Seconds From Disaster--

[edit]Season 1 (2004)

#AirdateTitleDisasterDate of disasterNature of disaster
1July 6"Crash Of The Concorde"
Air France Flight 4590July 25, 2000Tire blowout, fuel leak, wing fire
As a Concorde supersonic jet operating as Air France Flight 4590 takes off from Charles de Gaulle International Airport, it catches fire and crashes into a hotel in Gonesse, killing all 109 people on board and four in the hotel.
2July 13"Tunnel Inferno"Mont Blanc Tunnel fireMarch 24, 1999Lorry engine catches fire, initial cause uncertain.
A truck carrying margarine catches fire in the Mont Blanc Tunnel, which connects France and Italy under Mont Blanc. 38 people are killed in the inferno.
3July 20"The Bomb in Oklahoma City"
(Oklahoma City)
Oklahoma City bombingApril 19, 1995Truck bomb
In retaliation against the U.S. government, Timothy McVeigh parks a truck carrying a bomb in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. Minutes later it explodes, destroying the building and killing 168 people.
4July 27"Fire on the Star"
(Fire On board the Star)
M/S Scandinavian Star FireApril 7, 1990Arson, confusing ship layout, lack of staff training and common language
An arsonist sets a fire on deck 3 of the Frederikshavn, Denmark-bound M/S Scandinavian Star, loaded with passengers and cars atOslo, Norway. 158 people on board die from smoke inhalation.
5August 3"Derailment at Eschede"
(High speed train crash)
Eschede train disasterJune 3, 1998Metal fatigue
A wheel of the InterCity Express (ICE) No. 884 'Wilhelm Konrad Röntgen' fails during travel in Eschede, Germany. The train derails and collides with a bridge, killing 101 people and injuring 88.
6August 10"Wreck of the Sunset Limited"1993 Big Bayou Canot train wreckSeptember 22, 1993Barge collision with bridge in fog, bent tracks
After one of a string of barges hit a support of a bridge in Big Bayou Canot, the Sunset Limited (an Amtrak train) derails as it crosses the bridge, resulting in its collapse and the deaths of 47 people.
7August 17"Meltdown in Chernobyl"Chernobyl disasterApril 26, 1986Design flaws in reactor, poor management
An explosion at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant kills 56 people while the health of thousands more continue to be affected.
8August 24"Inferno in Guadalajara"
(Inferno at Guadalajara)
Guadalajara gas explosionsApril 22, 1992Metal-to-metal corrosion, gas leak into sewers
Days after residents of Guadalajara complained of a foul smell, a series of gasoline-fueled explosions in the sewers kills 206 people.
9August 31"Fire on the Ski Slope"Kaprun disasterNovember 11, 2000Hydraulic oil leaked onto fan heater element, caught fire
funicular train catches fire as it travels through a tunnel at the Kaprun Ski Resort, killing 155 people. Only 12 survived by walking downwards and out of the tunnel.
10October 5"Explosion in the North Sea"Piper Alpha disasterJuly 6, 1988LPG explosion, ruptured pipelines, human error
A series of explosions and fires on the Piper Alpha, an oil platform 110 miles off the coast of Scotland that had been converted toliquified petroleum gas (LPG) production, results in the deaths of 167 people and the collapse of the platform.
11October 12"Flood at Stava Dam"
(Flood at Stava)
Collapse of Stava DamJuly 19, 1985Poor maintenance and management, water overload in the top dam
Two dams above the village of Stava in northern Italy collapse, causing an ensuing mudslide and flood down the Stava River valley that kills 268 people in the village below.
12October 19"Collision on the Runway"Tenerife airport disasterMarch 27, 1977pilot error, pilot attempted to take off in limited visibility without ensuring that the runway was clear
KLM Boeing 747 slams into a Pan Am Boeing 747, causing both to explode on the runway at Los Rodeos Airport in the Canary Islands, killing 583 people.
13October 26"Pentagon 9/11"
(Pentagon 9-11)
(Pentagon Plane Crash)
American Airlines Flight 77September 11, 2001Hijacking, intentional low level building crash
As the World Trade Center in New York City burns after being hit by two hijacked aircraft, another hijacked Boeing 757-200 is deliberately flown into The Pentagon in Washington, D.C., killing all 64 people on board and 125 on the ground.

