Tag Archives: man made disaster

Worst School Killings

The Worst School Massacres, Shootings and Killings

The Worst School Massacres In the United States and In the World

Tragedy too often strikes our schools and universities in the form of a crazed killer or killers. Here is a list of the worst school and university massacres, shootings and killings, both in the United States and around the world.

Beslan, Russia
September 1, 2004

The worst school massacre of all time took place when Cechen rebels took more than 1,100 hostage at School Number 1 in Beslan, an autonomous republic of the Russian Federation. After the third day of a standoff, Russian forces stormed the building; the rebels set off explosives and a gunbattle ensued. 334 hostages were killed, including 186 children.

Peshawar, Pakistan
December 16, 2014

Taliban militants attacked a school in Pakistan, killing 145, including 132 children

Bath, Michigan
May 18, 1927

By far the worst school massacre in US history took place in the tiny town of Bath, Michigan in 1927. There, an angry school board member named Andrew Kehoe blew up the town’s school, killing 45 and wounding 58. Most of the victims were kindergarten through sixth grade students. A secondary explosion killed Kehoe and the school Superintendent.

April 16, 2007
Blacksburg, Virginia

A student gunman killed 33 in dorms and a nearby classroom building. He then killed himself.

April 26, 2002
Erfurt Germany

A former student kills 18, including himself at a school in eastern Germany.

March 13, 1996
Dunblane, Scotland

Sixteen children and a teacher are killed by a gunman, who then kills himself.

April 20, 1999
Littleton, Colorado

In what now is known as the Columbine Massacre, 13 are killed and 22 wounded by two gunmen.

August 1, 1966
Austin, Texas

From the observation deck of the University of Texas’ tower, Charles Whitman killed 16 and wounded 31 in a shooting rampage that lasted for 96 minutes.

March 21, 2005
Red Lake, Minnesota

A sixteen year old kills his grandfather and a friend, then heads to school where kills seven others. The massacre ends when he turns the gun on himself.

October 2, 2006
Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania

A gunman shot eleven Amish girls in a one-room schoolhouse, killing six.

January 1, 1989
Stockton, California

Five children are killed and 30 others wounded in a massacre at Cleveland Elementary. As is typical, the gunman also killed himself.

March 24, 1998
Jonesboro, Arkansas

A pair of boys, aged 11 and 13 shoot fifteen. A teacher and four students die.

November 1, 1991
Iowa City, Iowa

A Chinese graduate student, upset at being passed over for academic honors, kills five University of Iowa employees before turning the gun on himself.

April 15, 1995
San Diego, California

A 36-year-old graduate engineering student kills three professors while defending this thesis before a faculty committee.

Originally posted 2015-01-05 03:08:41.

Worst Ship Disasters

Worst Maritime Disasters – Civilian

The Worst Maritime (Naval, Ship) Disasters

This list contains only disasters involving civilian ships in peacetime. Military vessels and munitions ships are a separate issue.

1.
MV Dona Paz
Philippines
Dec. 20, 1987
4,341 Casualties

4,341 died when the passenger ferry Dona Paz sank after a collision with an oil tanker.

2. SS Kiangya
China
Dec. 4, 1948
2750 – 3920 casualties

While the cause of the sinking of the Kiangya is unknown, the suspicion is that it was the result of a left-over WWII Japanese mine. The exact death toll is also unknown, but the low end it thought to be 2,750 and the high 3,920.

3. Le Joola
Senegal
Sept. 26, 2002
1,800 casualties

Rough seas cause the sinking of the ferry Le Joola, leaving an estimated 1,800 dead.

4. Sultana
United States
April 27, 1864
1,800 casualties

Early steamships (as well as early railroads) had issues with boiler explosions, as with the case of the Sultana. 1,800 of the 2,400 passengers died when the steamship exploded on the Mississippi River near Memphis, Tennessee.

5. Tek Sing
Indonesia
Feb. 6, 1822
1,600 casualties

When the Chinese junk Tek Sing struck a reef near Indonesia, it sank and left some 1,600 dead.

