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Monday 13 July 2015

1991 World Disaster

World aerospace, fire and explosion, marine, mine, natural, rail, traffic and miscellaneous disaster.

1991: Disasters
Some of the major disasters in 1991 and late 1990 follow.


1.      Australia. The pilot and a family of six died when their helicopter went out of control and crashed near South Stradbroke Island in Queensland on March 3.
2.      California. On February 1 a USAir jetliner landing at the Los Angeles International Airport collided on the runway with a small commuter plane, which it destroyed, and then slammed into a nearby building, ripping into two. In all, 34 people lost their lives.
3.      California. Seven members of country singer Reba McEntire's band, her road manager, and two crew members died when their private plane crashed shortly after taking off from just outside San Diego on March 16.
4.      Canada. On October 30 a Canadian C-130 supply plane operated by the Canadian military crashed on the frozen tundra near the outpost of Alert on the tip of Ellesmere Island, the northernmost settlement in the world. Five crewmen froze to death during the 30 hours it took rescuers to arrive; 13 others survived.
5.      Chile. On February 20 a chartered Chilean airliner taxied beyond the landing strip and crashed into the Beagle Channel, 6,500 miles south of Santiago. Nineteen of the passengers, mostly American tourists bound for Antarctica, were killed.
6.      Colorado. A Boeing 737 jet crashed into a park in Colorado Springs on March 3. All 25 on board lost their lives.
7.      Georgia. Former U.S. Senator John G. Tower and 22 others were killed on April 5 when their commuter flight from Atlanta crashed into the woods just 2 miles from its intended destination in Brunswick.
8.      Germany. On December 22 a World War II vintage DC-3 on a charter flight crashed into a hillside near Heidelberg, killing 28 of the 30 people aboard.
9.      India. An Indian Airlines Boeing 737-200 flying from Calcutta to Impahl on August 16 crashed in a remote jungle after catching fire in flight. All 69 on board were killed.
10.  Indonesia. On October 5 a military transport plane carrying airmen crashed after taking off from Jakarta, demolishing a government building. All 136 people aboard the plane and a building guard were killed.
11.  Malaysia. A Du Pont company jet carrying nine passengers and three crew members disappeared from radar screens over Malaysia on September 4. All aboard were Americans.
12.  Pacific Ocean. A midair collision between two P-3 Orion antisubmarine planes resulted in the deaths of 27 Navy servicemen on March 21. The planes were on a routine training mission off the coast of southern California.
13.  Pennsylvania. Senator John Heinz (R, Pa.) and six others died on April 4 in a collision over a Philadelphia suburb between his chartered plane and a helicopter making a midair inspection of the plane's landing gear. Two of those killed were children hit by burning wreckage while playing in a schoolyard.
14.  Saudi Arabia. On March 21, 92 Senegalese troops sent to the Persian Gulf region as part of the multinational force there were killed, along with 6 Saudi crewmen, when their C-130 transport plane crashed at a Saudi air base. The soldiers, all Muslims, were returning from a visit to Mecca. The landing was made difficult by the thick black smoke from burning oil wells.
15.  Saudi Arabia. A DC-8 airliner crashed in the desert near Jiddah on July 11, after attempting an emergency landing soon after takeoff. All 261 on board, mostly Nigerian Muslims returning from a pilgrimage, lost their lives.
16.  Soviet Union. A helicopter on a peace mission to end Armenian-Azerbaijani fighting crashed in heavy fog in the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan on November 20, killing all 22 people aboard, including several high Azerbaijani officials.
17.  Texas. A Continental Express commuter plane flying through clear, calm skies from Laredo to Houston caught fire and crashed in a cornfield on September 11, killing all 14 people on board.
18.  Thailand. All 223 people aboard lost their lives on May 26, when an Austrian-owned Lauda Air Boeing 767-300 crashed about 100 miles from Bangkok. According to Austrian officials, a computer malfunction had switched one of the jet's engines into reverse, rendering it unpilotable.
19.  Venezuela. The wreckage of a CD-9 airliner was found on March 7, two days after the plane strayed off course and lost all radio contact in a mountainous region in western Venezuela. All 43 on board were killed.