[edit]Season 2 (2005)

#AirdateTitleDisasterDate of disasterNature of disaster
1June 28"Space Shuttle Columbia"
(Columbia's Last Flight)
Space Shuttle Columbia disasterFebruary 1, 2003Hole in thermal protection plates in the left wing caused from a piece of insulating foam from external fuel tank
As the Space Shuttle Columbia lifts off from the Kennedy Space Center 16 days before re-entry, a piece of insulating foam breaks off the external fuel tank and damages the left wing of the shuttle. As it enters the Earth's atmosphere during the return trip, it disintegrates under the massive heat, killing all seven astronauts on board.
2July 5"Alpine Tsunami"Galtür avalancheFebruary 23, 1999Powder avalanche
At the Austrian alpine village of Galtur, snow on the mountains surrounding the village build up. Due to the changing temperature during the month, a strong but brittle layer of ice forms under the snow. On the day of the disaster, the ice layer collapses and the building ice bank slips down the slope and forms a powder avalanche. Two minutes later, it hits Galtur and buries 57 people in the snow, killing 31 of them.
3July 12"Motorway Plane Crash"
(Freeway Plane Crash)
British Midland Flight 092January 8, 1989Fan blade failure, lack of cockpit simulation emergency training, pilot error, shutting down the wrong engine
British Midland Flight 092, a two-month-old Boeing 737-400, takes-off from Heathrow Airport in London, heading for Belfast. While en route the aircraft's left engine suffers a fan blade failure. Changes in cabin air intake design and engine performance gauges cause the pilot to shut down the wrong engine and prepare for an emergency landing at East Midlands Airport which is just across the M1 motorway at Kegworth. On approach to the airport the damaged left engine fails completely and then catches fire. The crew tries to glide the aircraft to the runway but it bounces over the M1 and crashes on the embankment of the motorway, killing 47 people.
4July 26"Mount St. Helens Eruption"1980 eruption of Mount St. HelensMay 18, 1980Lava bulge opened by earthquakevolcanic eruptionlahars, landslide
Mount St. Helens in the countryside of Washington erupts for the first time in 123 years. A building bulge on the north face of the volcano collapses after a small tremor. It starts a landslide that removes the plug on the volcano, starting the eruption. The eruption of Mt. St. Helens kills 57 people.
5August 16"Zeebrugge Ferry Disaster"
(Capsized in the North Sea)
MS Herald of Free EnterpriseMarch 6, 1987Crew error
The British car ferry M/S Herald of Free Enterprise departs the port of Zeebrugge in Belgium. The crew have left the bow doors open and water splashes into the car deck. So much water pours in that the car ferry capsizes, taking the lives of 193 passengers and crew.
6August 30"Kobe Earthquake"
(Killer Quake)
1995 earthquake in KobeJanuary 17, 1995Earthquake
The Japanese city of Kobe is rocked by the Great Hanshin Earthquake which destroys most of its buildings. The driver of a bus and his passengers have a narrow escape when the earthquake causes a section of an elevated freeway to fall leaving the bus dangling over the edge. Many traditional houses collapse due to the heavy roofs and weak walls. Liquefaction occurs at the coastal and port areas of Kobe. 6,434 people die in what was Japan's worst peacetime disaster until the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.
7September 13"Crash Landing at Sioux City"
(Crash Landing in Sioux City)
United Airlines Flight 232July 19, 1989Catastrophic engine failure, loss of hydraulics, uncontrollable landing
United Airlines Flight 232, a McDonnell Douglas DC-10, loses hydraulic pressure after the tail-mounted no.2 engine's fan blade splits and disintegrates. The damage to the aircraft is so severe that it can only turn right. The pilots try to land at Sioux City, Iowa. As the DC-10 descends towards the runway at 6 times the normal descent rate, it rolls right, causing it to break up into three main parts and explode into a fireball. 111 of the 285 people on board are killed in the emergency landing.