6.RMS Titanic
Great Britain (North Sea)
April 14, 1912
1,532 caualties

At the time the world’s largest passenger ship, the Titanic struck an iceberg and sank. 1,532 were killed. Thanks to books and movies, this is the most famous of shipwrecks, but certainly not the worst in terms of casualties.

7. Toya Maru
Japan
September 26, 1954
1, 153 casualties

The Toya Maru sank during Typhoon Marie in the Tsugaru Strait, taking some 1,153 with it.

8. RMS Empress of Ireland
Canada
May 29, 1914
1,012 casualties

A collision with the SS Storstad on the St. Lawrence River sank the Empress of Ireland, and claimed 1,012 lives.

10. Al salam Boccaccio 98
Egypt
Feb. 3, 2006
1,000

The passenger ferry Al Salam Boccaccio 98 sank on the red sea on its way from Saudi Arabia to Egypt.The incident started with a fire and led to the ship capsizing due to seawater taken in during firefighting efforts.

Originally posted 2015-01-05 03:03:43.

Worst Train Disasters

The World’s Worst Railroad Disasters

The earliest recorded rail deaths may have occurred in 1650 in Whickham, England, when two boys were killed by a wagon on a wood coal tramway. In 1815, also in England, 13 – 16 people were killed by a boiler explosion of the experimental locomotive “Brunton’s Mechanical Traveller”. Since then, things have gotten worse. Here are the worst rail disasters of all time, listed by number of deaths. Note that a great many of these occurred in times of war, when large numbers of people were being transported by rail.

1)
Queen of the Sea Rail Disaster
Sri Lanka, 24 December 2004
1,700 deaths

Stuck by a tsunami wave created by the Indian Ocean earthquake, the Queen of the Sea was caught in the rising waters. Believing that it would be safe from the wave, hundreds of locals climbed aboard. Unfortunately, it was swept away, and 1,700 were killed. The victims primarily were in the eight cars, where they were unable to open the doors and drowned.

2)
Bihar Rail Disaster
India, 6 June 1981
800 – 1,000+ Deaths

A passenger train carrying at least 800 derailed on a bridge and plunged into the Bagmati River. Only 200 bodies were recovered.

3)
Frejus Railway Disasters aka Modane Train Disaster
Near Modane, France, 12 December 1917
600 – 1,000 deaths

An overloaded train carrying 800 – 1000 French soldiers returning home from North East Italy during World War I suffered brake failure and crashed while descending into a valley. As a result of the fire and wreckage, only 425 of the bodies could be identified.

4)
Ciurea Rail Disaster
Ciurea Station, Romania 13 January 1817
600 – 1,000

During the First World War, a train carrying as many as 1,000 passengers—mostly soldiers and civilians fleeing a German advance—suffered brake failure on a 6.7% grade. To avoid collision with a second train at the bottom, the runaway was switched onto a loop. The runaway train derailed and caught fire.

5)
Guadalajara Train Disaster
Guadalajara, Mexico, 22 January 1915
600+ Deaths

In the midst of the Mexican Revolution, a train carrying the families of the troops of Venustiano Carranza left Colima for Guadalajara. The train lost its brakes on a steep descent, jumped the tracks and plunged into a canyon. Some 300 survived.

6)
Ufa Train Diaster
Near Asha, in the Soviet Union 4 June 1989
575 – 645 killed

Two passing trains carrying children on holiday to the Black Sea threw sparks near a leaky liquid petroleum gas pipeline. The resulting explosion—the equivalent of the Hiroshima bomb—killed at least 575 and wounded 700 others.

7)
Balvano Train Disaster
near Balvano, Italy 2/3 March 1944
426 Deaths

After a train stalled on a steep gradient in the Armi tunnel, carbon monoxide fumes from its engines killed 426, many riding the train illegally. The carbon monoxide was exacerbated by the poor grade coal used as a result of war shortages.

8)
Torre del Bierzo Rail Disaster
near Torro del Bierzo, Spein 3 January 1944
500 deaths

The collision of three trains in a tunnel left more than 500 dead. Official counts at the time were much lower for political reasons

9)
Awash Rail Disaster
between Arba and Khora, Ethiopia 14 January 1985
428 deaths

High speed led to a derailment of four of the trains’s five cars as it rounded a curve on a bridge across a ravine. Of the 1,000 on board, 428 were killed and 500 injured.

