▪ 2009IntroductionAviationJanuary 23, Poland. A Spanish-built CASA transport plane carrying members of the Polish air force home from a conference on flight safety in Warsaw crashes near the town of Miroslawiec; all 20 aboard are killed.February 21, Venezuela. A Santa Barbara Airlines ATR 42-300 turboprop crashes into a mountainside in Sierra La Culata National Park shortly after takeoff from Mérida; all 46 aboard are killed.April 3, Suriname. A Blue Wings Airlines Antonov An-28 airliner crashes on its approach to the airport in Benzdorp; all 19 aboard lose their lives.April 15, Democratic Republic of the Congo. An airliner taking off from the airport in Goma crashes into a busy market neighbourhood and bursts into flames; more than 40 people, most of them on the ground, are killed.April 28, Black Sea. A Ukrainian Mi-8 helicopter plummets into the Black Sea after its tail hits an offshore drilling platform; 19 of the 20 aboard die in the crash.May 2, The Sudan. A Beechcraft 1900 airplane crashes near Rumbek, killing at least 23 people, including the southern Sudan's minister of defense, Dominic Dim.May 29, Panama. A helicopter carrying Chilean police officials from Colón to Panama City, where they had been attending a meeting of Latin American antiterrorism leaders, crashes on top of a building; at least 15 people, including the head of Chile's national police force and at least 4 people on the ground, are killed.June 10, Khartoum, The Sudan. A Sudanese airliner bursts into flames after landing; at least 30 of the 214 people aboard are incinerated.August 20, Spain. An MD-82 airliner operated by the low-cost carrier Spanair and bound for the Canary Islands goes off the end of the runway at Madrid Barajas International Airport on takeoff and bursts into flames; at least 154 of those aboard perish.August 24, Kyrgyzstan. A passenger jet bound for Iran crashes shortly after takeoff from Manas International Airport in Bishkek, killing at least 64 passengers; 22 survive.September 1, Democratic Republic of the Congo. A small plane crashes into a mountainside during a thunderstorm; all 17 aboard, most of them aid workers, are feared dead.September 14, Russia. While traveling from Moscow to Perm, a Boeing 737 passenger jet operated by an Aeroflot subsidiary crashes when preparing to land; all 88 aboard die.October 8, Nepal. A Yeti Airlines Twin Otter airplane attempting to land at tiny Lukla Airport in the Himalayan Mountains catches its wheels on a security fence and crashes; 18 of the 19 people aboard, including 12 Germans and 2 Australians, are killed.Fires and ExplosionsJanuary 7, Inch'on, S.Kor. Fire breaks out at a newly built cold storage facility; some 40 people are believed to have lost their lives.January 31, Istanbul. An explosion, likely caused by fireworks ignited by an earlier fire, destroys a building; at least 22 people die in the blast.March 15, Near Tirana, Alb. A series of strong explosions at a munitions depot kills 26 people and injures more than 300.March 26, Xinjiang province, China. As authorities attempt to destroy illegal fireworks outside the city of Turpan, an unplanned explosion occurs; 22 people are reported killed.April 7, Uganda. A fire in a dormitory for a girls' elementary school outside Kampala kills 19 schoolgirls and 2 adults; the cause is unclear, and reports indicate that the doors may have been locked from the outside.April 26, Casablanca, Mor. A four-story mattress factory goes up in flames; at least 55 people succumb.May 15, Nigeria. A fuel pipeline in a village near Lagos is ruptured by road construction equipment, causing much of the area to be engulfed in flames; some 100 people are killed.August 1, Balcilar, Tur. A gas explosion causes the collapse of a three-story girls' dormitory; at least 17 students are crushed to death.August 26, Guangxi autonomous region, China. A series of explosions in the Guangxi Guangwei Chemical Co. factory that last for seven hours leave at least 20 workers dead in Yizhou.August 28, Limani, Cameroon. After an oil tanker overturns, residents rush to salvage the leaking gasoline, but a spark from a passing bus causes an explosion and fire; dozens of people, including passengers on the bus, are incinerated.September 20, Guangdong province, China. In Shenzhen ignited fireworks cause a fire in a nightclub that leaves at least 43 people dead.October 23, Rajasthan state, India. A powerful explosion demolishes an illegal fireworks factory in the village of Deeg; at least 26 people lose their lives.December 24, Yevpatoria, Ukraine. An explosion destroys an apartment building, and at least 19 people are killed; it is thought that oxygen tanks stored in the basement may have been the cause.MarineFebruary 21, Near Itacoatiara, Braz. The Almirante Monteiro, a ferry, collides with a barge in the Amazon River and sinks to the bottom; some 20 people are feared lost.February 28, Near Dhaka, Bangladesh. A ferry collides with another vessel in the Buriganga River; at least 39 passengers are killed.March 3, Bay of Bengal. A wooden trawler carrying would-be migrants to Malaysia from Bangladesh and Myanmar (Burma) is found drifting by the Sri Lankan navy; 20 of the more than 90 passengers have died of starvation and dehydration.March 6, Albania. A boat that is used to carry customers to and from a restaurant on Lake Farka near Tirana sinks; 16 people, most of whom had attended a birthday party at the restaurant, are drowned.March 22, Off Hong Kong's Lantao Island. A Ukrainian tugboat collides with a Chinese freighter and sinks; 18 crew members are feared lost.April 1, Nigeria. In Kano state, a dugout canoe carrying a wedding party capsizes; at least 40 people, including the bride, drown.April 20, Off the Bahamas. Rescue workers find the bodies of 20 drowned Haitians in the sea as well as three survivors; the vessel that had been carrying them is not found.May 4, Brazil. The wooden ferry Comandante Sales, carrying a group of some 80 partygoers, capsizes and sinks in the Solimões River; at least 41 people drown.May 12, Bangladesh. A ferry on the Ghorautra River goes down quickly in bad weather; at least 44 people die.May 19, Democratic Republic of the Congo. An overloaded passenger boat sinks in a storm on Lake Tanganyika; dozens of people are lost.June 7, Libya. A boat carrying would-be migrants to Italy capsizes shortly after departing from Zuwarah; at least 40 people are drowned, with a further 100 missing.June 21, Philippines. The MV Princess of Stars, a large ferry, capsizes and sinks in a typhoon off the island of Sibuyan; some 800 people perish. July 22, Democratic Republic of the Congo. A motorboat carrying passengers from Mobayi Bongo to the Central African Republic sinks in the Ubangi River; at least 47 people drown, with a further 100 missing.August 27, South of Malta. An overloaded boat that left Zuwarah, Libya, carrying would-be migrants from The Sudan and Eritrea takes on water and sinks; 71 people are feared lost.August 29, Bihar state, India. An Indian army boat rescuing victims of the flooding disaster that caused the Kosi River to change course capsizes; some 20 flood victims and soldiers drown.November 3, Yemen. The international group Doctors Without Borders reports that 60 bodies have washed up onto the shores over the past two days; the dead had put out from Boosaaso, Som., in boats, and some had been forced overboard by smugglers, while one boat capsized.November 4, Philippines. An inter-island ferry bound for Sorsogon goes down in bad weather; at least 40 people perish.November 8, Sea of Japan. A Russian nuclear submarine undergoing testing suffers an accident with its fire-extinguishing system that fills two compartments with Freon gas, asphyxiating at least 20 workers.December 14, Philippines. An overloaded ferry just entering the mouth of the Cagayan River capsizes; at least 23 passengers drown, with 33 others missing.Mining and ConstructionJanuary 11, Kazakhstan. An ArcelorMittal-owned coal mine suffers a gas explosion; at least 30 miners are killed.January 16, Morocco. An apartment building under construction in Kenitra collapses, killing at least 16 workers.January 21, Shanxi province, China. As miners attempt to reopen a shaft in a closed mine, an explosion takes place that kills at least 20 people.August 9, Boussoukoula, Burkina Faso. At an illegal gold mine, rain causes a mine collapse and mud slide in which at least 34 workers are buried, with dozens more reported missing.September 20, Hegang, Heilongjiang province, China. A coal mine fire leaves 19 miners dead and 12 missing.September 21, Henan province, China. A gas explosion in a coal mine kills at least 37 miners; 9 are missing.November 7, Pétionville, Haiti. A third floor is being added to a church-run school when the building collapses, crushing to death at least 91 schoolchildren and teachers.November 15, Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China. A section of a subway tunnel that is being constructed collapses; at least 21 people are killed.December 27, Hunan province, China. A construction crane collapses in downtown Changsha, killing at least 17 workers.NaturalJanuary 9, Iran. Authorities in Iran say that a disastrous blizzard in the Tehran area has resulted in the deaths of at least 28 people; Tehran declares a two-day national holiday so that people will stay home.January 17, Afghanistan. Officials report that an unusually hard winter has left at least 200 people dead; huge numbers of livestock have also perished.January 28, China. The government issues a severe weather warning for eastern and central China, areas that have already received record-setting amounts of snow, causing a transportation crisis and leaving at least 24 people dead.February 3, Africa. A series of earthquakes takes place in the Great Lakes region, killing some 40 people (34 in Rwanda and 6 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo) and injuring more than 400.February 5, U.S. A fierce outbreak of tornadoes leaves a path of destruction in several southern states, particularly in Tennessee, where at least 30 people are killed, and Arkansas, which suffers a death toll of at least 13; a further 7 people are reported killed in Kentucky and 4 in Alabama.February 8, Indian-administered Kashmir. Heavy snowfall in the region triggers avalanches that result in the deaths of at least 20 people.February 10, China. Officials say that power and transportation are beginning to be restored in some areas where the worst winter storms in 50 years have led to at least 60 deaths.February 12, Northern Bolivia. Pres. Evo Morales declares a national disaster because of flooding following heavy rains that has left at least 60 people dead.February 16, Afghanistan. Authorities say the harshest winter in 30 years has left 926 people dead so far, 462 of them in Herat province, and hundreds of thousands of cattle have also succumbed.February 17, Madagascar. A particularly ferocious storm, Cyclone Ivan, makes landfall on the east coast, all but destroying the village of Ambodihazinina, leaving more than 80 people dead, and devastating the ripening rice crops.February 21, Eastern Philippines. After two weeks of torrential rains, at least 20 people have died in flooding and landslides, tens of thousands of people have been displaced, and great damage has been caused to infrastructure and to rice fields.April 7, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Humanitarian officials report to the UN that torrential rains in the Kasaï-Occidental and Bandundu provinces have left at least 15 people dead and hundreds homeless.May 2–3, Myanmar (Burma). Cyclone Nargis, an extraordinarily strong tropical cyclone that formed in the Bay of Bengal and quickly strengthened to a category 4 storm, makes landfall in Myanmar (Burma) and throughout the night churns up the densely populated rice-growing region of the Irrawaddy River delta, cutting a wide path of destruction augmented by a 4-m (12-ft) storm surge that obliterates coastal villages; some 138,000 people perish.May 10, United States. A violent storm system spawns tornadoes that lay waste to portions of Oklahoma, Missouri, and Georgia, leaving more than 23 people dead, at least 15 of them in Missouri and most of those near Racine.May 12, Sichuan province, China. A magnitude-7.9 earthquake devastates the area; at the epicentre, in Wenchuan, some 80% of the structures are flattened. At least 69,000 people lose their lives, 18,000 more are missing, and hundreds of thousands are made homeless.May 14, Uttar Pradesh state, India. A violent storm leaves at least 128 people dead and all but destroys the important mango crop.June 17, Southern China. The death toll from flooding caused by incessant heavy rains rises to 171; more than a million people have been evacuated.June 20, India. Authorities say that the death toll from flooding resulting from heavy rain in eastern and northeastern areas of the country has risen past 50; thousands of villages are reportedly submerged.June 21, Philippines. Typhoon Fengshen smashes into the Philippines; at least 498 residents perish.July 27, Ukraine and Romania. Officials report that five days of heavy storms have left a total of 13 people dead in Ukraine and 5 others dead in Romania; some 8,000 people in the region have been evacuated.August 10, Southern India. Officials report that monsoon rains caused the deaths of at least 59 people, not including the 40 people who are swept away when a truck in which they are riding fails to negotiate a flooded bridge in Andhra Pradesh state.August 18, Southeast Asia. It is reported that over the past week, record flooding has caused devastation throughout much of the region, with thousands of residents forced from their homes and at least 160 people dead in Vietnam alone.August 18, Bihar state, India. As a result of heavy rains that cause the breach of a dam in Nepal, the Kosi River breaks its embankments and changes course to flow in an old channel some 120 km (75 mi) east, inundating villages in Nepal and Bangladesh as well as in India; a minimum of two million people are left homeless and at least 90 dead.August 26, Hispaniola. Hurricane Gustav makes landfall in Haiti and the Dominican Republic; at least 84 people are killed, and thousands of homes are ruined.August 30, Sichuan province, China. A magnitude-5.7 earthquake with its epicentre some 35 km (22 mi) southeast of Panzhihua causes houses to collapse in several villages and leads to the deaths of at least 28 people.September 6, Egypt. The Muqattam cliffs outside Cairo begin to collapse, loosing hundreds of pounds of rocks and boulders that crush a shantytown in the shadow of the cliffs; dozens of people are killed.September 6, Haiti. After a week of flooding caused by Tropical Storm Hanna, at least 529 people have perished, most of them in Gonaïves.September 8, Haiti. Hurricane Ike sweeps through Haiti, leaving at least 58 people dead.September 13, Texas. Hurricane Ike spreads heavy flooding throughout Galveston and Orange and causes extensive damage in Houston; some 51 people in the region succumb, 20 of them in Texas.September 22, India. The death toll from three days of heavy monsoon rains is reported to have reached 119.September 28, Vietnam. Authorities report that Typhoon Hagupit has caused flooding that has left at least 41 people dead; the storm had earlier killed some 8 people in the Philippines and 17 people in China.October 2, Algeria. Torrential rains cause a flash flood in a normally dry river in the Sahara; the town of Ghardaia is inundated, with