10 Devastating Unnatural Disasters

This particular list does not intend to blame Mother Nature for the various disasters that happen across the world. This particular list is compiled from the disasters that were man-made or essentially it was human fault. Nonetheless, the list features terrible disasters. The list does not include tragedies that resulted from war because that would be a completely different list. Also, what you should know is that in order to keep your interest heightened; the list does not focus on one specific type of disaster which is to say that you will find diversity. If you feel like there should have been something added to the list please feel free to let us know. I hope this list serves educative.


Tenerife Airport Disaster - Ten Devastating Unnatural Disasters

This is considered as the deadliest aviation accident. It happened on 27t March in 1977 and the collision took place at 5:07 pm. Many planes were directed to the Tenerife North Airport and that included the KLM Flight 4805 and Pan Am Flight 1736. Both of these planes were Boeing 747’s. Both the planes taxied onto the runway for taking off. The fog was thick so the planes could not see each other and the control tower too was not visible. KLM flight was given clearance towards a departure route. They were also given instructions of what to do after the take-off although they were not cleared for take-off. The KLM flight increased speed for take-off. Both the flights were running for take-off when the pilots spotted each other’s planes. KLM attempted a steep climb, they stalled and came down 500 feet and slid 1000 feet. The planes collided and the total death toll reached to around 583.


Benxihu Colliery Explosion - Ten Devastating Unnatural Disasters

This was an iron and coal mine located in Liaoning China. Japanese invaded this mine during the Second World War and induced forced labor on the people. On the 26th April in 1942 a build-up of gas caused an explosion. Huge flames burst from the entrance. The Japanese guards fled from the site. The shafts were cleaned over the next ten days. Many people had died because of the explosion and excessive inhaling of CO (Carbon monoxide). The total death toll to be reported was 1,549 and that included 31 Japanese.


Halifax Explosion - Ten Devastating Unnatural Disasters

This is considered to be the world’s largest man-made accidental explosion. It happened on 6th December in 1917. Imo collided with the Mont-Blanc as it attempted to leave the channel. Mont-Blanc was carrying 2,300 tons of wet and dry picric acid, 200 tons of TNT, 10 tons of gun cotton and 35 tons of benzoyl (explosive mixture). The collision happened at 8:44 am. The crew on Mont-Blanc abandoned the ship and within twenty minutes of the collision it exploded with 3 kilotons of force (1/5th force of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima). An 18m high tsunami hit the shores. A total of 1,950 people died in this accident.


Church of the Company - Ten Devastating Unnatural Disasters

This is considered as the worst fire disaster in the history of mankind. It occurred in Santiago, Chile and the date was 8th December 1863. The Church was celebrating the Feast of Immaculate Conception when a veil draping caught fire from a nearby gas lamp. An onlooker attempted to extinguish the fire by using another cloth and because of that the fire spread to the roof. The doors could not be opened because the Church was fully packed. Many people died because of choking on smoke and after three hours of fire, the roof collapsed killing the remaining people. The incident is estimated to have killed around 2,000 to 3,000 people. It took ten days to remove all the bodies from the Church.


MV Dona Paz - Ten Devastating Unnatural Disasters

The deadliest ferry disaster to ever happen in the world happened on the 20th December in the year 1987. En Route to Manila in the Philippines was the MV Dona Paz. It was carrying around 1,582 people in crew and 58 other staff members. It collided with an oil tanker MT Vector. The tanker was carrying 8,800 barrels of gasoline. Vector caught fire upon collision (obviously) and the flames rapidly spread throughout the ship. The passengers jumped overboard without lifejackets because none were available. A total of 26 people were rescued from the choppy waters including two crew members of the Vector. Around 1,749 to 4,341 people are reported to have died in the disaster.


Bombing of Chongqing - Ten Devastating Unnatural Disasters

Japanese Army conducted 5,000 bombing runs on the city of Chongqing in China. 11,500 bombs were dropped. These bombings targeted schools, hospitals and residential areas. Around 2,500 people suffocated while waiting for the bombings to end. There is a museum in remembrance of these people. Every 5th June an air raid siren is sounded as a tribute to the people who lost their lives. The total death toll was around 2,500 to 4,000.


The Great Smog - Ten Devastating Unnatural Disasters

London has attracted pollution since the industrial revolution. One of the extreme polluted events happened in 1952. The event is referred to as ‘The Great Smog of ‘52’. It lasted for five days in the beginning of December. The winters were cold and people burned a lot of coal that resulted in extreme emissions of Sulphur Dioxide. That mixed with fumes from diesel car exhausts and the winds that blew all across Europe caused this smog. The result was the death of around 4,000 to 12,000 people.


Bhopal Disaster - Ten Devastating Unnatural Disasters

In the year 1984 around 2nd and 3rd December, the Union Carbide pesticide plant leaked Methyl Isocyanate (MIC). It happened in Bhopal, India. A tank contained 42 tons of MIC and it leaked because of some water that entered the tank. The water initiated a chemical reaction that raised the temperature above 200 degrees. It increased the pressure and therefore the leak. Exposure to MIC resulted in coughing, vomiting and a sense of suffocation. The leak killed around 16,000 to 30,000 people.


Fidenae - Ten Devastating Unnatural Disasters

The collapse took place in 27AD. It happened in Fidenae which is an ancient town close to Rome, Italy. It seated around 50,000 people. It collapsed during the opening ceremony and killed around 20,000 people. It is considered to be the worst stadium disaster in the history of mankind. Atilius who built this amphitheatre was banished from the Empire. The Roman Senate passed a law that only citizens with wealth exceeding 400,000 sesterces would be allowed to host such games.


Banqiao Dam Collapse - Ten Devastating Unnatural Disasters

This dam was built in 1952 to control the flooding in Huai River Basin in Henan province, China. It provided the region with 18GW of power. Cracks appeared in the construction soon after completion and they were repaired under Soviet engineer’s guidance. It was known as ‘The Iron Dam’. It could withstand 300mm of rain however; in August 1975 the area had 1060mm of rain. The dam broke and 78,800 tons of water per second burst out of it. Around 26,000 to 230,000 people died.

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