8September 20"The Bali Bombing"
(Disco Bombing)
2002 Bali bombingsOctober 12, 2002Suicide bomb, truck bomb and mobile-started bomb
Bombers in Bali attempt to detonate bombs in three different places. The first, a suicide bomb, is detonated in a small nightclub across the road from another nightclub, the Sari Club. A second bomb, a truck filled with explosives parked outside the Sari Club explodes 15 seconds after the first. 45 seconds later, a third mobile activated bomb detonates outside the United States Consulate. The total death toll is 202.
9September 27"Hotel Collapse Singapore"
(Hotel Collapse)
Hotel New World disasterMarch 15, 1986Construction error, column failure
Hotel New World, a 1-star budget hotel located in Singapore's Little India district, collapses due to growing microcracks in the failing columns. The cracks are caused by the additional weight put on the hotel. After a seven day rescue operation, 17 people are saved, but 33 perish.
10October 18"TWA 800"
(TWA Flight 800)
(The Last Flight of TWA 800)
Trans World Airlines Flight 800July 17, 1996Center fuel tank explosion probably caused by vaporised fuel ignited from a short circuit
TWA Flight 800 leaves New York for Paris 80 minutes late. Only 12 minutes into the flight, there are short circuits in electrical wires which cause ignition of vaporised jet fuel in the center fuel tank. The explosion causes the nose of the aircraft to break off. The plane continues to disintegrate as it plummets into the sea, killing all 230 on board.
11November 1"Paris Train Crash"
(Runaway Train)
Gare de Lyon rail accidentJune 27, 1988Brake failure caused by passenger pulling emergency brakes and crew error
A commuter train bound for Paris is forced to stop at Melun when a woman pulls the emergency brake. The crew reset the brake system so the train can resume its trip. They make a series of mistakes that results in the train being unable to brake and slow down. When the train arrives at the Gare de Lyon, it collides with another train parked at the station, killing 56 people.
12November 15"The Hindenburg"
(Hindenburg Airship)
(Hindenburg Air Ship)
Hindenburg disasterMay 6, 1937Hydrogen leak, static ignition
The zeppelin LZ-129 Hindenburg approaches the Lakehurst Naval Air Station for landing. Thunderstorms have added static electricity to the zeppelin's skin. It makes two sharp turns as it approaches the air field, something that the Hindenburg was not designed to do. A cable in one of the hydrogen cells snap and whiplashes the cell. When the landing ropes touch the ground, they are slowly soaked by the light rain falling, a static spark ignites the hydrogen leak. The zeppelin explodes into an inferno and crashes, killing 35 of the 97 people on board and one ground crew member.
13December 13"Puerto Rico Gas Explosion"Humberto Vidal ExplosionNovember 21, 1996Propane gas leak
For days, a foul smell hangs around in the Humberto Vidal shoe store in San JuanPuerto Rico. The smell is caused by leaking propane gas coming from an unmapped pipe in the sloping road near the shoe store. Then, an air conditioner with bad wiring is switched on, starting a spark that ignites the propane and the store explodes, claiming 33 lives.

[edit]Season 3 (2006-2007)

#AirdateTitleDisasterDate of disasterNature of disaster
1January 10, 2006"Skywalk Collapse"
(Hotel Skywalk)
Hyatt Regency walkway collapseJuly 17, 1981Construction failure
1,500 people gather for a dance in the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Kansas City. The 2nd and 4th floor skywalks, hung from steel rods, fail . They collapse and crush 114 people to death. This was the worst structural failure in the United States.
2March 28, 2006"Amsterdam Air Crash"
(Schiphol Plane Crash)
(Plane Crash in the Suburbs)
El Al Flight 1862October 4, 1992Metal fatigue in the fuse pin, engine collision
El Al Flight 1862, a Boeing 747-200F cargo airliner, takes-off from Schiphol Airport near Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Metal fatigue in the fuse pin holding up the inner engine on the right wing causes it to fail and force the engine to break off. The engine running at full power shoots forward and knocks out the outer engine and damages 30 ft. of the wing. The lift between the wings becomes unbalanced, but at its current speed, the aircraft is able to remain relatively level in the air. Eight minutes later, when the crew slow down the 747 for landing, it banks sharply to the right and loses altitude. Now out of control, the aircraft crashes into a high-rise apartment building, killing 43 people.