some 600 homes destroyed and at least 33 people killed.October 3, Haiti. The civil protection agency reports that the total death toll in the country from Hurricanes Gustav and Ike and Tropical Storms Hanna and Fay in August and September is 793.October 5, Kyrgyzstan. A magnitude-6.6 earthquake strikes, killing at least 72 people and flattening the village of Nura.October 25, Yemen. After two days of heavy rain from a tropical storm, massive flooding along the Wadi Hadramawt leaves at least 180 people dead and some 20,000 people displaced.October 29, Balochistan province, Pakistan. A shallow magnitude-6.4 earthquake strikes, killing at least 215 people and leaving some 15,000 homeless at the beginning of winter.November 7, Vietnam. Authorities report that unseasonal flooding in recent weeks has left at least 82 people dead and led to an outbreak of dengue fever.November 24, Southern Brazil. Officials report that flooding and landslides have left at least 59 people dead and displaced some 43,000 others; by December 1 the death toll has risen to a minimum of 116.RailroadApril 28, Shandong province, China. Outside the city of Zibo, a high-speed passenger train traveling from Beijing to Qingdao derails and hits another passenger train en route from Yantai to Xuzhou; at least 70 people are killed.July 16, Northern Egypt. A truck rear-ends a car waiting at a railroad crossing, pushing three vehicles onto the tracks, where they are crushed by a train; at least 40 people are killed.August 1, Andhra Pradesh state, India. Five of the 13 cars of the Secunderabad-Kakinada Gautami Express train become engulfed in flames; at least 30 passengers expire.September 12, Los Angeles. A commuter train crashes head-on into a freight train, killing at least 25 people, when the engineer fails to stop at a red signal; it is thought that he may have been distracted by text messaging on his cell phone.TrafficJanuary 12, Port Harcourt, Nigeria. A fuel tanker truck blows a tire and overturns; the fuel spills and ignites, incinerating at least 30 people.January 20, India. Near the town of Nashik, an overloaded bus carrying pilgrims from a visit to Hindu shrines fails to negotiate a hairpin turn and plunges over a mountainside; at least 37 of the passengers are killed.January 26, Near Jerash, Jordan. A passenger bus traveling from Irbid to Al-ʿAqabah collides with a water truck, and both vehicles fall off the road into the valley below; at least 20 people are killed.January 29, China. In Guizhou province, which is among those suffering prolonged severe winter storms, a bus goes off an ice-coated road; at least 25 passengers perish.February 7, Egypt. Some 100 km (60 mi) south of Cairo, a bus collides with a minibus in heavy fog, and some six more vehicles crash into them; at least 29 people are killed in the pileup.February 29, Southern Guatemala. A greatly overloaded bus crashes while taking a dangerous corner near Jutiapa; at least 45 passengers perish.March 25, Western Honduras. A passenger bus goes off a highway in the mountains and rolls down a hillside; at least 26 of those aboard are killed.April 16, Gujarat state, India. In Vadodara a state bus carrying schoolchildren goes off a bridge and falls some 18 m (60 ft) into a canal of the Narmada River; at least 44 children and 3 adults perish.April 23, Rajasthan state, India. Northwest of Jodhpur, late at night, a truck and a crowded van collide; at least 24 of the van passengers lose their lives.May 27, KwaZulu-Natal province, South Africa. A bus goes over a cliff and falls some 80 m (260 ft), landing upside-down in the river below; at least 30 people die.May 29, Southern India. A truck carrying at least 70 people to a wedding falls off a bridge after the driver swerves to avoid electrical wires on the road; at least 39 of the passengers perish.July 8, Southern Bolivia. A truck carrying some 60 people as well as goods goes off a mountain road, plunging 200 m (650 ft) into a ravine; at least 47 people, among them 12 children, die.August 2, Bihar state, India. A truck loaded with food grain sacks and people goes off a road into a nearly dry culvert below; at least 40 people die, most of them crushed to death.August 8, Near Sherman, Texas. An illegally operated chartered bus carrying Vietnamese Roman Catholics to a religious gathering in Carthage, Mo., goes over a guardrail in a crash, killing 17 passengers.August 15, Dominican Republic. On the highway between La Romana and Higüey, a passenger bus attempting to go around a parked vehicle hits another passenger bus head-on; at least 20 people are killed.September 8, Eastern Turkey. A bus carrying Iranian tourists in Agri province goes off the road and crashes; at least 16 passengers die.October 10, Eastern Thailand. On an overnight trip to the coast from a technology university in Khon Kaen province, a bus carrying students crashes into a hillside; at least 22 people are killed, and 50 are badly hurt.November 4, Near Hannover, Ger. A tour bus carrying elderly passengers home after a day trip to a farm catches fire, possibly because a passenger smoked a cigarette in the bus's restroom; at least 20 people die.November 15, Near Boromo, Burkina Faso. A collision occurs between a passenger bus carrying workers to Côte d'Ivoire and a commercial truck loaded with sugar, and both vehicles burst into flames, trapping the bus passengers; at least 66 of them perish.December 16, Israel. A bus transporting Russian tour guides to the resort town of Elat from a nearby airport goes off the road and rolls down a mountain slope; at least 24 of the passengers are killed.December 27, Tangail, Bangladesh. A truck leaves the road in thick fog and goes into a ditch; at least 24 of the passengers, most of whom were heading home from Dhaka to vote in legislative elections, die.MiscellaneousMarch 29, Luanda, Angola. Dozens of people are crushed to death when a seven-story building housing the headquarters of the police criminal investigation department collapses; the structure had been deteriorating and recently had a large electrical generator installed on its roof.April 9, Southern Thailand. In a truck carrying illegal Myanmarese (Burmese) migrant workers, 54 of the 121 crammed inside suffocate.May 20, India. It is reported that at least 110 people in the Bengaluru (Bangalore) area have died in the past few days after drinking illicit alcohol; by May 22 the death toll has risen to 180.August 3, Himachal Pradesh state, India. Near the Naina Devi temple, fears of a landslide lead to a stampede in which more than 150 pilgrims, most of them women and children, lose their lives.September 15, Pasuruan, Indon. A Ramadan tradition in which wealthy families give money to the poor results in tragedy when pushing in a crowd awaiting such handouts causes at least 23 people to be crushed to death.September 30, Jodhpur, Rajasthan state, India. On the first day of a nine-day festival devoted to the Hindu goddess Durga, a stampede possibly caused by pilgrims slipping on coconut milk offerings causes at least 224 people to be trampled to death.October 1, Tabora, Tanz. At an event in a disco hall to celebrate ʿId al-Fitr, overcrowding among the young people attending engenders panic, and 19 children are crushed in the ensuing stampede.▪ 2008IntroductionListed here are MAJOR disasters that occurred in 2007. The list includes NATURAL and NONMILITARY mechanical disasters that claimed more than 15 lives and/or resulted in significant damage to PROPERTY.AviationJanuary 1, Indonesia. An Adam SkyConnection Airlines Boeing 737 flying from Java island to Sulawesi with 102 people aboard disappears from radar screens; Indonesia initially reports that the plane's wreckage and some survivors have been found but the next day denies the report, and weeks later flotsam and jetsam from the plane begin to surface on the ocean.January 9, Near Balad, Iraq. A chartered Moldovan Antonov-26 airplane carrying 35 people from Adana, Tur., crashes while attempting to land in the fog; at least 30 people aboard are killed.March 7, Yogyakarta, Indon. A Garuda Air Boeing 737 crashes upon landing and slides off the runway, breaking apart; at least 22 of the passengers are killed.May 5, Cameroon. A Kenya Airways Boeing 737 en route to Nairobi crashes near the village of Mbanga Pongo shortly after takeoff from Douala; 114 people were on board, and no survivors are found.June 3, Sierra Leone. A helicopter carrying Togolese sports officials and journalists to Lungi International Airport outside Freetown after an association football (soccer) game crashes; 22 people, among them Togo's minister of sports, are killed.June 25, Southern Cambodia. A PMT Air An-24 airplane flying from Siem Reap to Sihanoukville crashes in the mountains; all 22 aboard lose their lives.July 5, Culiacán, Mex. A small cargo plane blows a tire during takeoff and crashes into a highway; three people aboard the plane, two soldiers guarding the airstrip, and four people in a car on the highway are killed.July 17, São Paulo. As a TAM Airlines A320 attempts to land at Congonhas Airport in the midst of a rainstorm, it skids off a runway, slides across a highway, and crashes into a building; at least 200 people, some not on the plane, are killed.August 10, French Polynesia. A twin-engine turboprop Twin Otter plane carrying passengers on a seven-minute flight from the island of Moorea to the main island of Tahiti goes down in the ocean; all 20 passengers aboard perish.August 22, Northern Iraq. A U.S. military Black Hawk helicopter crashes, killing all 14 soldiers aboard; mechanical failure is blamed for the accident.August 26, Democratic Republic of the Congo. A cargo plane carrying tin ore crashes shortly after takeoff from Kongolo; 13 of the 15 people aboard are killed.September 16, Thailand. A passenger airliner crashes while attempting to land in heavy rain on the resort island of Phuket; at least 89 of those aboard, most of them tourists, are killed.October 4, Democratic Republic of the Congo. An Antonov-26 cargo plane crashes into the Kingasani neighbourhood of Kinshasa, killing at least 51 people.November 30, Turkey. An Atlasjet MD-83 jetliner en route from Istanbul to Isparta crashes shortly before its destination; all 57 on board die.Fires and ExplosionsFebruary 23, Alsunga, Latvia. A large fire, possibly caused by faulty wiring, destroys a home for the disabled; 25 people are dead or missing.March 5, Chittagong, Bangladesh. A fire guts dozens of huts in a slum and leaves at least 21 people, mostly women and children, dead.March 20, Kamyshevatskaya, Russia. A fire at a home for the elderly and disabled kills at least 62 people; numerous safety violations contribute to the high death toll.March 22, Maputo, Mozam. Intense heat causes an old Soviet-built arms depot to catch fire, igniting rockets and ammunition in a massive explosion that kills at least 117 people, many of them nearby residents.March 26, Katugal, Nigeria. After an oil tanker rolls over while attempting to park, people rush to loot the truck's cargo; it explodes, killing at least 89 people.July 4, Liaoning province, China. A karaoke bar full of university students is destroyed by an explosion; there are at least 25 fatalities.July 26, Northern Syria. High temperatures cause a weapons depot near Aleppo to explode; at least 15 people are killed.August 11, Indian-administered Kashmir. A fire breaks out at an ammunitions depot, causing explosions that continue for close to two days; at least 20 people, mostly firemen and soldiers, are killed.September 9, Mexico. In Coahuila state a truck loaded with mining explosives collides with another vehicle, and after the arrival of emergency personnel and reporters, the truck explodes; at least 37 people are incinerated.October 13, Dnipropetrovsk, Ukr. A natural gas explosion all but levels a 10-story apartment building; at least 23 people perish.October 22, Fujian province, China. In Putian a fire, reportedly caused by faulty wiring, incinerates at least 34 workers in a shoe factory.November 4, Argentina. A fire at a maximum security prison in the province of Santiago del Estero leaves at least 29 inmates dead.November 4, Russia. A fire breaks out at a substandard nursing home in the Tula region; at least 31 people are killed.November 18, Eastern Saudi Arabia. Workers are attempting to link a new pipeline to an oil pipeline when an explosion and subsequent fire occur; at least 28 people are killed.December 12, Wenzhou, China. A fire in a 28-story apartment building leaves 21 people dead; it takes some 200 firefighters three hours to extinguish the blaze.December 20, Sierra Leone. An explosion, likely caused by a gas leak, kills at least 17 people in downtown Freetown.December 26, Nigeria. As people attempt to siphon gas from a buried pipeline outside Lagos, the pipeline catches fire, incinerating at least 45 people.MarineJanuary 18, Andhra Pradesh, India. An overcrowded ferry carrying people to a religious festival capsizes on the Krishna River; at least 60 people are feared drowned.February 12, Off the coast of Yemen. A boat carrying refugees from Somalia and Ethiopia capsizes, and at least 112 migrants drown.February 22, Jakarta, Indon. A passenger ferry catches fire, killing at least 42 of those aboard; days later the wreckage sinks, killing as many as four investigators and journalists.February 23, Mediterranean Sea. The Italian news agency ANSA reports that people rescued from a rubber dinghy carrying African migrants from Tunisia to Sicily say that 19 people died on the trip.February 28, Off the coast of Haiti. A sail-powered freighter catches fire and sinks; some 52 people are feared dead.March 26, Gulf of Aden. After smugglers taking illegal migrants from Somalia to Yemen force them overboard in order to evade security forces, 31 bodies are found, with a further 90 people reported missing.March 29, Guinea. An open boat traveling from Forecariah capsizes off the coast near Conakry; at least 60 people drown.April 14, Yemen. Officials report that at least 62 migrants from Somalia are believed to have drowned when the boat they were being smuggled on overturned; survivors say they were forced to jump into the sea when the smugglers saw the Yemeni coast guard.May 4, Off the Turks and Caicos Islands. A boat full of Haitian migrants capsizes under disputed circumstances; some 90 people drown.June 22, Off Malta. The captain of an Italian fishing trawler reports that a dinghy carrying African migrants capsized and 24 of its occupants drowned; on June 1 at least 15 decomposing bodies were found in the same area.June 24, Bougainville, Papua New Guinea. A Bougainville Health Department boat carrying 15 people on a return trip to Buka from Nissan Island disappears.July 19, Canary Islands. Off the coast of Tenerife, Spanish rescue crews spot a foundering wooden boat carrying African migrants; 48 migrants are saved, but some 50 more are feared drowned.July 19, Off the coast of northern Angola. A canoe overloaded with illegal immigrants capsizes in bad weather; at least 26 of those aboard drown.August 3, Sierra Leone. A boat traveling from Freetown to Rokupr capsizes in heavy rain at the mouth of the Great Scarcies River; the vast majority of the estimated 120 people aboard are believed to have drowned.August 13, Off the shore of Mayotte. Officials in Mayotte, a French dependency in the Indian Ocean, report that a boat carrying migrants from Comoros capsized and at least 17 of the passengers drowned.August 19, Western Mexico. The waters of the Cuiztla River suddenly