RAMSTEIN, Germany – On 28 August a ceremony took place in the village of Ramstein-Miesensbach, Germany commemorating the 30th anniversary of the Ramstein Air Show catastrophe. The ceremony was attended by survivors, relatives of victims and distinguished visitors, including Headquarters Allied Air Command’s Senior Italian Officer and Chief of Staff, Major General Claudio Gabellini.
On 28 August 1988 during an annual air show hosted at the air base, three jets of the Italian aerobatics team "Frecce Tricolori” collided during their performance, killing all three pilots involved. The lead aircraft of the formation caught fire and crashed into the audience on the ground. Seventy people lost their lives and more than 1,000 were injured. The disaster became one of the most severe in aviation history and the history of airshows.
Thirty years after the tragedy the victims are not forgotten. In his speech during the ceremony Major General Gabellini said: "On behalf of all Italian Airmen, I do express the deepest sympathy to all those who have lost a loved one and to all those whose body and soul had to suffer from horrible and painful wounds.”
Today two memorial sites commemorate this tragic incident: one inside the grounds of Ramstein airbase, the other one publicly accessible next to the road leading to the airbase. The incident led to drastically increased safety restrictions on airshows in German airspace. The United States Air Force has never hosted another airshow at Ramstein Air Base ever since. Ramstein Air Base is also the home of NATO’s Allied Air Command and its preceding command entities since 1974.
Story by allied Air Command Public Affairs Office