3April 18, 2006"Russia's Nuclear Sub Nightmare"
(Sinking of the Kursk)
(The Kursk)
Russian submarine Kursk explosionAugust 12, 2000Hydrogen peroxide leak, chemical reaction, poor maintenance
During a training mission, a torpedo on board the Kursk leaks hydrogen peroxide. It reacts with iron oxide (rust) in the submarine and blasts the front of the Kursk. Although the submarine has explosion-proof walls, the explosion spreads through the ventilation shafts. 135 seconds later, another explosion rocks the submarine. Then it sinks, killing all but 23 men on board. While they wait to be rescued, special boards that produce oxygen to breathe drop into the oily floor, starting a reaction that creates a fire, killing the survivors.
4May 19, 2006"King's Cross Fire"
(Kings Cross Fire)
(London's Subway Inferno)
King's Cross fireNovember 18, 1987Dropped match, trench effect
A smoker drops a lit match down through a gap between steps in a wooden escalator at the King's Cross tube (underground railway) station, where it ignites grease and accumulated litter. Noticing the glow of the fire, someone presses the emergency knob to stop the escalator. Although most of the blaze remains hidden, the entire area under the escalator is soon on fire. The growing conflagration causes the escalator above it to heat up. It gets so hot that, aided by the rising draught up the stairway, it combusts and blasts a fireball up the escalator, killing 31 people in the ticket hall 20 metres away. This effect is now called the trench effect.
5June 27, 2006"US Embassy Bombings"
(American Embassy Bombing)
(Nairobi Bombing)
1998 U.S. embassy bombingsAugust 7, 1998Truck bombs
In Dar-es-SalaamTanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya, truck bombs destroy the U.S. Embassy buildings killing 257 and injuring thousands.Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda are responsible for the attacks.
6July 11, 2006"Florida Swamp Air Crash"
(Everglades Plane Crash)
(Florida Air Crash)
ValuJet Flight 592May 11, 1996Activation of chemical oxygen generators, in-flight fire
ValuJet Flight 592, a DC-9 with 110 people on board, is bound for Atlanta, Georgia from Miami, Florida. While it taxis for take-off, expired oxygen generators being transported in the cargo hold self-activate. The oxygen ignites in the overheated hold. Shortly after take-off, the cargo fire grows so large that the cabin is consumed in flames. The jet loses control and goes down in the Everglades. There are no survivors as the wreckage is entirely absorbed by the swamp.
7July 25, 2006"Titanic"
(Sinking of the Titanic)
RMS TitanicApril 14–15, 1912Iceberg collision, rivet failure
The RMS Titanic, on its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York with over 2,000 people on board, strikes an iceberg. The rivets holding the hull together fail upon impact, allowing water to enter the first five compartments, one more than the ship can handle and remain afloat. It transpires that the vessel is equipped with insufficient lifeboats. Within 2 hours and 40 minutes, the ship sinks, taking with it 1,517 lives.
8August 15, 2006"Aircraft Carrier Explosion"USS Forrestal fireJuly 29, 1967Accidental firing of rocket into armed aircraft, resultant fire detonates various munitions
Fighter aircraft on the aircraft carrier USS Forrestal prepare to launch for a sortie over Vietnam. An electrical power surge together with an ineffective safety mechanism and altered weapon-arming procedures cause the accidental firing of a Zuni rocket. The rocket strikes another armed and fuelled aircraft, starting a fire that detonates various munitions. Firefighting efforts inadvertently spread the fire below deck. The disaster kills 132 personnel with a further 161 wounded and 2 missing, presumed dead.