rise, sweeping away 15 members of the Universal Christian Church who were camping in Rancho Ixcamilpa.October 18, Off Sulawesi, Indon. As the passenger ferry Acita 003 nears shore, passengers climb to the upper deck in search of cell phone signals, causing the boat to capsize; at least 31 of the passengers drown.October 19, Near San Francisco del Mar, Mex. The bodies of 24 people wash ashore; it is believed that they were attempting to migrate from Central America in a boat that capsized.October 26, Senegal. A Spanish hospital ship returns a man to Dakar; the man was the only survivor of a group of African migrants who had set out by boat for the Canary Islands three weeks previously; some 50 others had perished.November 6, Atlantic Ocean. A Mauritanian patrol boat finds a boat that had left Senegal three weeks earlier loaded with African migrants attempting to reach the Canary Islands; some 100 survivors are on board, and they say that some 50 people perished on the journey and most were thrown overboard.November 30, Gulf of Aden. Officials in Yemen report that a boat had attempted to carry 126 refugees from Somalia across the Gulf of Aden and that 80 of them had drowned.December 15, Near Al-Irqah, Yemen. Doctors Without Borders finds the bodies of 56 Africans who drowned when their boat capsized; they had been trying to escape from Somalia and Ethiopia; later a Somali diplomat in Yemen says that the death toll is believed to be about 180.Mining and ConstructionMarch 19, Siberia. A methane explosion at the Ulyanovskaya coal mine in Novokuznetsk kills at least 108 workers, including the mine's chief engineer, who was checking a hazard-monitoring system at the time; it later emerges that a device to detect methane had been deliberately disabled.April 16, China. An explosion at the Wangzhuang coal mine in Henan province traps 33 miners underground, and in Zhouzhou in Hunan province, 12 miners are trapped in a flooded pit.May 23, Tirapur, India. A dividing wall for a factory under construction collapses into an adjacent bar, crushing 27 bar patrons, mostly labourers.May 24, Siberia. In the Yubileinaya coal mine in the town of Novokuznetsk, Russia, a methane explosion kills at least 38 miners.August 13, Hunan province, China. As workers are removing the scaffolding from a bridge that is being built across the Tuo River, the bridge collapses; at least 41 workers are killed.August 17, Xintai, Shandong province, China. Excessive rainfall causes flash flooding from rivers into two coal mines, where 181 miners are trapped and drowned.August 29, Azerbaijan. A 16-story building under construction in Baku collapses, killing at least 19 people; the head of the construction company is arrested.September 26, Vietnam. A 90-m (295-ft) section of the Can Tho Bridge being built over the Hau River in the southern Mekong delta collapses, killing at least 50 construction workers.October 13, Suárez, Colom. As residents are digging for gold that is rumoured to be in a makeshift open-pit mine, a landslide takes place; at least 21 people lose their lives.November 18, Donetsk, Ukr. A methane explosion at the Zasyadko deep coal mine leaves at least 101 miners dead, with a further 11 missing.December 5, Shanxi province, China. An explosion in the Xinyao coal mine in Linfen kills at least 105 miners.NaturalJanuary 4, Bangladesh. Government officials report that 40 deaths in poor areas during a cold snap bring the death toll for the week to at least 56.January 15, U.S. An ice storm shuts down large parts of Oklahoma, Missouri, Texas, Iowa, and New York and is responsible for the deaths of at least 39 people, including an accident in Elk City, Okla., in which 12 migrant workers in a van were killed.January 15, Sri Lanka. Landslides resulting from heavy rains kill at least 16 people.January 17, Australia. Steve Bracks, the premier of the state of Victoria, warns that the state is experiencing its worst fire conditions ever; thus far close to 1 million ha (2.5 million ac) have been burned.January 18, Europe. A ferocious storm, with winds in excess of 61 km/hr (100 mph), sweeps through the British Isles and northern Europe; there are at least 47 storm-related deaths.January 22, Central Peru. Flooding and mud slides after days of heavy rainfall leave at least 16 people dead and thousands homeless.January 25, Angola. The minister of the interior reports that a weeklong storm in the country has resulted in at least 71 deaths, 65 of them in Luanda; thousands have been rendered homeless.February 2, Central Florida. Thunderstorms and tornadoes leave at least 19 people dead and hundreds of homes destroyed.February 4, Indonesia. Flooding from heavy rain in the southern hills traps hundreds of people in Jakarta, leaving at least 44 people dead as some 340,000 are forced to flee the floodwaters that inundate 40–70% of the city.February 13, Mozambique. Relief officials report that unusually catastrophic flooding of the Zambezi River has forced more than 68,000 people to evacuate and has left at least 20 people dead.February 25, Bolivia. It is reported that the worst flooding in 25 years has left at least 35 people dead and thousands of homes as well as crops and roads destroyed.March 1, U.S. A large storm system spawns tornadoes that leave at least 20 people in Alabama, Georgia, and Florida dead, among them 8 students at a high school in Enterprise, Ala., who are killed when the roof collapses.March 6, Indonesia. Two earthquakes, the first of magnitude 6.3 and the second, two hours later, of magnitude 6.1, occur near Solok, on Sumatra; at least 52 people perish.March 20, Pakistani-administered Kashmir. Pakistani officials report that landslides caused by heavy rains have killed at least 16 people; many survivors of the earthquake of October 2005 live in temporary shelters in the region.April 2, Solomon Islands. An earthquake of magnitude 8.1 occurs well below the seafloor, triggering a tsunami that damages property in the towns of Gizo and Munda and inundates several villages; at least 52 people lose their lives.May 4, Greensburg, Kan. The town is demolished by an exceptionally large tornado; 10 people die, and at least 63 are injured.May 11, Uttar Pradesh, India. A storm causes the collapse of buildings in the town of Sultanpur, crushing 24 people, while 3 are killed by lightning in Pratapgarh.June 6, Oman. Cyclone Gonu passes down the coast, forcing evacuations and shutting down oil installations; at least 32 people are killed, and some 30 are missing.June 10, Southern China. Officials in China report that days of torrential rain produced flooding in which at least 66 people died.June 11, Bangladesh. Mud slides caused by heavy rains leave some 119 people dead in Chittagong; elsewhere in the area rain and lightning kill about 16 people.June 24, Karachi, Pak. A provincial health minister reports that unusually strong monsoon storms have caused the deaths of 228 people as well as flooding and extensive power failures.June 25, India. On the third day of monsoon rains, at least 147 people have lost their lives: some 41 in Andhra Pradesh, 52 in Kerala, 39 in Karnataka, and 15 in Maharashtra.June 26, Europe. It is reported that a heat wave with temperatures as high as 46 °C (115 °F) has caused the deaths of 23 people in Romania, 7 people in Serbia, and 5 people in Greece; numerous wildfires in Greece and Italy are also blamed on the heat; later a death toll of 42 in Italy and the Balkans is reported.July 8, India. Government officials say the death toll from monsoon rains throughout the country has reached 660; hardest hit has been Maharashtra state.July 20, Northwestern Pakistan. Landslides resulting from heavy rains leave more than 80 people dead in Dirbala district.July 23, Indonesia. Officials say flash floods and landslides that have inundated villages have left at least 30 people dead.July 25, Romania. Authorities report that an unremitting heat wave in southeastern Europe has killed 33 people in the country.July 30, China. The Xinhua news agency reports that unusually bad flooding from rain over the past few weeks has left some 650 people dead, including 17 in the past two days.July 30, South Africa. The government reports that wildfires in the grasslands have killed at least 19 people, 5 of them firefighters.August 3, Northern India and Bangladesh. The death toll from flooding in monsoon rains in the past few days rises to 186.August 8, India. Flooding in Gujarat state reaches such a state that army personnel and helicopters are pressed into service to rescue and relocate people; so far this season some 290 people have died in flooding in the state.August 15, Pisco, Peru. The city is destroyed by an offshore earthquake of magnitude 8.0 that leaves at least 540 people dead and some 85,000 in need of shelter.August 16, North Korea. After receiving permission from North Korea to examine flood-stricken regions after torrential rains, UN officials report 83 people dead and 60 missing as well as the destruction of 58,000 homes and 90,000 ha (222,400 ac) of farmland.August 16, Japan. The temperature in the cities of Tajimi and Kumagaya reaches 40.9 °C (105.6 °F), the highest temperature ever recorded in Japan; at least 13 people have died because of the heat wave.August 17, Nepal. The Nepal Red Cross Society reports that recent flooding and landslides in several districts have left at least 143 people dead and 19,353 families displaced.August 20, U.S. Authorities report that two violent storm systems, one in the upper Mississippi River states and one in Texas, have left at least 20 people dead.August 23, Mexico. The remnants of Hurricane Dean cause 8 deaths, bringing the death toll from the storm in the Caribbean and Mexico to 25.August 24, Greece. With high winds and high temperatures fueling them, dozens of wildfires have killed at least 15 people; by the time firefighters gain control over the flames on August 29, the death toll has risen to at least 64.August 28, China. The minister of water resources reports that in spite of unusual extremes of weather in the country, the death toll (1,138) this year from floods is lower than last year's by nearly half because of better handling of disasters.September 4, Nicaragua. Hurricane Felix makes landfall near Puerto Cabezas as a category 5 storm; more than 100 people are killed, and a further 150 are missing, with incalculable damage to buildings and farmland in both Nicaragua and Honduras.September 6, Southern California. A week of unusually high temperatures comes to an end; some 20 people are believed to have perished in the heat wave.September 26, Southern Asia. Health officials say that since July more than 2,000 people have died in northeastern and eastern India and Bangladesh as a result of flooding.October 3, Vietnam. Typhoon Lekima makes landfall, causing flooding and damage and leaving at least 32 people dead.October 9, Africa. Agence France-Presse reports that over the past two months, flooding in much of the continent from unusually heavy summer rains has left at least 300 people dead.November 1, Caribbean. After devastating the Dominican Republic and Haiti, Tropical Storm Noel brings torrential rains and flooding to The Bahamas and Cuba; the overall death toll from the storm reaches 124.November 3, Mexico. After five days of record rainfall, much of the state of Tabasco suffers flooding, with some 80% of the city of Villahermosa under as much as 2.13 m (7 ft) of water; tens of thousands of residents have been displaced by the flooding.November 6, Vietnam. Officials report that flooding in the past week in the central region has left at least 67 people dead.November 15, Bangladesh. Cyclone Sidr lays waste to much of the southwestern coastal area of Bangladesh; some 5,000 people perish.November 21, China. A landslide in the region of the Three Gorges Dam in China sweeps away a passenger bus, killing some 30 people; a few additional people are also killed by the landslide.December 11, Dominican Republic. Tropical Storm Olga makes landfall, causing flooding and leaving at least 25 people dead, most killed by a release of water from a dam on the Yaque River that officials feared would otherwise collapse.December 11, U.S. Freezing rain from a storm that began as an ice storm in Oklahoma and Kansas hits Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Illinois; a total of 20 deaths, most in Oklahoma and Kansas, are attributed to the weather conditions.December 24, U.S. State officials report that a storm involving freezing rain, snow, and high winds has over the past two days left many holiday travelers stranded throughout the Midwest; at least 19 people died in weather-related traffic accidents in Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Texas, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.December 26, Indonesia. Landslides after heavy rains on the island of Java bury 80 or more people, at least 61 of them attending a dinner party in the Karanganyar district.RailroadFebruary 14, Mokambo, Dem. Rep. of the Congo. A train accident in Katanga province leaves 22 people dead, 7 of them Zambian.June 5, Victoria, Australia. A truck crashes into a Melbourne-bound passenger train at a crossing near Kerang; at least 11 train passengers are killed.July 16, Near Lviv, Ukr. A train carrying phosphorous from Kazakhstan to Poland derails and catches fire; the resultant cloud of toxic gas poisons at least 20 people and requires the evacuation of some 800 nearby residents.August 1, Democratic Republic of the Congo. The brakes fail on a freight train near Benaleka, and eight cars derail; about 100 people are reported to have perished.October 6, Cuba. A bus and a train collide in a small town in Granma province; at least 28 people are killed.December 18, Pakistan. An express train traveling from Karachi to Lahore derails near Mehrabpur; at least 50 people lose their lives.TrafficJanuary 6, Comilla, Bangladesh. A speeding bus attempting to pass another vehicle goes off the road and catches fire; at least 40 passengers are burned to death.February 2, Indian-administered Kashmir. A minibus falls into a gorge near Dabhar, killing at least 18 people.February 25, Northwestern Nigeria. A tire bursts on a truck carrying traders and domestic animals from a local market, and the truck goes into a ditch; at least 40 of the passengers die.March 2, Atlanta. A bus carrying members of the baseball team of Bluffton (Ohio) University to a series of games in Florida misses a turn on an elevated exit ramp and drives off an overpass onto the highway below; two bus drivers and four baseball players are killed.March 6, Zimbabwe. A bus is struck by a freight train at a crossing; 27 people on the bus, including the driver, perish.March 12, Uttarakhand state, India. A road caves in after heavy rains, plunging a bus carrying wedding guests some 180 m (60 ft) into a ravine; at least 18 people aboard are killed.March 20, Koudou, Guinea. A truck carrying traders to a market goes off a bridge into a lake; 65 passengers die.April 18, Egypt. On the highway between Cairo and Assuit, a truck trying to pass another vehicle collides head-on with a school bus; at least 18 students are killed.April 24, Indian-administered Kashmir. An overloaded minibus goes off the road at a curve near Kalai and falls down a hillside; at least 30 of the passengers die.May 2, Himachal Pradesh state, India. A bus leaves the road and tumbles into a deep gorge near Kothkhai, possibly because of mechanical failure; at least 22 passengers perish.May 7, Lesotho. Near the village of