15 years in prison. After the disaster, by decision of the USSR Football Federation, Pakhtakor was guaranteed a place in the top league for two years, regardless of the final result.
Miraculously, the head coach of Pakhtakor Oleg Bazilevich was saved, who at the last moment did not board the plane, but went on an urgent business trip to Kiev. Bazilevich was allowed to attract many players from different clubs to the team. However, Pakhtakor could no longer play as before. Having taken eighth place in 1982, in 1984 the team left the Premier League for 6 years.
Already in the post-Soviet period in 1992, Pakhtakor became the champion of the first football championship of Uzbekistan.
Today Pakhtakor Football Club is one of the most famous clubs in Uzbekistan. Since 1992, it has been a regular participant in the Premier League Championship of Uzbekistan. According to the results of the 2018 season, the team clinched the second place.