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Stranded Oklahoma Soccer Team Finally Heads to Brazil

July 31, 1988

MIAMI (AP) _ Three days after an Oklahoma boys soccer team was bumped from a flight to Brazil, a specially arranged jetliner flew them and 349 other stranded passengers to Sao Paulo on Sunday.

Pan American World Airways wrangled special permission from the Brazilian government to add a non-stop flight to Sao Paulo, and the flight left Miami International Airport Sunday morning, said spokesman Alan Loflin.

″We’ve got some happy people on the way, or relieved,″ Loflin said.

The ordeal began Thursday for 36 boys and 15 adults of a group of 94 headed to a tournament in Brazil, where the youths were to play in televised games. Although the group had tickets, the carrier couldn’t fit the entire group on the last leg of its Oklahoma-to-Brazil journey.

The stranded soccer players and their chaperones stayed in a nearby hotel for two nights, then camped out at the airport Saturday to save money.

Robert Daniels, traveling with his son, said the boys were miserable as hours were whittled away from their eight-day trip. Some were just worried about what they might be missing.

″Naked topless women, the beaches,″ said Eric Cummins, 14. ″I guess we’re just looking forward to seeing a new culture.″

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