Haramarupi, a speeding bus carrying workers from a textile factory collides with a truck; at least 45 people are killed.May 13, Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Three passenger buses are involved in a traffic accident, and one of them catches fire; at least 25 people are killed.May 21, Liaoning province, China. A three-wheeled vehicle towing a trailer carrying women returning home after a day spent picking herbs overturns on a mountain road; 20 women are killed.July 4, Mexico. An avalanche of mud and rocks buries a bus traveling near Eloxochitlán, killing all aboard; 32 bodies are recovered, but it is thought that the number killed is between 40 and 50.July 22, France. Near the village of Vizille, a bus carrying Polish pilgrims from the shrine of Notre-Dame-de-la-Salette in the French Alps goes off the road, hitting a river bank and catching fire; 26 passengers are killed.August 1, Minnesota. During the evening rush hour, the I-35 W bridge over the Mississippi River between St. Paul and Minneapolis suddenly collapses; at least 50 vehicles fall into the river, and 13 people are killed.August 27, Uganda. In the village of Kapchogo, a truck transporting army members and their families veers into a concrete barrier on the side of the road; 72 people perish.September 7, Rajasthan state, India. Near the village of Desuri Ki Naal, a truck loaded with pilgrims falls from the road into a gorge; at least 72 of those aboard perish.September 15, Mexico. A bus carrying tourists from Puerto Vallarta to Guadalajara goes off a mountain road into a ravine, killing at least 18 of the 35 passengers; most of the passengers had arrived on a flight from Phoenix that had been deflected to Puerto Vallarta from Guadalajara.September 24, Afghanistan. In Ghazni province, two passenger buses collide head-on; at least 40 people are killed.October 10, Brazil. A truck attempting to pass another truck on a mountainous curve hits a bus head-on, killing six passengers and the truck driver; after rescue workers arrive, another truck going down the hill plows into the scene, killing at least 21 of those present.October 29, Ogun state, Nigeria. A fuel truck overturns and ignites; three commuter buses and four cars are engulfed in the flames, and at least 30 people are incinerated.December 31, Beni Mzar, Egypt. When the driver of a pickup truck tries to pass a passenger bus, the bus driver swerves to try to avoid an accident, and the vehicle falls into a canal that runs alongside the Nile River; 17 passengers and the drivers of both vehicles are killed.MiscellaneousFebruary 26, Punjab province, Pakistan. At the end of the annual two-day kite festival, 11 people have been killed—2 of them cut by sharpened kite strings, 5 hit by celebratory gunfire, 2 electrocuted by kites tangled in power lines, and 2 fallen off roofs.April 18, Liaoning province, China. In a metal factory, a huge ladle breaks, spilling molten steel across the floor; at least 32 workers die.July 19, Mumbai (Bombay), India. A seven-story residential building that also houses stores and a clinic collapses; at least 26 people are crushed, and several others are believed to be trapped in the rubble.August 19, Shandong province, China. At an aluminum plant a container spills molten aluminum, blowing the roof off the factory and killing at least 14 workers.September 21, Karachi, Pak. Police report that at least 22 people have died and many more made ill as a result of drinking illegally brewed alcoholic beverages.October 3, India. Two trains carrying thousands of women on a pilgrimage to Varanasi arrive at the railway station in Mughalsarai, where confusion results in a stampede in which at least 15 women are trampled to death.October 23, Gulf of Mexico. During a storm, large waves throw the Usumacinta drilling rig belonging to Pemex, the Mexican state oil company, into an adjacent platform, causing leaks of crude oil and natural gas; workers take to the sea in lifeboats to avoid suffocation, but at least 21 are killed.December 24, Alexandria, Egypt. A 12-story apartment building collapses, killing at least 26 residents; the structure had been built more than 25 years earlier without a permit.December 26, Nepal. A footbridge over the Bheri River collapses as hundreds of people cross on their way to a fair; some 100 people are believed to have fallen into the icy river.▪ 2007IntroductionListed here are MAJOR disasters that occurred in 2006. The list includes NATURAL and NONMILITARY mechanical disasters that claimed more than 15 lives and/or resulted in significant damage to PROPERTY.AviationJanuary 19, Eastern Hungary. A Slovak AN-24 military transport carrying NATO peacekeepers from Kosovo in Serbia and Montenegro to Slovakia crashes; 42 of the 43 aboard are killed.February 11, Aweil, Sudan. A military plane suffers a tire blowout while landing, causing the pilot to lose control and crash into a building; all 20 aboard are killed.March 31, Brazil. A small double-propeller Team airline plane crashes in the mountains after leaving Macaé; all 19 aboard perish.April 10, Near Marsabit, Kenya. A plane carrying a delegation of prominent politicians on a mission to restore peace in northern Kenya crashes on a hillside; 14 people are killed, including 5 high-ranking members of the National Assembly.May 3, Near Sochi, Russia. An Armavia Airbus 320 en route from Yerevan, Armenia, crashes into the Black Sea; all 113 aboard are believed to have died.June 3, Eastern China. A military transport plane crashes in Anhui province, killing all 40 on board.July 9, Irkutsk, Siberia. After landing at the airport, an S7 Airlines Airbus A310 airplane arriving from Moscow crashes into a concrete wall and a row of buildings, breaking apart and catching fire; at least 122 of those aboard are killed.July 10, Multan, Pak. A Pakistan International Airlines plane bound for Lahore crashes shortly after takeoff, killing all 45 aboard; the dead include two judges, two army brigadiers, and a university vice-chancellor.July 26, Afghanistan. A helicopter transporting reconstruction personnel to a site in Khost crashes in the mountains about 35 km (22 mi) from its destination; all 16 aboard are killed.August 3, Near Bukavu, Democratic Republic of the Congo. An Antonov 28 twin-propeller plane operated by Trasept Congo crashes in heavy rain; all 17 aboard lose their lives.August 22, Donetsk, Ukraine. A Pulkovo Airlines TU-154 flying from the Russian Black Sea resort of Anapa to St. Petersburg crashes north of Donetsk in bad weather; all 170 aboard are killed.August 27, Lexington, Ky. A small Comair jet takes off from the wrong runway, one too short for the aircraft, and crashes into a field; 49 of the 50 people aboard are killed.September 1, Meshed, Iran. An Iran Air TU-154 flying from Bandar-e ʿAbbas, Iran, slides off the runway as it is landing and catches fire; 29 of the 148 passengers die.September 23, Nepal. A helicopter carrying leading Nepalese and World Wildlife Fund environmentalists crashes in the Kanchenjunga mountains; all 24 aboard are killed.September 29, Mato Grosso state, Braz. A Boeing 737 airplane run by the low-cost Brazilian Gol Airlines nicks a smaller plane and crashes into the jungle; all 155 aboard perish.October 29, Abuja, Nigeria. A Boeing 737 crashes immediately after takeoff in bad weather, killing 96 of the 105 aboard; one of the dead is the sultan of Sokoto, the spiritual leader of Muslims in Nigeria.November 27, Tehran, Iran. A military plane crashes immediately after takeoff from Mehrabad Airport; all 39 aboard, 30 of them members of the Revolutionary Guards, die.Fires and ExplosionsFebruary 7, China. The Ministry of Public Security reports that more than 6,000 fires were started by fireworks over the lunar new year celebrations (January 28–February 4) and that 63 people lost their lives in the fires.April 10, Meerut, India. At an electronics fair a short circuit causes a fire that consumes three tents, leaving at least 45 people dead.April 10, Shanxi province, China. An explosion in the underground parking garage of a hospital in Yuanping kills at least 33 people; authorities find evidence of explosives at the site.May 12, Nigeria. At a beach near the fishing village of Ilado, vandals trying to steal fuel from a gasoline pipeline set off an enormous explosion that incinerates some 200 people.May 23, Benin. A tanker truck carrying gasoline in the village of Porga overturns and explodes, killing more than 35 people, most of whom had come to siphon gasoline from the truck.June 7, Lake Tanganyika. A ferry carrying freight that includes barrels of oil and gasoline from Uvira to Kalemie in the Democratic Republic of the Congo catches fire; some 100 people are presumed dead.July 6, Shanxi province, China. An explosion at the home of a resident of the village of Dongzhai results in the death of at least 49 people; unlicensed explosives are a likely cause.July 28, Jiangsu province, China. An explosion at the Fuyuan Chemical Plant kills at least 22 people, with 28 missing, and causes the evacuation of some 7,000 people.July 30, Manama, Bahrain. A fire in a building kills 16 Indian workers.August 28, Iraq. In Al-Diwaniyah residents begin siphoning gasoline from a government pipeline left unguarded because of a battle in the town; one of the residents lights a cigarette, igniting an explosion that incinerates at least 67 people.November 20, Guatemala City, Guat. A fire ignited by a cigarette at illegal fireworks stands on the edge of a large open-air market kills 15 people, some burned and some asphyxiated.December 9, Moscow. A nighttime fire breaks out at a drug-treatment facility; though some 160 people escape, 45 women die, mostly from smoke inhalation, when they are unable to escape because of locked doors and window grilles.December 16, Jhok Utra, Pak. In a wedding tent, heat from high-intensity lights ignites a fire, which triggers a stampede that results in the destruction of a newly built brick wall; 27 women and children, including the bride, are killed by the fire, the stampede, or the falling wall.December 25, Philippines. A fire begins in fireworks near the entrance and sweeps through the one-story Unitop department store in Ormoc; at least 24 people are burned to death.December 26, Lagos, Nigeria. An oil pipeline breached by thieves explodes as people gather to siphon the leaking oil; the resultant fire incinerates at least 260 people.MarineFebruary 3, Red Sea. An Egyptian ferry carrying labourers home from Duba, Saudi Arabia, to Safaga, Egypt, goes down off the coast of Egypt; some 1,000 people are believed to have died.February 16, Off Dongjia Island, Fujian province, China. In the Taiwan Strait a freighter flying a Panamanian flag strikes a reef and sinks, and two hours later a fishing boat also strikes a reef and sinks; a total of 57 people are missing.March 6, Off the coast of Mauritania. The Mauritanian Red Crescent reports that two wooden canoes carrying would-be migrants attempting to reach the Canary Islands have capsized over the past three days, and the first one collided with a ship coming to its rescue and broke in half; at least 45 people lose their lives.March 22, Gulf of Guinea. A ferry traveling from Nigeria to Gabon goes down in the Gulf of Guinea, off the coast of Cameroon; at least 125 are believed drowned.March 30, Near Manama, Bahrain. A Bahraini ferry carrying some 130 people on a dinner cruise sinks; at least 58 passengers drown.March 30, Tanzania. A boat plying the waters between two islands in Lake Victoria sinks; at least 36 people drown.April 6, Djibouti. A small boat carrying passengers to a religious festival capsizes in the harbour, drowning at least 109; the boat was carrying triple the maximum load.April 10, Lake Volta, Ghana. A boat carrying people forced to move to the mainland from an island designated a nature reserve sinks, and some 100 people are feared dead; the boat was said to be overloaded.April 21, Lake Victoria. A ferry is reported to have sunk in Tanzania with approximately 30 fatalities.April 30, Off Barbados, West Indies. A fisherman finds a boat containing the bodies of 11 African men; it is believed that the boat left Senegal on Dec. 24, 2005, loaded with 52 would-be migrants bound for the Canary Islands; their number is added to the more than 1,000 believed to have perished since December 2005 while attempting to reach the Canaries.May 10, Off the coast of Yemen. Smugglers force their passengers, Somali and Ethiopian refugees, off their boat; at least 45 drown, and at least 200 are missing.July 3, Off the coast of Western Sahara. A boat carrying African migrants trying to reach the Canary Islands sinks, and bodies begin washing onshore; 30 corpses are found, but 40 additional people are thought to have drowned.September 29, Near Greenville, Ghana. An overloaded canoe sinks in the Sinoe River; it is feared that some 45 passengers drowned.October 18, The Nile River. Two steamboats carrying soldiers from the former Sudan People's Liberation Army from Malakal, Sudan, to their new post in the national army, in accordance with 2005 peace treaty, collide in the Nile and sink; as many as 75 soldiers die.October 23, Meghna River, Bangladesh. A ferry carrying passengers home to celebrate Eid al-Fitr collides with a cargo vessel and sinks; at least 15 people are killed, and a further 35 are missing.December 16, Senegal. A wrecked boat carrying people who had been trying to get to the Canary Islands washes up on the coast of Senegal; it is believed that dozens of people died in the wreck. A similar disaster had occurred three days earlier.December 27, Off the coast of Yemen. Two boats filled with would-be refugees and being chased by Yemeni patrol boats capsize; at least 140 people are missing.December 29, Indonesia. A ferry nearing the completion of a 48-hour journey from Borneo to Java encounters bad weather that causes the boat to break apart; some 400 people are lost.Mining and ConstructionJanuary 2, Sago, W.Va. Thirteen coal miners are trapped by a gas explosion; 12 of them are found dead the night of January 3.February 19, San Juan de las Sabinas, Mex. An explosion in a coal mine causes a rock avalanche that seals off a mine shaft, fatally trapping some 65 miners; 13 others are rescued.April 29, Yan'an, Shaanxi province, China. A gas explosion in a coal mine leaves 24 miners dead and 8 missing.May 9, Tasmania, Australia. Two miners are rescued, to national jubilation, two weeks after being trapped by a rock fall in a gold mine at Beaconsfield; one miner died in the disaster.May 18, Shanxi province, China. A coal mine floods, entombing 57 miners.June 1, Dursunbey, Turkey. A gas explosion at a coal mine causes a shaft to collapse; 17 miners are killed.August 16, Poura, Burkina Faso. In a long-closed gold mine, walls softened by rain collapse, killing some 50 of the people who continued to search for gold in the mine.September 7, Jharkand state, India. After an explosion and gas leak in a coal mine, 30 miners are found dead, with 23 still trapped inside and feared dead.September 7, Chita region, Siberia. A fire in a gold mine, apparently caused by welding, traps at least 33 miners underground; after two days 8 miners have been rescued and 21 confirmed dead.September 20, Kazakhstan. A methane explosion and fire kill at least 41 coal miners in the Karaganda region.October 28, Xinjiang region, China. An explosion in a coal mine kills 14 miners, and 12 workers are killed in an explosion at an oil-storage facility.November 5, Shanxi province, China. A gas explosion