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Puerto Rican volleyball family remembers victims of plane crash

The Puerto Rican team was in the Dominican Republic to prepare for the 1970 Central American and Caribbean Games
San Juan, Puerto Rico, March 2, 2015 - Puerto Rican Volleyball Federation President Nelson Perez Cruz joined Puerto Rican Olympic Committee President Sara Rosario in a ceremony of remembrance for the members of the women’s national team who died in a plane crash 45 years ago.

A plaque with the names of the twelve players and two coaches who lost their lives in the tragic accident on February 15, 1970 was unveiled at the German Rieckehoff Sampayo Olympic Lodge in the town of Salinas, located to the south of Puerto Rican capital San Juan.

The team had just played a friendly series against the Dominican Republic in preparation for the XI Central American and Caribbean Games to be held in Panama, when their plane crashed into the waters of the Caribbean Sea, minutes after taking off from Santo Domingo.

“As soon as the president of the Olympic Committee called us about this special ceremony, we confirmed our participation,” Perez said. “We had to be present at this posthumous tribute.”

“It was one of the saddest moments in the history of our sport and today we are recognising the immortality of the members of that team,” he added.

Team captain Carmen Rosa Sabater, who had left one day earlier to attend the flag ceremony of the Puerto Rican delegation at the Games, was the squad's only survivor. A week later, she was the Puerto Rican flag-bearer at the opening ceremony of the regional games in Panama City.


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