Accidents and disasters are some of the most common words we hear everyday. Over the centuries, there have been many accidents and many disasters due to nature and human. The typhoons, the floods, the fires even the human error are some of the factors that lead to painful consequences and many times to death .
This list will introduce you the ten incidents with the greatest number of deaths, from antiquity to the present day.
10)Mv Dona Paz, Philippine 1987
Dona Paz is considered as Asia’s Titanic. Itwas a passenger ferry which built on April 1963 and sank after colliding with an oil tanker named Vector.On the day of the collision the ship made one of its well-known routes. As a survivor said weather was good but the sea was waving. During the night, when all passengers were sleeping, the two ships collided, causing an explosion to some of the 8,800 US barrels of gasoline and oil, the Vector was carrying. The losses were enormous from both sides, while the rescuers managed to retrieve only 26 people from the sea. The total losses are estimated at 4,386, including the particular shipwreck in the greatest naval tragedies of the history. According to the initial investigation conducted by the Philippine Coast Guard, only one apprentice member of the crew of the Doña Paz was monitoring the bridge when the accident occurred. Other officers were either drinking beer or watching television in the crew’s recreation quarters, while the ship’s captain was watching a movie on his Betamax in his cabin.
9)Hawks Nest Tunnel, America 1931
Hawks Nest Tunnel is considered to be one of the worst industrial disasters in American history. During the 1930 men were desperate for work of any kind.When it became clear that there are open jobs in western Virginia, thousands of immigrants from the south filled the trains, heading for the coal mining areas, as they thought. Ιnstead of the coal mining areas the company needed workers to drill a tunnel through Gauley Mountain. Construction of the tunnel began in June 1931.Experts knew that, miners who inhaled silica dust would contract silicosis, a deadly lung ailment. But the company ordered that the workers use a dry drilling technique that would create more dust because this method was faster and cheaper. The company had ordered the workers not to wear masks, despite the fact that the inspectors and the company men supplied every kind of protection. Deaths started after two months they entered the tunnel. The deaths were painful, as the silica they inhaled created extensive and fibrous nodules on the lungs. Their lungs grew stiff. The men found it harder to breathe and, ultimately, they strangled to death.The deaths are estimated from 476 to 5000 workers.
8)Mayak nuclear waste, Soviet Union 1957
Kyshtym disaster is the largest nuclear disaster after the Chernobyl plant in Ukraine and the Fukushima plant in Japan. Although it is considered to be the third largest explosion, it is not fully known since it occurred in 1957 during the Cold War on the
Ural Mountains of the Soviet Union. Because of the location and the period, the Soviets decided to disguise the magnitude of the disaster, even the explosion itself, thus concealing information even from those who contaminated by the waste. The Mayak Production Association runs plutonium facility No 817 in the Chelyabinsk region of Russia. The facility was built in a hurry after WW II to catch up with the Americans in nuclear weapon technology. The plant, which included six reactors, processed nuclear materials to develop weapons-grade plutonium and was known to be very dangerous. In September 1957 one of the cooling system broke down. As a result, a tank exploded, sending neurocutaneous gas to the sky, covering a 20,000square-mile area. Of the 270,000, only 11,000 managed to flee, while the rest were forced to stay until they finished their jobs. Within a few days, 300 of the village’s 5000 residents died of radiation poisoning, while in more than 50 years since, many villagers are convinced they were left as an experiment. The cancer rate for Korabolka, now called Tatarskaya Korabolka, is five times that of an uncontaminated village. Other villages around the region report elevated rates of cancer, genetic abnormalities, and other illness.
7)Machchhu Dam, India 1979
The Morbi dam failure was a dam-related flood disaster which occurred on August 11, 1979, in India. The Machchu-2 dam, situated on the Machhu river, burst, sending a wall of water through the town of Morbi in the Rajkot district of Gujarat. Estimates of the number of people killed vary greatly ranging from 1800 to 25000 people. The failure was caused by excessive rain and massive flooding leading to the disintegration of the earthen walls of the four kilometer long Machchu II dam. The spillway capacity provided for 5663 m³/s. The actual observed flow following the intense rainfall reached 16307 m³/s, thrice what the dam was designed for, resulting in its collapse. Within 20 minutes the floods of 12 to 30 ft (3.7 to 9.1 m) height inundated the low-lying areas of Morvi industrial town located 5 km below the dam.