in the Jiaojiazhai coal mine kills at least 17 miners, with a further 30 still missing; a day later the Chinese government reports that an astonishing 345 people died in mining accidents in October.November 21, Ruda Slaska, Pol. A methane explosion in the Halemba coal mine kills 23 miners; it is Poland's worst mining disaster since 1979.November 25, China. A gas explosion in a coal mine at Jixi, Heilongjiang province, kills at least 21 miners; a few hours later another explosion at a mine in Fuyuan, Yunnan province, kills 32.NaturalJanuary 2, Jember, Jawa Timur province, Indon. A landslide buries more than 100 houses on Java, leaving some 137 people dead.January 8, India. The city of New Delhi experiences its first winter frost since 1935; the death toll from an unusually cold winter in northern India has reached 146, mostly in Uttar Pradesh state.January 14, Japan. The death of five people raises the toll from a recent record snowfall to 90, the country's highest death toll because of winter weather in more than 20 years; two days later the number reaches 100.January 18, Moscow. Temperatures drop to −30 °C (−22 °F); the unusual cold causes difficulties with transportation and closes schools; at least two dozen people, mostly homeless, are found to have frozen to death.January 24, Eastern Europe. The cold wave is reported to have caused 50 deaths in Russia, at least 13 in Moldova, and 15 in Romania.February 1, Afghanistan. Government officials report that avalanches after heavy snowfalls have killed more than 20 people in the northern part of the country in the past two days.February 15, Near Tindouf, Alg. After days of heavy rain, flooding destroys some 50,000 homes in camps that have housed refugees from Western Sahara for three decades.February 17, Philippines. On the island of Leyte, a sudden massive mud slide buries the town of Guinsaugon, killing nearly all of its 1,800 residents (the death toll is later estimated at 1,100); the area has received five times the normal amount of rain in the past few weeks.March 5, Europe. Avalanches in Switzerland and Italy kill two people, bringing the death toll from an unusually heavy two-day snowstorm across Europe to at least 17; the most deaths are in Germany.March 19, Australia. Tropical Cyclone Larry makes landfall at Innisfail, Queen., as a category 4 storm, flattening the community and leaving thousands homeless as well as damaging the banana and sugarcane plantations.March 31, Iran. A magnitude-6 earthquake strikes northwestern Iran; at least 70 people are killed.April 2, Midwestern U.S. Thunderstorms and tornadoes cut a swath of destruction, leaving at least 28 people dead—24 of them in Tennessee, 3 in Missouri, and 1 in Illinois.April 7, Tennessee. A flurry of tornadoes leave 12 people dead, bringing the death toll from storms in the state to 36 in less than a week; tornadoes are also reported in Alabama and Mississippi.April 14, Colombia. Pres. Álvaro Uribe tours the Valle del Cauca province, where mud slides after torrential rains have left dozens of people dead or missing and a major highway cut off between Cali and Buenaventura.April 15, Eastern Europe. Heavy rain on top of snowmelt causes the Danube River to reach its highest level in 111 years at Bazias, Rom., bringing flooding to Bulgaria, Romania, and Serbia and Montenegro.April 19, Java, Indonesia. Flash floods and landslides from monsoon rains on the island leave at least 23 people dead, most in Bendungan, the worst-hit area.April 21, Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia. An earthquake measured at magnitude 7.9 rocks the Koryak region, all but destroying three villages in which some 1,500 people lived.April 27, Angola. Health officials report that the death toll from an unusually bad cholera outbreak in the country has reached 900.May 8, Pakistan. Officials say at least 20 people have succumbed in a heat wave.May 17–18, China. As the strongest May typhoon ever recorded in the region heads for land, some 487,000 people are evacuated from coastal areas of Guangdong and Fujian provinces; the following day Typhoon Chanchu makes landfall between Shantou and Xiamen, killing at least 100, with hundreds still missing days later.May 24, Northern Thailand. Two days of flash flooding leave more than 100 people dead or missing.May 27, Java. A magnitude-6.3 earthquake near Yogyakarta leaves some 6,000 people dead and hundreds of thousands homeless.May 27, Thailand. Flooding in the northern part of the country leaves dozens of people dead in Uttaradit, which is usually spared by the monsoon rains.June 8, China. The government announces that the heaviest flooding in 30 years in eastern China has left at least 55 people dead and 12 missing, despite the evacuation of some 378,000 people.June 22, Sulawesi, Indonesia. The death toll from floods and landslides triggered by rain that started falling on June 19 on the island reaches more than 200.June 26, Hunan province, China. A landslide caused by flooding leaves at least 18 people dead, mostly in Longhui.July 3, South Asia. Mumbai (Bombay) is shut down by flooding caused by monsoon rains, and authorities report that landslides and collapsed houses in Orissa and Jharkand states have killed at least 30 people, while a further 17 deaths are reported from Pakistan.July 5, China. Storms and rain in China's Jiangsu and Anhui provinces have left at least 30 people dead; some 40,000 people have had to be evacuated.July 12, Southwestern Colombia. The Galeras volcano begins erupting, necessitating the evacuation of some 10,000 people.July 14, Chile. Pres. Michelle Bachelet declares a state of emergency after a week of torrential rains has caused mud slides and flooding that have left at least 15 people dead and many others missing in southern and central areas.July 14, Punjab province, Pakistan. Officials say roof collapses and flooding caused by heavy rain have killed at least 18 people.July 14, North Korea. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies reports that flooding and landslides have left more than 100 people dead; later estimates of the death toll range from 549 to 55,000.July 15, Kaski district, Nepal. A landslide sweeps away houses; 17 bodies are recovered, but some 15 people are still missing.July 17, Java. Under the seabed of the Indian Ocean, a magnitude-7.7 earthquake sets off a 1.8-m (6-ft) tsunami that inundates the south coast, with most of the damage centred on Pangandaran; nearly 600 people are killed.July 21, Hunan province, China. It is reported that 346 people have died in flooding resulting from Tropical Storm Bilis over several days, raising the death toll from that storm to 482; by the following day the death toll has reached 523, and it is reported that six provinces suffered major damage; the final toll passes 600.July 21, France. Authorities say that a weeklong heat wave has been responsible for 21 deaths, bringing the death toll in Western Europe to 30; the heat wave is forecast to last at least another week.July 22, China. An earthquake with a magnitude measured at 5.2 strikes Yunnan province, killing at least 22 people and injuring 106.July 25, Southern China. Typhoon Kaemi hits the southern coast of China, leaving at least 25 people dead and more than 50 missing, mostly in Jiangxi province.July 26, France. Health officials say that the heat wave that has affected most of Europe for the past two weeks has claimed 64 lives in France, and the number is likely to rise.July 27, California. State authorities say that a heat wave that has seen temperatures of well over 38 °C (100 °F) over the past several days has left at least 100 people as well as some 16,500 dairy cows dead; the following day the human death toll climbs to 126.July 27, France and Italy. Authorities declare that the two-week heat wave has resulted in 80 deaths, and the French weather office says that this July has been the hottest month on record in the country.July 31, Cook county, Ill. With the discovery of nine more bodies, health officials say that the number of heat-related deaths has risen to at least 15, with a total of 24 for the year so far.August 5, New York City. Coroners in New York City say that the previous week's heat wave caused the death of at least 20 people; the death toll is later put at 24.August 6, Kenya. Heavy rains cause the Dechatu River to burst its banks, sweeping away homes and factories in Dire Dawa and leaving at least 250 people dead and 300 missing.August 8, South Asia. Indian officials report that flooding in Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Andhra Pradesh states has left some 300 people dead and hundreds of thousands stranded; some 140 people have died in flooding in Pakistan.August 10, China. Typhoon Saomai strikes the coastal provinces of Fujian and Zhejiang, leaving nearly 500 people dead; with winds of 216 km (134 mi) per hour, Saomai is the strongest storm to hit China in 50 years.August 12, India. It is reported that monsoon rains in the south and west have left more than 350 people dead and more than four million homeless; parts of Mumbai have been submerged.August 13, Southern Ethiopia. The Omo River floods, drowning at least 364 people and leaving tens of thousands stranded or homeless.August 16, Ethiopia. Officials say that after 11 days of heavy rains, the death toll from flooding has reached 626 and is likely to rise as the rains continue.August 16, Ecuador. The volcano Tungurahua erupts, burying 10 villages and killing at least five people, though dozens are missing; the government had attempted to evacuate the area.August 28, Rajasthan state, India. It is reported that unusually heavy rains have swept away almost all of the village of Malwa and killed at least 135 people.September 6, Mexico. Heavy rains cause a mountainside to collapse and bury the village of Chalchihuitillo, killing at least 10 people, mostly children; a day later a landslide in Puebla state roars across a busy highway, killing at least 6 people in vehicles.September 20, South Asia. Officials report that a tropical depression in the Bay of Bengal has left more than 31 people dead, mostly from drowning and house collapses, in Andhra Pradesh state, at least 12 dead in West Bengal state, and 18 fishermen drowned and more than 80 missing in Bangladesh.September 28, Philippines. Typhoon Xangsane roars through the central and northern provinces, leaving at least 63 people dead.October 12, Southeast Asia. Severe flooding in Thailand and Myanmar (Burma) leaves at least 57 people dead despite widespread evacuation; thousands of homes are destroyed.October 31, Ethiopia. Officials report that days of rain and the flooding of the Shebeli River in the past four days have left at least 67 people dead near the eastern border.November 2, Turkey. Authorities report that 10 people have died in flooding in the town of Batman; the previous day at least 22 people perished, among them 14 killed when a flash flood swept away a minibus, and dozens more are still missing.November 30, Philippines. Typhoon Durian roars across the islands, triggering landslides, mostly on the slopes of Mt. Mayon, that sweep away entire villages and leave more than 1,000 people dead or missing.December 3, St. Louis, Mo. The death toll in the city reaches 19 after a winter storm paralyzes the area and leaves hundreds of thousands of people without power.December 24, Southeast Asia. Indonesian officials report that flooding on the island of Sumatra has caused at least 87 people to perish, with dozens still missing; in neighbouring Malaysia, 7 fatalities have been reported.RailroadJanuary 23, Serbia and Montenegro. A train derails after emerging from a tunnel and falls into a ravine near the town of Bioce; at least 44 people are killed.January 29, Punjab province, Pakistan. A high-speed train traveling from Rawalpindi to Lahore derails while making a turn and falls into a deep ravine, killing at least 46 passengers.July 3, Valencia, Spain. A subway train derails while speeding on a curve; at least 41 passengers are killed.July 11, Northern Bangladesh. At an unmanned railroad crossing, a train hits a passenger bus, knocking it into a ditch; at least 33 of the bus passengers perish.August 21, Qalyub, Egypt. A train rams into another train stopped at the station; at least 58 people lose their lives, most of them commuters on their way to work in Cairo.September 22, Germany. A high-speed maglev Transrapid train on a test run on an elevated track in northwestern Germany collides with a service train that had not left the track; though the maglev train does not derail, 25 people are killed.December 28, Cuautitlán, Mex. A freight train hits a bus that was trying to get across the tracks ahead of the train; at least 21 bus passengers are killed.TrafficFebruary 11, Yunnan province, China. A truck heavily laden with passengers falls into a ravine, killing 19 of the passengers.March 9, Tokat province, Turkey. A bus falls into the Kelkit River; at least 13 people are drowned, with some 16 more feared dead.March 10, Balochistan province, Pak. A bus carrying guests to a wedding hits a land mine, and 26 people are blown up.April 17, Mexico. An overloaded tourist bus traveling between Mexico City and Veracruz goes off the road and falls some 198 m (650 ft) into a ravine; at least 65 passengers perish.April 20, India. A bus overloaded with wedding guests skids into a canal in Assam state, and 51 passengers lose their lives, while in Nainital, Uttaranchal state, 13 people die when a bus falls into a gorge.May 1, Andhra Pradesh state, India. A truck carrying a large load of mangoes on top of which labourers are riding overturns, crushing at least 20 riders to death.May 2, Uttar Pradesh state, India. A bus falls into a river near Rampur, causing the death of at least 22 people.May 2, Near Mumbai. A municipal bus goes off a bridge into a river bed, killing at least 30 passengers.May 11, Near Damietta, Egypt. A bus carrying workers at a weaving factory overturns and falls into a canal; 21 passengers are killed.May 20, Maharashtra state, India. A vehicle carrying wedding guests falls into a ravine; some 30 people are reported dead.June 6, Tanzania. A cargo truck going too fast for conditions overturns in Biharamulo district; at least 28 people are killed.June 9, Tanzania. A bus traveling from Mererani to Arusha goes off a bridge into the Malala River; at least 54 passengers are killed.June 17, Kashmir. Near the town of Ramban in the India-administered area of Kashmir, a passenger bus plunges into a gorge; at least 25 passengers are killed.June 23, Near Yaoundé, Cameroon. A truck and a bus crash into each other; at least 30 people die.June 29, Himachal Pradesh state, India. A passenger bus falls into a deep gorge, with at least 17 fatalities.July 7, Uttaranchal state, India. A bus skids off the road near Uttarkashi, causing the death of at least 26 people.August 29, Karnataka state, India. A bus carrying passengers home from a pilgrimage site swerves to avoid a collision on a bridge near the Almatti reservoir and plunges into the Krishna River; at least 27 passengers drown.September 17, Rajasthan state, India. A bus carrying Hindu pilgrims collides with a truck near Udaipur, leaving 15 people dead, and in Tonk district a truck crashes into a bus, killing 8.September 24, Near Quito, Ecuador. A bus overturns on a steep mountain road; at least 47 passengers, including 17 children, are killed.September 27, Moro, Pak. A minibus and a truck collide head-on at a high rate of speed on a bridge; at least 22 people