Top 10 Man-Made Catastrophes

5. Benxihu Colliery Explosion

Located in Benxi, Liaoning- China- this coal mine was seized by the Japanese during the Second World War. It was during this dark time that a coal dust/gas explosion occurred killing around 1,500 workers. The incident is commonly noted as the biggest disaster of its kind in the history of the coal mining industry. The initial destruction caused by the explosion was intensified in terms of eventual casualties due to the actions of the Japanese guards, they are said to have sealed the pit entrances in an attempt starve the fire of oxygen whilst there were still workers underground.


4. Halifax Explosion

The natural harbour at Halifax, Nova Scotia became the site of the largest accidental man-made explosion in human history when 2 ships carrying arms and bound for the European front collided a short distance from the shoreline. After burning for a short while one of the ships, the SS Mont-Blanc exploded with such a force that its cloud of debris and smoke travelled almost 2km into the air- also causing a tidal wave which engulfed the other ship, Imo as well as causing havoc on the shoreline. Almost 2,000 people lost their lives as a result of the accidental collision, many of them civilians on the shoreline.


3. Tenerife Airport Disaster

This is another example of accidental collision causing the unnecessary death of many people. The tranquil holiday island of Tenerife, in the Canary Islands, was shaken to its core on March 27 1977 when 2 Boeing 747’s collided on its airports runway. The accident is attributed to the heavy fog which lay over the island on the day, and also the failure of one pilot to secure final take-off authorisation. The KLM aircraft, which was attempting to take off, collided with a taxying Pan Am flight- resulting in both aircraft succumbing to numerous explosions- 583 people lost their lives.


2. Chernobyl

In April of 1986 for the first time since the nuclear age began some 40 or 50 years earlier, an unplanned nuclear scale explosion occurred. It happened at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the Ukraine, which at the time constituted part of the USSR. The explosion released around 400 times more nuclear fallout than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945, and the effect was huge. Nuclear rain fell all over Europe, with many of those in the immediate few hundred miles of the plant suffering most greatly. The amount killed by this disaster is something still intensely debated, mostly due to the ambiguous nature of radiation poisoning; it is likely to still be killing even now.


1. Bhopal

The most destructive of industrial accidents in recorded history occurred in the city of Bhopal, India on the evening of December 3rd 1984. A local pesticide plant suffered a lapse which saw a large amount of water unknowingly entering a separate tank containing methyl isocyanate. The chemical reaction caused by this mixture gradually began heating tank- a misfortune which resulted in toxic gas polluting the cities atmosphere. The air essentially became poisonous over a very short period- leading to the deaths of 10,000 citizen in just 3 days. Many more died in the weeks following as a result of the gas, at the hands of horrific diseases.

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