a FORMER Reds goalkeeper HAS RECALLED HIS EXPERIENCES OF THE Munich air disaster on the 60th anniversary of the tragedy that killed eight of his fellow Manchester United players.

The event, which happened 60 years ago today on February 6, 1958, left eight of the famous Busby Babes dead after a plane carrying the United squad crashed on takeoff from Munich Airport during poor weather conditions in Germany.

They had stopped to refuel at Munich while returning home from a European Cup tie in Belgrade.

In total 23 people died including players, club officials, journalists and aircraft crew.

After Munich: How They Rebuilt United aired last night on BBC Radio 5 Live.

Among those recalling how the Old Trafford outfit rebuilt in the aftermath of the disaster was former United and Wrexham AFC goalkeeper Dave Gaskell, who came close to being on the flight.

He had lived with crash victims Billy Whelan and the legendary Duncan Edwards.

Gaskell, now aged 77, made his senior debut for United in 1956 and became the youngest ever player to appear for the club when he helped them beat rivals Manchester City in the Charity Shield at the age of 16 years and 19 days.

The young gloveman was ready to travel with Matt Busby’s team to Belgrade for the fateful trip – his visa and passport had been stamped – but he was replaced by Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg, who would be hailed as a hero for his bravery after the crash.

In the documentary, Gaskell revealed how he and other surviving members of the squad were asked to carry the coffins of those who had perished and meet their relatives when the devastated team arrived back in Manchester.

Despite not having been on the flight, the goalkeeper describes how the experience left him and the great Sir Bobby Charlton suffering from insomnia – meaning they were often room-mates for the remainder of his United career.

Gaskell went on to make 96 appearances in 13 years at Old Trafford and played in the 1963 FA Cup final win over Leicester.

He left Old Trafford for The Racecourse in 1969 and played 95 league games for the Reds over the next four years, going on to settle in the Wrexham area.

Programme producer Ashley Byrne said: “A lot has been said about the Munich crash over the years but rarely has much been said about how United rebuilt afterwards. This show celebrates some of the unsung heroes in United’s recovery, those junior players who stepped up to help keep Manchester United going.

“Names such as Mark Pearson and Alex Dawson have largely been forgotten about, but as we hear they were crucial in helping United survive.”

A year before the disaster, several of the victims played at The Racecourse as United beat Wrexham 5-0 in the FA Cup.

The anniversary of the tragedy was commemorated during United’s Premier League match against Huddersfield Town on Saturday.