9September 6, 2006"Plane Crash in Queens"
(New York Air Crash)
American Airlines Flight 587November 12, 2001Design flaw, pilot error, improper use of rudder
American Airlines Flight 587, operated by an Airbus A300-600R, leaves John F. Kennedy Airport for Santo Domingo. Shortly after take-off, the A300 encounters wake turbulence from a Japan Airlines Boeing 747 that has taken off from the same runway 30 seconds earlier, causing it to roll violently about its lateral axis. The handling pilot attempts to stabilize the airliner by applying firm rudder, but this is so extreme that it overstresses the attachments between the fuselage and the vertical stabilizer (or 'fin'), causing them to fail. The entire fin then breaks away. Without the fin to give it lateral stability, the aircraft rolls out of control and crashes into Rockaway,Queens, killing all 260 people on board and five on the ground.
10September 13, 2006"Munich Olympic Massacre"
(Munich Olympics Massacre)
(Olympic Hostage Crisis)
Munich MassacreSeptember 5–6, 1972Hostage taking, helicopter explosion from grenade, failed rescue attempt
During the Olympic Games in Munich, 11 Israeli athletes are held hostage by Palestinian terrorists. They supply a list of Palestine prisoners whose release they demand in exchange for freeing the athletes. But at Fürstenfeldbruck Airport, a rescue attempt goes wrong, and by 12:00 am on the next day, 17 people are dead.
11September 20, 2006"Superstore Collapse"
(Department Store Collapse)
Sampoong Department Store collapseJune 29, 1995Design failure, bribery
The five-story Sampoong Department Store in Seoul, South Korea is kept open, despite reservations about its safety, until the entire store collapses and 501 people die.
12September 27, 2006"Plane Crash in the Potomac"
(Washington Air Crash)
Air Florida Flight 90January 13, 1982Icy conditions, pilot error
Air Florida Flight 90 leaves Washington National Airport in Washington, D.C., for Miami with 79 passengers and crew on board. The Boeing 737-200 has been delayed for hours by bad weather conditions, allowing ice to build up and disrupt the airflow over the wings. Seconds after getting airborne, the aircraft stalls and crashes into the 14th Street Bridge. It bounces off and slams into the icy Potomac river. Five people are rescued but 78 lose their lives, four of them motorists on the bridge.
13October 25, 2006"Asian Tsunami"2004 Indian Ocean earthquakeDecember 26, 2004Massive megathrust earthquake, ocean-widetsunamis
The second largest earthquake in 40 years, with a magnitude of 9.3, strikes the town of Banda Aceh, Indonesia. Soon, it unleashes a tsunami which takes nearly 230,000 lives around the coasts of the entire Indian Ocean.
14November 15, 2006"Comet Air Crash"
(Crash of the Comet)
BOAC Flight 781
South African Airways Flight 201
BOAC 781: January 10, 1954
SAA 201: April 8, 1954
Design failure, metal fatigue
de Havilland DH.106 Comet 1, the world's first passenger jet airliner, takes off from Rome but explodes over the Tyrrhenian Sea 26 minutes into the flight, killing 35. Three months later, another Comet crashes into the sea at night, evidently in the same manner. It emerges that in both crashes the aluminium hull of the aircraft has split open. The cause is determined to have been metal fatigue, brought about by factors including repeated pressurisation of the cabin to a higher and more frequent degree than previously experienced, the square-cornered design of fuselage apertures such as windows, and an inadequate understanding of the behaviour of metals in the conditions of high-altitude flight. The investigation results in improved metallurgical understanding from which all aircraft design greatly benefits.
This episode mainly focuses on BOAC Flight 781, the first to crash.
15November 29, 2006"Chicago Air Crash"
(Flight Engine Down)
(Chicago Flight 191)
American Airlines Flight 191May 25, 1979Faulty maintenance, metal fatigue, loss of hydraulic fluid for left wing slats
American Airlines Flight 191, a DC-10, takes-off from Chicago's O'Hare Airport. As the aircraft lifts off the runway the engine breaks free from the left wing and flies over and behind it, smashing onto the runway and leaving a gash in the wing leading edge. A leak of hydraulic fluid from the damaged wing leads to loss of hydraulic pressure, in turn causing the left wing slats to retract, depriving that wing of lift. The resulting asymmetric condition of the wings causes the DC-10 to roll rapidly to the left, becoming almost inverted. It crashes into a trailer park, killing all on board plus two on the ground. The cause is found to lie in time- and money-saving maintenance methods adopted by the airline, with the non-redundant design of the controls operating the DC-10's flying surfaces ajudged a contributing factor.