6) Ponte das Barcas
The invasion of the Napoleonic troops in Portugal under Marshal Soult is still vividly remembered in Porto. A day after the French victory at the First Battle of Porto, on 29 March 1809, as the population fled for the advancing troops and tried to cross the river Douro over the Ponte das Barcas (a pontoon bridge), the bridge collapsed under the weight. Possibly 6,000 people drowned in the disaster. This event is still remembered by a plate at the Ponte D. Luis I. The French army was rooted out of Porto by Anglo-Portuguese forces commanded by Arthur Wellesley in the Second Battle of Porto, when his troops crossed the Douro river from the Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar (a former convent) in a brilliant daylight coup de main. It was a tragedy that showed the effort of the people to escape from the war.
5)Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India 1984
On the night of December 2, 1984, the factory owned by the US multinational Union Carbide Corporation accidentally leaked methyl isocyanate and other highly toxic gases into the air, killing thousands of largely poor Indians in the nearby neighborhoods. The Bhopal Disaster is one of the largest industrial disasters of history. Unfortunately, the disaster caused the death of more than 4,000 people (less
than 19,000) and left behind 558,125 injured Indians. Some half a million survivors suffered respiratory problems, eye irritation or blindness, and other maladies resulting from exposure to the toxic gas; many were awarded compensation of a few hundred dollars. Investigations later established that substandard operating and safety procedures at the understaffed plant had led to the disaster.
4)Great Smog, England 1952
On Friday 5 December 1952, a thick yellow smog brought the capital to a standstill for four days and is estimated to have killed more than 4,000 people. London’s air may appear much cleaner today, but is still dangerously polluted. The coal pollution that caused the infamous ‘pea soupers’ has been replaced by invisible pollution – mainly from traffic fumes – resulting in 13,000 early deaths each year in the UK and 4,300 in London. The great Smog was a combination of a windless cold weather and anticyclone and it lasted for four days.The mist caused by the Smog in the London sky has lasted for 4 days, making transport and mass transportation difficult, causing a traffic problem. Also it had a huge environmental impact which caused a rethinking of air pollution, since it thousands of people died and furthermore a number of 25,000 people claimed sickness due to smoke.
3)Wanggongchang Explosion, China 1626
The explosion took place on the Wanggongchang Gunpowder factory on May 30th of 1626 in Beijing . The blast was so strong and as a result it takes most of southwest Beijing with it. But to this day, nobody can agree exactly what happened. It was an explosion so immense that it was heard beyond the Great Wall over 150 kilometers from the blast site. Reports of a “mushroom shaped” cloud hanging over Beijing after the accident have provided grist for historical conspiracy theorists ever since. The explosion almost destroyed the city of Beijing and until today we are not completely sure what went wrong. Moreover, the size of the explosion have intrigued conspiracy theorists for centuries. Some speculate that the blast was caused by a freak meteor while other, even more outlandish, theories, have implicated supernatural forces and even an interplanetary nuclear strike on Beijing. Most recently, came up a theory in a 2013 paper by researchers in the United States and China, argued that the disaster was the work of a giant tornado. A catastrophic twister caused the explosion and was also responsible for much of the damage throughout the city, including the stories of large objects thrown for miles and bodies found stripped entirely of the clothing. This disaster had a huge number of casualties, about 20,000.
2)Amphitheater collapse, Italy 27 BC
Fidenae was an ancient town near to Rome. According to the Roman historian Livy, Fidenae allied itself to Veii in the fifth century, which resulted in its destruction when Rome attacked its Etruscan rival. The place was abandoned, only used to quarry tufa ,but it could be used for public gatherings. During one of these, in the year 27 CE, a wooden amphitheater collapsed. The emperor had forbidden the gladiatorial games and so the people had flocked in social events and plays, fact which had as a result, a huge number of people to get hurt and/or die. The amphitheater collapse was by far the worst stadium disaster and caused the death from 20,000 to 50,000 from an audience of 50,000 people.
1)Banqiao Dam, China 1975
The deadliest flood in history caused by dam failure occurred in 1975 when China’s Banqiao Dam burst. Construction of the Banqiao dam began in April 1951 and it was completed in June 1952. Because of the low cognitive level in the construction sector and the lack of study in the subsoil, the dam was unstable. So, the bad foundations in combination with the very powerful typhoon and the great rainfall led to the collapse of the dam. As the constructors referred to, the dam was designed to survive a oncein-1000-years flood(300-mm-long rainfall per day), but a one-in-2000-year flood occurred in August 1975 following the collision of Typhoon Nina and Cold front. According to Xinhua, the forecast was for rainfall of 100 mm by the Beijing-based Central Meteorological Observatory. The unexpected weather conditions and human error cost the lives of approximately 26,000 people in the province, from flooding and another 140,000 died of subsequent infections and epidemics, making the failure of Banqiao dam one of the deadliest disasters in history.