10)
Al Ayyat Train Disaster
Between Cairo and Luxor, Egypt 20 February 2002
at least 383 deaths

A cooking gas cylinder explosion set the train on fire, burning seven third class carriages to cinders. There was no passenger list, so estimates run to as high as 1,000 deaths on the grossly overcrowded train.

Originally posted 2015-01-05 03:00:29.

Worst US Bus Disasters

The Worst Bus Disasters In The United States

The Worst US Bus Disasters
May 21, 1976
Yuba City, California
28 are killed when a bus carrying the Yuba City High School choir plunges off a cliff.

May 14, 1988
Carrolton, Kentucky
Truck driver collides head on with a church bus. 27 died; 34 injured.

Feb. 28, 1958
Prestonsburg, Kentucky
A schoolbus with 46 students struck a wrecker and plunged into the Big Sandy River. 26 children and tbe bus driver drowned.

September 23, 2005
Wilmer, Texas
While fleeing from Hurrican Rita, 24 elderly people died when their bus caught fire and burned.

June 5, 1980
Jasper, Arkansas
A tour bus rolls off a highway and kills 22 while injuring 19.

May 9, 1999
New Orleans
When a tour bus crashes into a concrete wall, killing 22 and injuring 24.

May 30, 1986
Walker, California
A tour buss crashes into the West Walker river, killing 21 and injuring 19.

March 2, 2007
Atlanta, Georgia
A bus transporting the Bluffton University baseball team crashed through a barrier, killing 7.

October 25, 1995
Fox River Grove, Illinois
A school bus is struck by a commuter train, killing seven.

March 22, 1971
Congers, New York
Five were killed and 44 injured when a train hit a school bus that failed to stop at a crossing.

Originally posted 2015-01-05 02:58:46.

The World’s Worst Airline Disasters

While airline disasters are spectacular and often cause tragically large losses of life, it’s worth noting that airline travel remains among the safest modes of travel. In a statistical sense, airplanes are far safer than cars. Each day, three million people fly; In 2000, commercial airliners carried 1.09 billion people on 18 million flights, while suffering only 20 fatal accidents. On the other hand, automobile accidents kill more than 40,000 each year in the United States alone.
1.
New York, New York
September 11, 2001
4,500+ Casualties

The majority of the deaths here were, of course, on the ground, as Islamic terrorists flew two 767s into the World Trade Center buildings.

2.
Tenerife, Canary Islands
March 27, 1977
583 Casualties

583 people were killed when two Boeing 747s collided on a foggy runway.The KLM jet had departed without permission, and struck the Pan Am as it taxied on the same runway.

3.
Mount Fuji, Japan
August 12, 1985
520 casualties

A Japan Airlines 747 crashed near Mount Fuji shortly after takeoff. The crash was blamed on the rupture of a rear bulkhead. The crash wasn’t the end of the deaths, though. A maintenance supervisor later committed suicide over the incident.

4.
Delhi, India
November 12, 1996
349 casualties

Traveling from Kazakhstan, an Ilyushhin IL-76 Cargo plane collided with a Saudia 747. The collision was blamed on the Kazakhstan crew, which ignored instructions.

5.
Orly Airport, France
March 3, 1974
346 casualties

The cargo door of Turkish Airlines DC-10 burst open, causing de-pressurization, the failure of the airplane’s floor, and severing the control cables. The airplane crashed just outside of Paris.

6.
Irish Sea
June 23, 1985
329 killed

Sikh extremists planted a bomb on an Air India 757, which blew up over the Irish Sea enroute to Bombay. A second bomb, intended for another airliner, blew up in the luggage facility.

7.
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
August 19, 1980
301 killed

The Saudia L-1011 made a safe emergency landing after an on board fire, then taxied to the end of the runway. Strangely, the plane did not evacuate, and the engines continued to run. Three minutes later, a flash fire ignited the airplane and all aboard were killed.