16December 6, 2006"Texas Oil Explosion"
(Texas Refinery Disaster)
(Oil Fire in Texas)
Texas BP Refinery explosionMarch 23, 2005Human error
At the BP Oil Refinery in Texas City, a test on the distillation tower goes wrong. Liquid waste builds up and flows out through the blowout tower. Waste fumes ignite and detonate, destroying a trailer placed dangerously close to the blowout tower. Fifteen workers die.
17January 2, 2007"Tornado Outbreak"The Super OutbreakApril 3–4, 1974Outbreak of tornadoes from storm cell
The most violent outbreak of tornadoes in history, the Super Outbreak, releases 149 tornadoes in 13 American states and one province in Canada. Thousands of homes are destroyed and over 350 people die. 5,000 people are left homeless or injured, or both.
This episode focuses on the 148 tornadoes that hit the USA.
18January 31, 2007"Space Shuttle Explosion"
(Space Shuttle Challenger)
Space Shuttle Challenger disasterJanuary 28, 1986O-ring failure due to icy conditions, strong jetstream
Space Shuttle Challenger blasts off from Cape Canaveral to start the STS-51-L mission. A badly damaged joint in a solid rocket booster leaks hot gases that impinge on its mount on the external tank. 73 seconds later, the external tank breaks up, the solid rocket boosters fly free, and aerodynamic forces rip Challenger into pieces that fall into the ocean. All seven astronauts on board are killed. Record low temperatures were a major contributing factor to the accident.
19March 7, 2007"Eruption on Montserrat"
(When the Volcano Blew)
1995-1997 eruption of Soufrière HillsJuly 18, 1995-December 26, 1997Volcanic eruptionlava dome collapse, pyroclastic flows
In July 1995, the Soufrière Hills volcano on the Caribbean island of Montserrat spews ash over the island. The nearby capital of Plymouth is evacuated. Two years on, Soufrière Hills erupts violently. Pyroclastic flows rage down the mountain and destroy Plymouth and Bramble Airport, killing 19 people. The eruption generates a small tsunami.
This episode mainly focuses on the events of July 25, 1997.

[edit]Season 4 (2011)

#AirdateTitleDisasterDate of disasterNature of disaster
1September 5, 2011"9/11"September 11 attacksSeptember 11, 2001Terrorist Attacks
On September 11, 2001 two aircraft are deliberately flown into two buildings of the World Trade Center and one is flown into the Pentagon. Another crashes in a field in rural Pennsylvania.
2September 12, 2011"Pearl Harbor"Attack on Pearl HarborDecember 7, 1941Act of War
On December 7, 1941 Japanese forces attack United States military installations in and around Pearl Harbor, thus bringing the US intoWorld War II.
3September 19, 2011"Paddington Train Crash"Ladbroke Grove rail crashOctober 5, 1999Signal passed at danger
On October 5, 1999 two trains collide at Ladbroke Grove junction near London's Paddington station after the driver of one fails to stop his train at a red signal.
4September 26, 2011TBA2002 Überlingen mid-air collisionJuly 1, 2002Mid-air collision involving ATC/crew/training error
On July 1, 2002 a cargo airliner and a passenger airliner collide while they are over Überlingen in Germany. The two aircraft crash, killing all on board.
5TBATBACavalese cable car disaster (1998)February 3, 1998Controlled flight into terrain
On February 3, 1998 a low-flying Northrop Grumman EA-6B Prowler of the United States Marine Corps hits the support cable of anaerial tramway near the Italian town of Cavalese, severing it. The cabin on the cable falls to the ground, killing the occupants. The aircraft lands safely.

[edit]Unknown Season

#AirdateTitleDisasterDate of disasterNature of disaster
1February 2012 TBA"Sinking of the Bismarck"Last battle of the battleship BismarckMay 27, 1941Act of War
On 27 May, 1941 the German battleship Bismarck is sunk in the North Atlantic Ocean during a naval engagement with ships of theRoyal Navy, killing 2,200 sailors.