20.  California. More than 3,000 houses and apartments were destroyed and at least 25 lives were lost as fire engulfed an affluent area of Oakland, beginning on October 20. The blaze, ranked as the worst in California's history, grew from a small brushfire that was believed extinguished the day before; it was driven by hot, dry winds through drought-stricken, heavily wooded hills. More than 5,000 people were displaced; damage was estimated at $5 billion.
21.  Colorado. A retirement home in Colorado Springs went up in flames on March 4, killing nine people. The blaze, the deadliest ever in the city, apparently started when a furnace ignited a wooden beam.
22.  Ethiopia. On June 5, more than 100 people were reportedly killed by an explosion at a munitions depot in a slum area of Addis Ababa. Members of the defeated Ethiopian Army were suspected of having launched a grenade attack on the facility.
23.  New York. On May 20 a gasoline tanker and a car collided at an intersection in New York City, setting off a fire and explosion that killed 5 and burned down a row of stores.
24.  North Carolina. A fire that started near a deep fat fryer spread quickly through a chicken processing plant in Hamlet, killing 25 people and injuring 55 others on September 3. Blocked fire exits and other safety violations were cited as factors in the deaths.
25.  North Korea. As many as 80 people died in an explosion near a railway station close to the South Korean border on October 30. The blast caused damage to buildings within a 2.5-mile radius.
26.  Soviet Union. A fire at the Leningrad Hotel in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) on February 23 killed 17 people.


27.  Egypt. On December 15 more than 460 of the 640 passengers and crew were killed when a ferry on its way to Safaga sank in the Red Sea after being tossed into a coral reef by 10-foot waves.
28.  Haiti. A boat carrying Haitian refugees to the United States was wrecked off the coast of Cuba on November 19, killing the estimated 135 people aboard.
29.  Hong Kong. A barge capsized 65 miles off the coast of Hong Kong in the South China Sea in stormy weather on August 16. While at least 16 members of the crew died, 173 men were saved by rescuers.
30.  Italy. An Italian ferry collided with an oil tanker on April 10, triggering a fire. While all of the tanker's 28-man crew survived, 142 of the 143 aboard the ferry lost their lives.
31.  Philippines. Two ships capsized in separate incidents in heavy seas on March 28 in the central Philippines. Over 40 people were rescued from the ships before they sank, but 18 were reported missing and presumed dead.


32.  Soviet Union. At least 30 people were killed on June 29 near the Ukrainian city of Dotensk when a gas explosion and ensuing fire spread in a coal mine there.