8.
Persian Gulf
July 3, 1988
290 killed

An Iran Air Airbus A300 is mistakenly shot down by a US Navy Destroyer

9.
Chicago O’Hare
May 25, 1979
273 killed

Until 9-11, the single largest loss of life in a US aviation incident. An engine fell off a DC-10, damaging the wing and rolling the airplane. Crashing a mile from the airport, it exploded in a huge fireball.

10.
Lockerbie, Scotland
December 21, 1988
270 killed

Libyan agents planted a bomb aboard Pan Am flight 103. Casualties included 11 on the ground.

Originally posted 2015-01-05 02:56:31.

The World’s Worst Oil Spills

The Ten Worst Oil Spills In History.

The World’s Ten Worst Oil Spills

Since one purpose of this site is to put disasters into perspective, I’ll note that in spite of all the hand-wringing about man-made oil spills, the worst culprit is nature herself. Natural oil leaks form the ocean floor annually spill many times more than the amount lost from broken tankers and destroyed rigs. Off the coast of Santa Barbara, for example, there is a naturally occurring leak that seeps 20 – 25 tons of oil each day, and has done so for several hundred thousand years. Department of Energy studies on this, and on other leaks, conclude that each year, more than 47 million gallons leak naturally into US waters. Compare that to the number eleven spill on this list, which was a one-time loss of 45 million gallons.

All that said, here are the Top Ten Worst Oil Spills.

1.
Arabian Gulf/Kuwait
January 1991
380 – 520 million gallons

Attempting to slow the Allied advance, Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi forces dumped an estimated 380 – 520 million gallons of oil into the Persian Gulf from offshore oil terminals.

2.
Deepwater Horizon
Gulf of Mexico
April 20, 2010 – ?
155 million gallons (estimated).

Following an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig that killed 11, the broken facility has leaked an estimated 155 million gallons from the ocean floor.

3.
Ixtoc 1 Oil Spill
Bay of Campeche, Ciudad del Carmen, Mexico
June 1979 – March 1980
140 million gallons

An offshore oil well blew and ignited, causing the drilling rig to collapse. Oil spilled out of the fissure into the Gulf of Mexico at a rate of 10,000 – 30,000 barrels a day until the well was capped. All told, an estimated 140 million gallons was spilled.

4.
Atlantic Empress Oil Spill
Trinidad and Tobago
July 19, 1979
90 million gallons

The Atlantic Empress oil tanker collided with another ship, the Aegean Captain and sprung a leak. Approximately 90 million gallons was spilled. Twenty six were killed.

5.
Fergana Valley
Uzbekistan
March 2, 1992
88 million gallons

An oil line leak released 88 million gallons in to Uzbekistan’s heavily populated Fergana valley.

6.
Kolva River Oil Spill
Kolva River, Russia
September 8, 1994
84 million gallons

A leak from an oil pipeline spilled 84 million gallons into the Russian Arctic region.

7.
Nowruz Oil Field
Iran
Feb 10 – Sept 18 1983
80 million gallons

An oil platform collapsed after being hit by a tanker, sending oil into the Persian Gulf. Eighty million gallons were spilled before it was capped. Delays were blamed on the first Gulf War. Eleven were killed trying to stop it.

8.
Castillo de Beliver Oil Spill
South Africa
August 6, 1983
79 million gallons

The Castillo de Beliver, a tanker, caught fire and broke in two, sending 79 million gallons into the Saldanha Bay northwest of Cape Town.

9.
Amoco Cadiz Oil Spill
France
March 16, 1978
69 million gallons

Caught by a winter storm, the Amoco Cadiz ran aground at Portsall, France. Breaking in two, it sent 69 million gallons into the ocean.

10.
ABT Summer Oil Spill
Angola
May 28, 1991
51 – 81 million gallons

Seven hundred miles off the coast of Angola, the ABT Summer exploded, releasing 51 – 81 million gallons into the ocean. Five crew were killed.

11.
M/T Haven Tanker Oil Spill
Genoa, Italy
April 11, 1991
45 million gallons

The oil tanker explosion killed six, sank the ship and leaked oil for twelve years. A total of 45 million gallons was released.