die.October 9, Guatemala. A passenger bus leaving Huehuetenango in foggy weather falls into a 90-m (300-ft) ravine; 42 passengers are killed.October 23, Panama City, Pan. A public bus catches fire owing to mechanical problems, incinerating 18 passengers.October 25, Sikkim state, India. A passenger bus carrying more than 60 people from Jorethang to Gangtok falls into the Teesta River; at least 21 people are killed.November 1, Bangladesh. In Sirajganj district two buses crash head-on, killing at least 18 people.November 7, Madhya Pradesh state, India. Near Hoshangabad a truck carrying farm workers falls into a ditch; 29 of the farm workers lose their lives.November 13, Near Cape Town. A trailer full of farm workers being pulled by a truck across an unmarked rail crossing is hit by a commuter train; 27 workers are killed.MiscellaneousJanuary 2, Bad Reichenhall, Ger. The roof of an ice-skating rink in the winter-sports resort town collapses under the weight of snow; 15 people, most of them children, are killed.January 5, Mecca, Saudi Arabia. A building that is used as a hostel for pilgrims during the Hajj collapses, killing at least 76 people.January 11, Dominican Republic. The bodies of at least 24 Haitians who suffocated in the back of a van smuggling them across the border are found on the road northeast of Santo Domingo where they had been thrown from the van.January 12, Saudi Arabia. A stampede results when pilgrims crossing the Jamarat Bridge to “stone the devil” during the Hajj at Mina are caught in a bottleneck; some 363 people are trampled to death.January 28, Katowice, Pol. During a pigeon fanciers' gathering, the snow-laden roof of the International Katowice Fair convention centre suddenly collapses; at least 66 people are killed.February 4, Manila. A stampede to get tickets to the popular TV game show Wowowee results in the death of 74 people, most of them elderly women.February 23, Moscow. The roof of the Basmanny vegetable market on the outskirts of the capital collapses early in the morning; at least 66 workers and traders are killed.March 8, Kalerwe, near Kampala, Uganda. In a temporary shack inside an unfinished church building where Protestant evangelical services are taking place, a wall of the church structure collapses during a thunderstorm; at least 27 people are killed.April 9, Karachi, Pak. As some 20,000 women in a congregation are leaving a religious observation of the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad, a girl trips and falls, causing a chain reaction in which at least 30 women and children are trampled to death.April 21, French Guiana. The bodies of 14 people, 12 of them children, are found in a hut in the village of Loka; they are believed to have succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning.May 3, Kerman province, Iran. Kayhan newspaper reports that 15 people died and one was blinded after drinking alcohol believed to have been mixed with methanol.July 18, Lagos, Nigeria. A four-story apartment building collapses, killing at least 43 people; the building consisted of 36 apartments, a penthouse, and shops.August 5, Mardan, Pak. A bridge crowded with pedestrians and vehicles collapses; 39 bodies are pulled from the river below.August 27, Rajasthan state, India. At a wrestling match in Bharatpur, a water tank onto which some 200 people had climbed for a better view collapses; at least 48 spectators are killed.September 8, Nicaragua. The Health Ministry declares a health emergency after more than 20 people die from drinking illegal liquor mixed with poisonous methanol.September 12, Ibb, Yemen. At an election rally for Pres. ʿAli ʿAbdallah Salih in a stadium, the crowd rushes the stage for a better view, which leads to a stampede in which at least 51 people are killed, most crushed under an iron fence that collapses under the force of the crowd.October 6, Panama. After 19 people have mysteriously died of kidney failure, the government begins pulling a generic drug used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure that is believed to be connected with the deaths; it is learned that the deaths were caused by contamination of cough syrup and other medications with diethylene glycol, an ingredient of antifreeze, and the death toll later rises to 34.October 28, Russia. Authorities say that alcohol poisoning has broken out across the country, killing dozens and hospitalizing hundreds; the worst outbreak is reported to be in the Irkutsk region of Siberia, where 27 people have died.▪ 2006IntroductionListed here are major disasters that occurred in 2005. The list includes NATURAL and nonmilitary MECHANICAL disasters that claimed more than 15 lives and/or resulted in significant damage to PROPERTY.AviationJanuary 13, Colombia. A helicopter provided by the U.S. as part of its sponsorship of a drug-eradication system crashes during a nighttime mission; 20 Colombian soldiers are killed.January 27, Central Vietnam. A Russian-made military helicopter crashes shortly after takeoff from Me Island; all 16 aboard, including 2 generals, are killed.February 3, Afghanistan. A Kam Air Boeing 737 flying from Herat to Kabul in a snowstorm crashes shortly after being denied permission to land at Kabul; all 104 aboard are lost.March 16, Russia. A Russian Antonov-24 airplane carrying oil workers and Lukoil subcontractors crashes near the Arctic port of Varandey; at least 28 people are killed.April 6, Afghanistan. A U.S. military helicopter crashes in a dust storm near Ghazni, killing 18 people.May 7, Queensland, Australia. A twin-engine propeller airplane traveling from Bamaga to Lockhart River, a remote Aboriginal township, crashes into a hillside; all 15 aboard are killed in the worst civil aviation disaster in the country since 1968.July 16, Near Malabo, Equatorial Guinea. An Antonov-24 passenger plane operated by Equatair and bound for the mainland town of Bata crashes in a forest shortly after takeoff, killing all of the estimated 55–60 people aboard; the plane was overloaded.August 6, Off Sicily. A Tunisian ATR-72 airliner carrying tourists from Bari, Italy, to a Tunisian resort makes an emergency landing in the sea, and 16 people die; it is later learned that the plane's fuel gauge, designed for a different aircraft, failed to indicate that the craft was out of fuel.August 14, Near Grammatikos, Greece. A chartered Helios Airways Boeing 737 passenger plane flying from Larnaca, Cyprus, to Prague via Athens crashes, killing all 121 aboard; evidently all on board had lost consciousness because of loss of oxygen in the aircraft.August 16, Near Machiques, Venez. A chartered Colombian MD-82 jetliner carrying French tourists from Panama to Martinique crashes in the mountains after its engines fail; all 160 aboard perish.August 16, Near Herat, Afg. A Spanish military helicopter that is part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan crashes, killing all 17 aboard; it is believed to be an accident.August 23, Near Pucallpa, Peru. A TANS Perú Boeing 737 crashes while attempting an emergency landing during a storm; at least 40 of the 98 on board are killed.September 5, Medan, Sumatra, Indon. A Boeing 737 belonging to the low-fare Indonesian carrier Mandala Airlines crashes into an urban neighbourhood shortly after takeoff; 101 people on board, including the governor of Sumatera Utara province, are killed, as are 44 people on the ground.October 22, Lissa, Nigeria. Bellview Airlines Flight 210, flying from Lagos to Abuja in Nigeria, crashes after passing through an electrical storm; all 117 aboard the Boeing 737 perish.December 6, Tehran. A military transport C-130 carrying mostly journalists crashes into an apartment building while attempting an emergency landing shortly after takeoff; all 94 passengers and crew are killed, and as many as 34 people on the ground also perish.December 10, Port Harcourt, Nigeria. A Nigerian DC-9 with 109 aboard, many of them schoolchildren heading home from Abuja for the holidays, crashes on landing; 108 of those on board die.December 19, Off Miami Beach, Fla. A 1940s-era seaplane carrying holiday shoppers home to Bimini in The Bahamas crashes shortly after takeoff; 17 adults and 3 children die.Fires and ExplosionsJanuary 7, Siddhirganj, Bangladesh. A fire breaks out in a garment factory, killing at least 22 people who were trapped inside because the exits were locked; it is believed that faulty wiring caused the fast-moving fire.January 12, Northern Shanxi province, China. An explosion in a fireworks factory kills at least 25 workers, most of them young women.February 14, Tehran. A fire caused by a kerosene oil heater in a mosque kills 59 people, some of them dying as people stampede to escape.February 23, Juba, The Sudan. High temperatures cause an explosion at an ammunition dump, and at least 24 people die.March 2, Kecheng, Shanxi province, China. A cache of explosives being stored at the home of a coal-mine manager detonates, killing at least 20 children in an adjacent elementary school as well as the mine manager.March 10, Karachi. A fireball engulfs the PNS Moawin, a naval logistics ship, during routine maintenance in port; at least 35 of those aboard are killed, and 24 are critically injured.March 17, Jiangxi province, China. A bus traveling near the city of Shangrao is destroyed when a nearby truck carrying explosives and fireworks blows up violently; at least 30 people are killed.March 23, Texas City, Texas. Part of a BP refinery plant explodes, killing 15 workers.March 25, Tema, Ghana. A fire, most likely caused by a spark from welding work coming in contact with oil leaking from a pipe, engulfs the Greek-registered MV Polaris, in port for repairs; 18 people lose their lives in the blaze.April 15, Paris. A fire started by a candle flame destroys the Paris-Opéra hotel, leaving 24 people dead, most of them African immigrants placed in the hotel by social service agencies.April 20, Zambia. An explosion at a Chinese-owned explosives factory on the grounds of a copper mine kills at least 50 people.May 2, Afghanistan. A cache of explosives stored at the home of a commander of a recently disarmed and demobilized regiment in the village of Kohna Deh detonates, leveling a portion of the village and killing at least 34 people, mostly women and children.May 3, Lahore, Pak. A gas explosion causes an apartment and factory building and several houses to collapse, killing at least 28 people.June 10, Shantou, Guangdong province, China. A fire breaks out at the Huanan Hotel, engulfing the top three floors of the four-story building and killing at least 31 people.July 11, Ukhta, Komi republic, Russia. A fire in a shop kills at least 24 people; the fire reportedly was deliberately set, possibly because of a business dispute.July 12, San José, Costa Rica. A large fire on the upper floors of the Calderón Guardia hospital kills at least 18 people.August 26, Paris. An overnight fire in an old apartment building housing African immigrants kills at least 17 people, most of them children.September 5, Bani Suwayf, Egypt. A candle being used as a prop in a production at a theatre festival falls over, starting a fire that kills at least 32 people, among them at least 13 actors.September 5, Paris. Three girls admit to having started a fire the day before in the mailbox of a friend with whom they had fallen out; the resulting blaze killed 16 people in a low-income apartment building.September 15, Khusropur, Bihar state, India. An explosion in a fireworks factory kills 32 people, 10 of them children.September 23, Gaza Strip. At a celebratory Hamas military parade in the Jabaliya refugee camp during which weapons are on display, a pickup truck loaded with rockets explodes; at least 15 people are killed.December 15, Liaoyuan, Jilin province, China. A fire in the town's largest hospital leaves at least 39 people dead.MarineJanuary 17, Democratic Republic of the Congo. An overcrowded ferry traveling on the Kasai River between Ilebo and Tshikapa capsizes; at least 150 people are believed lost.January 25, Thailand. A speedboat capsizes while carrying tourists to the resort island of Koh Samui after a full-Moon beach party; at least 15 people are killed, and possibly the same number are missing.February 19, Near Dhaka, Bangladesh. An overcrowded ferry, the MV Maharaj, sinks on the Buriganga River in a storm; at least 120 people drown.May 15, Near Golapchipa, Bangladesh. An overloaded ferry sinks; close to 60 people are found dead, and a further 20 are missing.May 17, Manikganj district, Bangladesh. A double-decker ferry sinks in a storm on the Padma River; at least 58 people die, with an unknown number missing.July 7, Off Papua province, Indon. As many as 200 are feared to have drowned, trapped in the ferry KMP Digul when it capsized in rough seas while traveling from Merauke to Tanahmerah.July 14, Western Nepal. An overcrowded boat capsizes; at least 13 people drown, and dozens are missing.July 26, Ondo state, Nigeria. A wooden boat traveling from Igbokoda to Awoye strikes a sharp object and breaks up; some 200 people lose their lives.August 12, Off Colombia. A tremendously overloaded boat carrying Ecuadorans attempting to migrate to the U.S. sinks in rough waters, and 104 drown; the story becomes known when the 9 shipwrecked survivors are found by a fishing boat.August 16, Northern Nigeria. A wooden ferry in the Lamurde River capsizes, and all 90 aboard are drowned; apparently the panicking of passengers when the ferry began taking on water caused the boat to overturn.August 16, Guntur district, Andhra Pradesh state, India. A boat carrying some 25 people, mainly farmworkers, on the Buckingham canal overturns; at least 19 are drowned.August 21, Florida Straits. Rescued Cuban survivors say a speedboat on which they were traveling capsized several days earlier; 31 others who were on the boat are missing.September 3, Gulf of Aden. Smugglers carrying would-be illegal African migrants from Ethiopia and Somalia to Yemen, possibly fearing being found by Yemeni authorities, force their passengers to jump into the Gulf of Aden; at least 75 of them drown, and a further 100 are missing.October 2, Adirondack Mountains, New York. The Ethan Allen, a tour boat carrying elderly sightseers on Lake George, suddenly capsizes and sinks in good weather; 20 passengers drown.November 4, Off Kharo Chao, Pak. An overloaded ferry carrying people to a memorial for three people who died in a boat accident sinks in the Arabian Sea; at least 60 people lose their lives.November 7, Bangladesh. A cargo boat carrying passengers from ʿId al-Fitr celebrations on Swandip Island home to Chittagong capsizes because of overloading; though most passengers are rescued by a boat that was following, at least 25 are missing.Mining and ConstructionFebruary 9, Siberia, Russia. In the Kemerovo region, a methane gas explosion in a coal mine kills at least 21 miners.February 14, Fuxin, Liaoning province, China. In an unusually deadly mining accident, an explosion in the Sunjiawan coal mine kills 214 miners; an earthquake is reported to have occurred in the area 10 minutes before the explosion.March 19, Shuozhou, Shanxi province, China. An explosion at the Xishui coal mine leaves at least 65 miners dead; it is reported that the mine had resumed operation illegally after having been ordered to suspend work because of safety problems.April 21, Turkey. A gas explosion in a coal mine causes a cave-in and a fire, killing 17 workers.May 12, Panzhihua, Sichuan province, China. A gas explosion kills 21 workers in a coal mine; 10 miners