33.  Afghanistan and Pakistan. On February 1 an earthquake whose epicenter was in the Hindu Kush mountains killed more than 1,000 people. Most of the victims were in remote villages made inaccessible by avalanches and snow.
34.  Bangladesh. More than 125,000 people lost their lives when a cyclone tore through densely populated regions of southeastern Bangladesh on April 30, flattening huts and villages and sweeping away crops. As many as 10 million were left homeless, and international relief efforts were hampered by hazardous weather conditions, loss of communications, and government disorganization.
35.  Chile. More than 115 people died as a massive mudslide brought on by unusual torrential rains swept down a hillside in the desert city of Antofagasta in northern Chile on June 18.
36.  China. Severe flooding beginning in late May devastated areas of southeast China, leaving millions homeless and destroying crops. A government official estimated 1,700 deaths were caused by the flooding.
37.  India. On July 30 a river overflowed into the village of Mohad, killing as many as 500 people and destroying 2,000 homes.
38.  India. On October 20, over 2,000 people died when an earthquake struck the foothills of the Himalayas in the vicinity of Almora, destroying or damaging hundreds of remote villages.
39.  Japan. On the southern island of Kyushu, 43 journalists, scientists, emergency workers, and others died in the eruption of Mount Unzen, as superheated ash and toxic gases spewed from the volcano on June 3, after months of harmless activity.
40.  Japan. The country's worst typhoon in 30 years ripped through the southwestern island of Kyushu and the northernmost island of Hokkaido on September 28, leaving a total of 45 dead and thousands of buildings and houses severely damaged and flooded.
41.  Peru. On April 4, at least 100 people lost their lives in an earthquake that measured 7 on the Richter scale. The jungle city of Moyobamba, home to about 50,000, was leveled, and 20 people died in Nereva Cajamarca, near the quake's epicenter.
42.  Philippines. More than 7,000 people died and thousands were left homeless after a tropical storm hit Samar Island and the island of Leyte on November 5.
43.  Philippines. Over 320 people died soon after the Mount Pinatubo volcano began to spew gas, ash, and rock on June 10; about 85,000 people were evacuated from the surrounding area, which included the Clark Air Base complex. In the ensuing months, hundreds more died due to flooding, mudslides, and disease among the evacuees.
44.  Romania. A wall of water 12 feet high swept through northeastern Romania after a dam burst on July 28 following heavy rains. About 100 people were reported dead or missing.
45.  Soviet Union. An earthquake struck Soviet Georgia on April 29, killing over 100 and leaving 100,000 homeless, mostly in remote mountain villages. A less powerful quake shook Georgia on June 15, killing 8 people.
46.  United States. At least 26 people were killed on April 26, as approximately 70 tornadoes ripped through a seven-state area centered in eastern Kansas. Particularly hard hit was the small town of Andover, Kan., where at least 17 died amid the destruction of a trailer park.
47.  United States. Fifteen deaths were attributed to thunderstorms and tornadoes that swept through the Plains states, the Rockies, and the South in mid-April. Severe flooding also caused extensive property damage, especially in northwest Louisiana.
48.  United States. Hurricane Bob swept the Eastern seaboard from August 17 to 19, killing 12 people and knocking out power in 2.1 million homes and businesses.
49.  United States. Thunderstorms that struck throughout the South in late May were blamed for 23 deaths. Many of the deaths were results of car accidents caused by hazardous road conditions and heavy rain.
50.  Vietnam. Windstorms and flooding killed over 140 people and left many others missing in the coastal provinces of Quang Nam and Da Nang in late December.


51.  Congo. A passenger train and a freight train on the same track collided head-on near Dolisie on September 5; more than 100 people were killed.
52.  France. A head-on collision on October 17 between a passenger train and a freight train at Melun, 30 miles southeast of Paris, resulted in the deaths of 16 people and the injury of 62 others. The freight train was switching tracks when the trains collided, demolishing the front sleeping car of the passenger train.
53.  Japan. A collision between a local train and a tourist train near Shigaraki caused the deaths of 42 people and the injury of more than 400 others on May 14. Passengers remained trapped for up to 13 hours inside the trains.
54.  Mexico. After its brakes failed, a freight train traveling down a hill near the city of Tehuacan on November 19 derailed, then crashed into a line of traffic. At least 30 people died.
55.  New York. A subway train running down Manhattan's east side derailed while switching tracks shortly after midnight on August 28, killing 5 passengers and injuring about 170 others. The motorman, who had been operating the train erratically, left the scene; he later failed an alcohol test and was charged with manslaughter.
56.  Pakistan. A crowded passenger train slammed into a standing freight train at a rural station in Ghothi, in Sindh Province, killing 100 people and injuring at least 200 others on June 8.
57.  South Carolina. An Amtrak passenger train traveling from Miami to New York derailed on July 31 near Camden, leaving 7 dead and 15 hospitalized.


58.  California. During a swirling dust storm near Coalinga on November 29, 17 people died and 150 were injured in a series of violent wrecks over a one-and-a-half mile stretch of highway.
59.  Zimbabwe. At least 80 schoolchildren and 7 adults died on August 3 when a crowded, speeding bus crashed while attempting to make a sharp turn 180 miles southeast of Harare.
61.  Mexico. More than 40 Mexicans were suffocated or trampled to death in a narrow alleyway, while participating in a pilgrimage in Chalma, on February 13.
62.  South Africa. Forty people were killed on January 13 after fighting broke out in the stands at a soccer game between two popular teams from Soweto. Most of those who died had knocked over a security fence in an effort to flee and were trampled.
63.  New York. On December 28 nine people were crushed to death in a crowded stairwell at a charity basketball game featuring rap celebrities at City College in New York City.

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