Originally posted 2015-01-05 02:53:14.

The Ten Deadliest US Wildfires

The Ten Deadliest Wildfires In US History
As Measured By the Number of Deaths

1.
Peshtigo, Wisconsin
October 8 – 14, 1871
More than 1,500 lives were lost and 3.8 million acres burned. The United States’ worse fire, however, is largely forgotten because it occurred at the same time as the more publicized Great Chicago Fire, which occurred on October 8 – 10, 1871. Interestingly, a similarly deadly fire occurred in Port Huron, Michigan on the same date.

2.
Cloquet, Minnesota
October 13 – 15, 1918
As many as 1,000 were killed (although some sources put the total at around 500) 52,000 injured or displaced and 250,000 acres destroyed.

3.
Hinkley, Minnesota
September 1, 1894
The Great Hinkley Fire burned 200,000 acres and may have killed as many as 800, although some put the total at just over 400. The towns of Mission Creek, Brook Park and Hinckley all were completely destoryed. Among the victims was Boston Corbett, the union soldier who killed John Wilkes Booth.

4.
Port Huron, Michigan
September 5, 1881
The Thumb Fire (named for Michigan’s east side thumb-shaped peninsula), burned more than 1 million acres and took 282 lives. This was the second major fire in the area in ten years.

5.
Port Huron, Michigan
October 8 – 21, 1871
The Port Huron fire of 1871 occurred simultaneously with the Peshtigo, Wisconsin fire and the Great Chicago Fire. It destroyed more than 1,200,000 acres and killed 200.

6.
Maine and New Brunswick, Canada
October 1825
Named after a river in Canada, the Miramichi fire burned 3 million acres and killed 160.

7.
Idaho and Montana
August 20 – 21, 1910
The Great Fire of 1910—also known as the Big Blow Up, or the Big Burn—ignited more than 3 million acres. It killed at least 85 people. The blaze created a firestorm that whipped up high winds which very quickly drove the fire forward.

8.
Oakland, California
October 20, 1991
Beginning as a grass fire, this firestorm destroyed 1,520 acres and killed 25.

9.
Southern California
October 2003
Multiple wildfires destroyed more than 800,000 acres and left 22 dead.

10.
Cleveland National Forest, San Diego, California
October 23 – November 3, 2003
Burning more than 230,000 acres, this fire killed 15.

Originally posted 2015-01-05 02:46:58.

Biggest US Wildfires

The Worst US Wildfires
The Biggest US Wildfires
As Measured By Acreage Consumed In The Blaze

1.
Peshtigo, Wisconsin
October 8 – 14, 1871
More than 1,500 lives were lost and 3.8 million acres burned. The United States’ worse fire, however, is largely forgotten because it occurred at the same time as the more publicized Great Chicago Fire, which occurred on October 8 – 10, 1871. Interestingly, a similarly deadly fire occurred in Port Huron, Michigan on the same date.

2.
Maine and New Brunswick, Canada
October 1825
Named after a river in Canada, the Miramichi fire burned 3 million acres and killed 160.

3.
Idaho and Montana
August 20 – 21, 1910
The Great Fire of 1910—also known as the Big Blow Up, or the Big Burn—ignited more than 3 million acres. It killed at least 85 people. The blaze created a firestorm that whipped up high winds which very quickly drove the fire forward.

4.
Port Huron, Michigan
October 8 – 21, 1871
The Port Huron fire of 1871 occurred simultaneously with the Peshtigo, Wisconsin fire and the Great Chicago Fire. It destroyed more than 1,200,000 acres and killed 200.

5.
Port Huron, Michigan
September 5, 1881
The Thumb Fire (named for Michigan’s east side thumb-shaped peninsula), burned more than 1 million acres and took 282 lives.

6.
Yellowstone National Park
Summer, 1988
A controlled burn that got out of control ultimately destroyed 800,000 acres of Yellowstone National Park.

7.
Southern California
October 2003
Multiple wildfires destroyed more than 800,000 acres and left 22 dead.

8.
Syskiyou National Forest, Oregon
July 12 – 15, 2002
Lightening strikes burned more than 500,000 acres in the Biscuit Creek area.