survive.July 2, Ningwu county, Shanxi province, China. A gas explosion at a coal mine said to be illegal leaves 36 dead.July 11, Fukang, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China. A gas explosion in the Shenlong coal mine kills at least 83 miners.July 19, Tongchuan, Shanxi province, China. After a gas explosion in the Jinsuo coal mine, the bodies of 26 miners are found.August 7, Xingning, Guangdong province, China. The Daxing coal mine floods, trapping 123 miners; desperate efforts undertaken to rescue them are to no avail.October 26, Monkayo, Phil. An explosion causes a cave-in in a gold mine, killing at least 18 miners; some 50 others are still missing a day later.October 27, Qinglong county, Guizhou province, China. The Zhongxing Colliery suffers an explosion in which eight miners are killed outright and seven more succumb later, when rescuers are unable to reach them in time.November 27, Qitaihe, Heilongjiang province, China. An explosion in the Dongfeng mine kills at least 161 miners; 70 are rescued.NaturalJanuary 8–9, Northern Europe. Storms bring very high winds and flooding, leaving close to two million people without electricity and killing at least 11 people, 7 in Sweden and 4 in Denmark.January 10, La Conchita, Calif. After two weeks of unusually relentless and heavy rain and snow that leave some 20 people dead in southern California, a hillside gives way, burying four blocks and killing at least 10 people.January 22, Medina, Saudi Arabia. An unusually bad storm brings heavy rain and flash floods on the last day of the Hajj; some 29 people lose their lives.Late January, Guyana. The heaviest flooding in 100 years leaves Georgetown and the surrounding area in disastrous shape; thousands of people are forced to evacuate, and 34 lives are lost, many from disease.Early February, Venezuela and Colombia. Flooding caused by days of torrential rains sweeps away thousands of homes and leaves at least 86 people dead, 53 in Venezuela and 33 in Colombia.February 10, Balochistan province, Pak. Heavy rainfall in the drought-stricken province causes the Shadi Khor Dam to give way; at least 60 people are reported dead, with more than 500 missing.February 14, North-West Frontier Province, Pak. Authorities report 65 deaths over the previous week attributed to heavy rain and snow.February 18, Ituri district, Democratic Republic of the Congo. The World Health Organization reports that pneumonic plague has killed at least 61 diamond miners since December 2004, with as many as 300 more possibly also infected.February 20, Indian-administered Kashmir. Avalanches destroy several Himalayan villages, leaving at least 278 people dead; hundreds more have perished in the region owing to frigid temperatures.February 21, Western Java, Indon. Heavy rainfall causes a hilltop municipal dump to collapse, triggering a landslide that buries much of the village of Cimahi under tons of garbage and soil and leaving some 120 people either dead or missing.February 22, Kerman province, Iran. Some 500 people are killed when a magnitude-6.4 earthquake centred on the town of Zarand takes place early in the morning, flattening several villages.February 25, Afghanistan. Officials report that the death toll from an unusually bitter winter is a minimum of 580.March 20, Northern Bangladesh. A tornado in Gaibandha district leaves at least 56 people dead and thousands homeless; storms over the next few days raise the death toll in the region to above 80.March 28, Nias island, Indonesia. An earthquake centred deep under the seabed with a magnitude of 8.7 kills at least 905 people.April 23, Somali region, Eth. The Shebeli River overflows its banks, inundating the area and leaving at least 134 people dead, about 20 of them eaten by crocodiles.April 28, Jiddah, Saudi Arabia. Storms and flash flooding kill some 30 people as houses collapse, cars are swept off roads, and power lines fall.May 6, Delhi. It is reported that 15 people have died of a rare strain of bacterial meningitis that had not occurred in India in more than 10 years; by July 1 the outbreak has been declared over, but by then 60 people have died and 441 others have been diagnosed with the disease.May 18, Chile. A blizzard catches army troops on a training march in the Andes Mountains, leaving at least 26 of them dead and a further 19 missing.May 19, Angola. World Health Organization officials report that the death toll from the outbreak of hemorrhagic fever caused by the Marburg virus, which is incurable and often quickly fatal, has reached 311.June, South Asia. A heat wave throughout the region is responsible for hundreds of deaths.June 3, Southern China. After several days of torrential rain, the death toll reaches 204, with 79 people still missing and tens of thousands of farm animals and homes also destroyed.June 10, Shalan, Heilongjiang province, China. Flash flooding caused when some 200 mm (8 in) of rain fall in 40 minutes leads to the drowning of at least 92 people, at least 88 of them children in a primary school.June 13, Northern Andes, Chile. An earthquake with a magnitude of 7.9 occurs in a sparsely populated area, killing at least 11 people and causing damage to roads and water-supply lines.June 16, Senahú, Guat. At least 23 people are killed when a mud slide buries homes in several neighbourhoods.June 21, Afghanistan. A government official reports that flooding in the north caused by snowmelt has killed 51 people.June 24, China. Chinese officials report that the death toll from flooding in the past two weeks has reached 536.June 30, Northern Italy. Italian news sources report that the death toll from a heat wave has reached 21.July, Phoenix. A record heat wave leaves at least 30 people dead, most of them homeless.July 1, Gujarat, India. Officials report that monsoon floods have caused the death of at least 94 people and the evacuation of some 200,000 others; the death toll continues to rise as the rains continue.July 7, Haiti and Cuba. Hurricane Dennis makes landfall in Haiti, causing great destruction and leaving at least 60 people dead; the following day the hurricane swipes the south coast of Cuba, killing 16 people.July 10, Southern China. Officials report that unusually strong and early rains have caused flooding that has left at least 29 people dead and forced countless thousands to flee their homes; in the town of Dazhou alone, some 26,000 homes are destroyed by floods.July 26, Mumbai (Bombay). Rain totaling 94.2 cm (37.1 in) within 24 hours paralyzes the city and smashes the record for a one-day rainfall in India; continuing into the following day, the rains leave more than 1,000 dead in Maharashtra state, at least 736 of them in the city.August 23, Romania. Flooding caused by heavy rains leaves 18 people dead; floods also occur in Switzerland, Austria, and Bulgaria, and by the time flooding has begun to subside, the death toll in the region has reached 26.August 29, Gulf Coast, U.S. Hurricane Katrina at Category 4 strength roars ashore, devastating New Orleans and Slidell in Louisiana, as well as Gulfport and Biloxi in Mississippi, and leading the following day to the breach of New Orleans's levees and catastrophic flooding of 80% of the city; the death toll in Louisiana is at least 1,100 and in Mississippi some 230.September 1, Near Padang, Sumatera Barat province, Indon. Rains trigger a landslide that kills at least 10 people and leaves an estimated 34 more buried in the rubble.September 1, Anhui province, China. Typhoon Talim causes landslides and flooding and leaves 53 people dead after killing 3 in Taiwan.September 6, Southern Japan. Typhoon Nabi makes landfall, forcing the evacuation of some 250,000 people and killing at least 18.September 11, Zhejiang province, China. Typhoon Khanun kills at least 14 people and destroys well over 7,000 houses; 8 people are reported missing.Mid-September, Bay of Bengal. Days of ferocious storms kill dozens of people, and more than 1,000 are reported missing; at least 56 people are dead in India's Andra Pradesh state, with hundreds also reported missing.September 20, Cambodia. A government official reports that flooding on the Mekong River and storms elsewhere have left 21 people dead and ruined thousands of hectares of rice.September 24, Gulf Coast, U.S. Hurricane Rita goes ashore near the Texas-Louisiana border, devastating the coastal areas of southwestern Louisiana and southeastern Texas but causing few deaths; the previous day the hurricane had caused recently repaired levees in New Orleans to crumble, reflooding much of the city.September 28, East Asia. Typhoon Damrey is downgraded to a tropical depression after a week in which it killed 36 people in Vietnam, 16 in the Philippines, 16 in southern China, and at least 3 in Thailand.October 2, Fuzhou, Fujian province, China. Floodwaters from Typhoon Longwang sweep away a military school, killing at least 80 paramilitary officers.October 4, North and Central America. Hurricane Stan makes landfall on Mexico's Gulf Coast; resultant floods and landslides kill at least 71 people in El Salvador and 654 in Guatemala—where close to 600 more are counted as missing—while more than 60 are killed in Nicaragua, Honduras, Mexico, and Costa Rica.October 8, Kashmir. On the border between Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province and the Pakistani-administered part of Kashmir, a magnitude-7.6 earthquake with a shallow focus devastates an enormous region, leveling cities and mountain hamlets; the death toll in Pakistan, mostly in Kashmir, is more than 87,000 people; in the India-administered part of Kashmir, more than 1,000 people also die.October 21, Mexico. After killing 13 people in Haiti and Jamaica, Hurricane Wilma makes landfall on the Yucatán coast, stalling there for a full day and devastating the resort areas of Cancún, Cozumel, and Playa del Carmen; 6 people are killed in Mexico.October 23, Hispaniola. Tropical Storm Alpha, which formed in the Caribbean the previous day, causes heavy rains in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, killing at least 26; Alpha is the 22nd named storm in the Atlantic, which breaks a record for the most named storms in a season, set in 1933, and makes this the most active Atlantic hurricane season ever recorded.October 24, Florida. Hurricane Wilma enters near Marco Island on the Gulf Coast and exits six hours later near West Palm Beach on the Atlantic Ocean, leaving some 22 people dead.October 27, Southern India. After five days of heavy rain, more than 100 people are reported dead, mostly in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka states.November 6, Southern Indiana. A tornado that also passes through northern Kentucky leaves 24 people dead, most of them in a trailer park outside Evansville, Ind.November 26, Jiangxi province, China. A magnitude-5.7 earthquake near the tourist destination town of Jiujiang kills at least 14 people and destroys thousands of houses.December 28, Northern Yemen. A nighttime rock slide buries the village of Dhafir in enormous boulders, leaving at least 43 people dead and some 100 trapped in the rubble.December 28, Northwestern Pakistan. An avalanche overwhelms gemstone miners, killing 24 of them.RailroadJanuary 6, Graniteville, N.C. A freight train carrying liquid chlorine crashes into a train parked outside a textile factory; at least 8 people are killed and hundreds made sick by the poison chlorine gas, and some 5,400 residents are evacuated.January 7, Near Bologna, Italy. A passenger train from Verona collides head-on with a freight train in heavy fog; at least 13 people are killed, including the engineers.January 17, Bangkok. An empty subway train collides with a crowded one during the morning rush, injuring 212 passengers; Bangkok's subway had been initiated only six months previously.January 26, Glendale, Calif. A sport utility vehicle is left on train tracks, and a commuter train hits it and then derails and hits another commuter train, which also derails; 11 people are killed and some 200 injured.April 21, Samlaya, Gujarat state, India. A passenger train traveling from Varanasi to Ahmedabad crashes into a stationary freight train and derails; at least 24 people are killed.April 25, Amagasaki, Japan. An elevated commuter train that is running 90 seconds behind schedule derails while going around a curve and crashes into an adjacent apartment building; at least 107 passengers are killed.July 13, Near Ghotki, Pak. In the predawn hours at the Sarhad train station, a Karachi Express train slams into a Quetta Express train sitting idle in the station while engine repairs are being made, and then a Tezgam Express train hits the derailed cars; at least 123 people are killed, including the engineer of the Karachi Express.October 3, Near Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, India. The Bendelkhand Express fails to stop and crashes into a signal cabin at the Datia station at a high speed; at least 16 people perish.October 29, Veligonda, Andhra Pradesh, India. A train hits a section of track that had been washed away by flooding and derails, falling into a river; at least 114 passengers lose their lives.November 28, Maniema province, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Some 60 people traveling on the tops of train cars are killed when the train, traveling from Lubumbashi to Kindu, goes over a bridge and the bridge's support beams knock them off the cars and into the river below.TrafficJanuary 3, Qinghai province, China. A truck carrying Tibetan passengers from a pilgrimage to Lhasa in the autonomous region of Tibet overturns, killing at least 54 of the pilgrims.January 3, Paulomajra, Punjab state, India. A private minibus carrying girls to work at a factory in Ludhiana collides head-on with another private minibus traveling in the opposite direction; 14 girls and a bus driver are killed.January 4, Near Bujumbura, Burundi. An overloaded bus crashes on a hillside road, killing at least 25 people, including at least 6 bicyclists.January 10, Bijapur district, Karnataka state, India. A bus driver loses control of his vehicle, and it falls into a canal; 57 passengers are killed.January 11, Southwestern Nigeria. A speeding passenger bus veers into oncoming traffic and collides head-on with another bus, and a third bus plows into the wreckage; at least 21 people are killed.January 15, Near Sabana de Torres, Colom. A passenger bus attempting to pass another vehicle on a curve late at night crashes into a truck stopped at the side of the road because of a mechanical failure; at least 27 people die.January 19, Lagos, Nigeria. Two buses collide and are then hit by a fuel tanker truck; at least 30 commuters are burned to death.February 3, Maharashtra state, India. A trailer carrying wedding guests that is being pulled across an unmarked railroad crossing by a tractor is hit by a train; 55 of the passengers on the trailer are killed.February 8, Lubango, Angola. The brakes on a truck fail, and it plows into a crowd of people celebrating Carnival; at least 20 people are killed.March 18, Punjab state, India. Floodwaters wash a tractor trailer from the road, killing 41 pilgrims in the trailer who were returning from a visit to a shrine.March 29, Eastern China. A tire on a tanker truck carrying liquid chlorine blows out, causing the tanker to collide with a truck and overturn; chlorine fumes kill at least 27 people, and close to 300 are hospitalized.April 10, Kawambwa, Zambia. A truck carrying students home from a high school at the end of term overturns on a curve, leaving at least 