9.
Rodeo-Chediski, Arizona
June 18 – July 7, 2002
Two fires in Arizona merged to burn more than 467,066 acres.

10.
Southern California
October 2007
Multiple fires burned more than 375,000 acres in Southern California.

There also have been a number of fire “epidemics,” which occurred separately in several states over a spring and summer season. The worse, perhaps, occurred during the Spring and Summer of 2000, when fire spread over seven million acres in Alaska, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. A series of outbreaks in 2004 in Alaska burned more than 5 million acres. Wildfires in 2005-2006 in Oklahoma and Texas burned more

Originally posted 2015-01-05 02:38:37.

The Worst US Mining Disasters

The Top US Mining Disasters
As Measured By Casualties

The Top Ten US Mining Disasters

Coal mining is a dangerous, but vital business. Roof collapses, gas and dust explosions and the heavy equipment are just some of the dangers faced by these brave men.

1.
December 6, 1907
Monongah, West Virginia

361 casualties. The worst mining disaster in US history occurred when shafts 6 and 8 of a Consolidated Coal Company mine exploded. The explosion, which was apparently caused by methane gas, disabled the ventilation system causing the buildup of deadly gases.

2.
October 22, 1913
Dawson, NM

This coal mine explosion killed 263.

3.
November 13, 1909
Cherry, Illinois

A bale of hay accidentally ignites, setting the coal mine on fire. The death toll for miners and would-be rescuers reached 259.

4.
December 10, 1907
Jacobs Creek, Pennsylvania

In the same year as the Monongah mine disaster, 239 miners were killed in a separate disaster in Pennsylvania.

5.
May 1, 1900
Scofield, Utah

When a cache of blasting powder in a copper mine accidentally ignited, 200 were killed.

6.
May 19, 1928
Mather, Pennsylvania

An explosion in the No. 1 coal mine killed 195.

7.
May 19, 1902
Coal Creek, Tennessee

A methane gas buildup caused an explosion that killed 184.

8.
April 28, 1914
Eccles, WV

An explosion at the No. 5 mine killed 181.

9.
January 25, 1904
Springdale Township, Pennsylvania

When the Harwick mine explodes, 179 are killed.

10.
March 8, 1924
Castle Gate, Utah

Inadequate watering of coal dust was blamed for an explosion that killed 172.

Originally posted 2015-01-05 02:34:26.

The Ten Worst Worldwide Mining Disasters

The Ten Worst Worldwide Mining Disasters
As Measured By Casualties

By far the worst mining safety record belongs to China. Even today, hundreds (if not thousands—the secretive Chinese government does not reveal figures) die every year in Chinese mining accidents.

1.
April 26, 1942
Honkeiko Colliery, China

In what is probably the worst mining disaster of all time, 1,549 miners died in a mine operated in Japanese occupied Manchuria. China has a horrible history of mine safety. The Japanese also likely are culpable in this accident: the Chinese were treated as sub-human slave labor by Japanese.

2.
March 10, 1906
Courrieres, France

1,100 died in a coal dust explosion.

3.
November 9, 1963
Omuta, Japan

An explosion in a coal mine killed 447.

4.
October 14, 1913
Senghenydd, Wales, Uk

The worst of the Welsh coal mining diasters killed 438 men and boys

5.
January 1, 1960
Coalbrook, South Africa

437 casualties.

6.
June 6, 1972
Wankie, Rhodesia

A coal mine explosion kills 427.

7.
May 28, 1965
Dhanbad, India

375 miners die in a coal mine fire.

8.
December 27, 1975
Chasnala, India

A coal mine explosion, followed by flooding kills 372.

9.
December 12, 1866
Barnsley, England, UK

361 casualties.

10.
December 6, 1907
Monongah, WV

361 casualties. The worst mining disaster in US history is said to have provided the origins of the first Father’s Day celebration. A woman named Grace Clayton asked her church to hold a Sunday memorial for the fathers lost in the mine. The commemoration was held in a church in Fairmont, West Virginia.

Originally posted 2015-01-05 02:32:43.