44 students dead.April 21, Kon Tum province, Vietnam. A bus carrying veterans of the Vietnam War, traveling from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City along the highway built on the old Ho Chi Minh Trail to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the end of the war, goes off a mountain road and falls to the valley below; 30 veterans and the bus driver are killed.April 23, Khurd, Madhya Pradesh state, India. A truck carrying Hindu pilgrims to a religious meeting goes off the road and falls into a ditch, killing 23 of the passengers and injuring 38; police believe the driver fell asleep.April 27, Near Polgahawela, Sri Lanka. The driver of a bus ignores closed gates at a railroad crossing, and the bus is hit by a passenger train; at least 35 of the bus's passengers are killed.May 7, Near Pampa, Peru. A bus goes off the road and falls some 300 m (1,000 ft) into a ravine; at least 40 passengers are killed.May 11, Northern Philippines. The brakes on a passenger bus traveling from the resort town of Baguio to Dagupan City fail on a mountain road, and the bus crashes into a retaining wall, killing at least 27 people.May 17, Near Rudraprayag, Uttaranchal state, India. A bus carrying the bridegroom's party to a wedding in Chamoli falls into a gorge; at least 36 of the passengers die.May 21, Near Jauja, Peru. A bus goes through a guardrail and falls from a bridge; at least 35 people lose their lives.June 26, El Salvador. Floodwaters wash away a bus, killing 21 people aboard.July 9, Uttaranchal state, India. A bus traveling from Srinagar leaves the road and falls into a river gorge near Rishikesh; at least 24 passengers die.July 11, Eritrea. An overcrowded bus traveling between Adi Quala and Maimene goes off the road and falls down a mountainside, killing at least 56 people in the worst traffic accident in Eritrea's history.July 21, Near Kallar Kehar, Pak. A bus falls into a gorge, killing at least 20 passengers; investigators suspect brake failure.July 24, Near Kano, Nigeria. A bus falls off a bridge into a river, and 56 passengers perish; it is thought that the driver fell asleep.August 20, Zabul province, Afg. Two passenger buses collide on a highway between Kandahar and Kabul; at least 20 passengers are killed.September 1, Limpopo province, S.Af. When a driver leaves an overloaded minibus taxi to relieve himself, the vehicle rolls off the highway and over a cliff; 19 of the 26 passengers are killed.September 23, Near Dallas. A bus evacuating residents of a Houston-area assisted-living centre and nursing home from the threat of Hurricane Rita explodes when sparks ignite oxygen canisters carried by the passengers; 24 die in the conflagration.September 29, Near Tattapani, Jammu and Kashmir, India. A bus traveling from Srinagar to Sasgaldan goes out of control and falls down a mountain road; at least 40 passengers perish.October 1, Western Tajikistan. A bus that is running on liquefied gas collides with another bus and explodes, killing all 21 passengers.October 15, Northern Bangladesh. A bus carrying more than 50 passengers crashes into the Gangnai River; no one is rescued.November 16, Near Los Mochis, Sinaloa state, Mex. The brakes on a truck carrying ammonia gas fail, and the truck hits a passenger bus, which falls upside-down into a ravine; 38 people are killed, some because of the poison gas.November 25, Tamil Nadu state, India. A bus traveling from Tiruchchirappalli to Rameswaram attempts to cross a bridge against police orders and is swept from the bridge by flash floods, killing at least 27 passengers; hours later, near Pattukkottai, another bus loses control on a bridge and falls into a rain-swollen river, killing at least 50.November 30, Western Nepal. A passenger bus carrying Hindu pilgrims to Swargadwari Temple plunges into a ravine; as many as 35 are reported killed.MiscellaneousJanuary 25, Near Wai, Maharashtra state, India. As hundreds of thousands of pilgrims, mostly women, approach the hilltop Mandhar Devi temple, some begin slipping on coconut oil from devotional offerings, and this leads to a panic; angry relatives of victims begin setting fires, worsening the stampede, and a total of 257 pilgrims are killed.February 6, Todolella, Spain. Butane gas leaking from a heating cylinder kills 18 people who were attending a weekend party at a 15th-century guesthouse.March 9, Mabini, Phil. At least 27 schoolchildren die after eating cassava roots served at an elementary school; it is initially believed that the roots were undercooked and therefore poisonous, but later testing suggests that the children were poisoned by pesticides on the roots.March 20, The Sudan. The government reports that 21 people have died and another 6 gone blind after drinking illegally produced alcohol.April 7, Madhya Pradesh state, India. A dam on the Narmada River, the second holiest river in India, releases a barrage of water that inundates some 300,000 Hindu pilgrims who were observing an annual ritual of bathing in the river, and at least 62 of them drown; officials say it was a routine release of water by workers unaware of the religious gathering downstream.April 10, Savar, Bangladesh. A nine-story garment factory collapses, leaving at least 73 people dead.June 7, Alexandria, Egypt. A six-story building collapses, killing at least 16 people; it is believed that the top three floors had been built illegally.June 25, Machakos district, Kenya. After drinking homebrew made with methanol at a drinks stall, at least 51 people die and several are made blind.July 21, Yunnan province, China. A dam collapse sends a torrent of water into the town of Xiaocaoba, drowning 15 people.August 31, Baghdad. As Shiʿite pilgrims cross a bridge to a shrine, someone panics the crowd by shouting that there is a suicide bomber on the bridge, and at least 950 pilgrims perish in the ensuing stampede.October 20, Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, India. Village politicians attempting to curry favour with voters distribute free food and alcohol; after 19 villagers die, the alcohol is found to be laced with insecticides.October 20, Mt. Kanguru, Nepal. A team of 7 French climbers with 11 Nepalese guides attempting to climb the 7,000-m (22,900-ft) mountain are killed by an avalanche.December 18, Madras, Tamil Nadu, India. A crowd of flood victims waiting for food vouchers at a relief centre stampede; at least 42 people perish.▪ 2005IntroductionListed here are major disasters that occurred in 2004. The list includes NATURAL and nonmilitary MECHANICAL disasters that claimed more than 15 lives and/or resulted in significant damage to PROPERTY.AviationJanuary 3, Red Sea, off the coast of Raʾs Nasrani (Sharm el-Sheikh), Egypt. An Egyptian charter plane, a Boeing 737 carrying mostly French tourists from a popular resort in Egypt to Paris, crashes in the ocean; all 148 on board are killed.January 13, Tashkent, Uzbekistan. A domestic airliner crashes in heavy fog on its approach; it is feared that all 37 aboard, including the top UN official for the country, have been killed.February 10, al-Shariqah, U.A.E. An Iranian passenger plane crashes on its approach to the airport; 44 of the 46 passengers are killed.May 14, Near Manaus, Braz. A turboprop domestic airliner crashes in thick jungle after suspending landing procedures to allow a plane transporting people to a hospital to precede it; all 33 aboard are lost.June 8, Off Libreville, Gabon. A small commercial airplane crashes into the sea shortly after taking off; 19 people are killed, and 11 survive.June 29, Near Yengema, Sierra Leone. A helicopter carrying UN peacekeepers on a routine trip crashes into a hillside, killing all 24 on board; the cause is under investigation.August 5, Western Siberia, Russia. An Mi-8 helicopter carrying workers surveying for forest fires crashes, reportedly after developing engine trouble; all 15 aboard are killed.August 21, Northern Venezuela. A military plane carrying civilians as well as military personnel from a base on Orchila Island to Maracay crashes into a mountainside; all 25 aboard are killed.November 21, Baotou, Inner Mongolia, China. A China Eastern Airlines commuter plane bursts into flames shortly after takeoff and falls into a frozen lake; all 53 people aboard and 2 on the ground are killed.November 30, Solo, Indon. A Lion Air MD-82 passenger plane skids off a runway and breaks in two after landing in heavy rain, and at least 25 of the 146 aboard are killed.December 10, Near El Junquito, Venez. An airplane belonging to the National Guard and bound for an air base in Caracas crashes into a mountain, killing all 16 personnel, some of them high-ranking officers.Fires and ExplosionsJanuary 19, Skikda, Alg. An explosion at a liquefied natural gas plant kills 30 and injures 74; this is the worst disaster in three decades in what had been an extremely safe industry.January 23, Srirangam, Tamil Nadu, India. A fire, probably caused by an electrical short circuit, breaks out at a thatched-roof wedding pavilion, killing at least 45 people, including the groom, and injuring about 50, including the bride.February 6, Moscow. An explosion on a subway train causes an intense fire, with smoke filling the tunnel; at least 22 people die.February 15, China. In Jilin a fire breaks out in a four-story mall that contains shops, a dance hall, and public baths, and at least 53 people die; another fire in a temple in the city of Haining kills 39.February 26, Chita, Siberia, Russia. An explosion evidently caused by a gas leak takes place in a small cafe, killing at least 17 people and injuring an equal number.March 16, Arkhangelsk, Russia. An explosion, possibly caused by vandals removing fittings from gas valves, destroys an apartment building, killing 58 people, many of them buried in the rubble.May 2, Azizabad, Afg. A welding accident leads to the explosion of a fuel tank on a truck, which causes another fuel truck to explode in a bazaar; at least 45 people lose their lives, and 28 are wounded.May 17, San Pedro Sula, Honduras. A late-night fire, caused by a short circuit, possibly in an air conditioner, breaks out at an extremely overcrowded prison, leaving more than 100 inmates dead.June 10, Pingxiang, Jiangxi province, China. An explosion in a fireworks factory leaves an 80-sq-m (860-sq-ft) crater; 16 women working in the factory die.July 16, Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu, India. A fire destroys the Lord Krishna School, killing at least 90 children; the private school had a thatched roof and lacked fire escapes.July 30, Ath, Belg. In Belgium's worst industrial disaster since 1967, a gas pipeline in an industrial park explodes, engulfing two factories, killing at least 18 people, and injuring more than 100; some of the dead are firefighters who were summoned to the scene by construction workers who said they had accidentally pierced the gas line.August 1, Asunción, Paraguay. An intense fire, possibly triggered by a gas leak, breaks out in a supermarket, and at least 464 people are incinerated; it appears that after the fire broke out, emergency exits were locked to prevent theft.September 16, Near Lagos, Nigeria. People attempting to steal oil from a state-owned pipeline cause an explosion and fire that kill some 50 people.November 9, Kyzyl, Tuva republic, Russia. A fire in a hostel kills at least 25 people; it is thought that it may have been caused by an illegal attempt at a power connection in the bitter cold, as the power had been cut off because of nonpayment.December 21, Sanki-Ilado, Nigeria. As thieves who damaged an oil pipeline to steal from it run from police, the pipeline explodes, and more than 20 people are killed.December 26, Mulhouse, France. A gas leak leads to an explosion that destroys a five-story apartment building; 17 of the residents are killed, and 15 are injured.December 30, Buenos Aires, Arg. In an overcrowded nightclub, its emergency exits reportedly locked to bar people from sneaking in, an audience member sets off a flare, igniting the ceiling; in the ensuing inferno at least 188 people die, and more than 700 are injured.MarineJanuary 9, Adriatic Sea. A high-speed inflatable boat carrying people attempting to emigrate illegally from Albania to Italy founders in a storm; 21 people die, many of exposure, and 11 are rescued.January 16, Off the Canary Islands. A boat carrying migrants from Morocco capsizes, and at least 16 of the passengers drown.January 19, North Sea, off Bjoroey Island, Norway. A freighter capsizes in shallow water only about 200 m (218 yd) from shore; 18 crew members perish.January 24, Caribbean Sea. A boat carrying would-be migrants from the Dominican Republic to Puerto Rico capsizes; 20 of the passengers are missing, and 3 are rescued.January 31, Democratic Republic of the Congo. A ferry traveling the Congo River from Lukolela to Mbandaka catches fire and is quickly engulfed in flames; some 200 of the approximately 500 passengers are feared dead.February 1, Lake Albert, Democratic Republic of the Congo. An overloaded boat capsizes, and it is feared that at least 45 people have perished.February 13, The Bosporus, Turkey. In the worst of several maritime accidents occasioned by an unusual and severe blizzard, a coal freighter sinks in the Black Sea just outside the strait; all 21 crew members are lost.February 28, Off the coast of Chincoteague Island, Virginia. A Norwegian tanker carrying industrial ethanol suffers an explosion and sinks, leaving 3 people dead and 18 missing.March 7, Off the coast of Madagascar. A ferry at sea in a cyclone sinks, drowning 111 of 113 aboard; the total death toll from the cyclone jumps to 154.March 18, Maldives. A ferry traveling between islands capsizes; though 99 people are rescued, at least 18 people drown, and more than 50 are declared missing.March 18, Indonesia. A ferry, many of the passengers of which were traveling to attend a wedding, founders as it travels between the remote islands of Salibabu and Kabaruang; at least 23 people are lost.Late March, Arabian Sea. A boat attempting to reach Yemen from Somalia capsizes; the crew survives, but the passengers, believed to be some 100 Somalis, are said to be lost.April 15, Lake Tanganyika. An overcrowded ferry sinks in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; at least 43 people are reported dead, and 10 are missing.April 15, Off the coast of Malta. A boat believed to be carrying some 100 migrants goes down in rough seas; none are believed to have survived.April 30, Off the coast of Ca Mau, Vietnam. A fishing boat carrying students on a holiday tour capsizes, leaving at least 39 of the 150 aboard dead.May 23, Meghna River, Bangladesh. A double-decker ferry, the MV Lighting Sun, sinks during a storm; 74 of the passengers drown, and a slightly larger number are rescued or swim to shore; a number of other boats sink during the same storm.July 15, India. A boat capsizes in a river running high from monsoon rains, drowning at least 25 people.August 7, Mediterranean Sea. A container ship rescues more than 70 would-be migrants from a drifting boat from North Africa trying to reach Sicily; some 28 of the refugees had died during the previous nine days.August 10, Off the coast of Nagua, Dom.Rep. Fisherman find some 33 of the approximately 80 people who left the country in a boat headed for Puerto Rico; the others died during two weeks adrift at sea after the boat's motor failed.October 4, Off the coast of Tunisia. A boat carrying illegal immigrants from Morocco and Tunisia splits in two and sinks off the coast of Tunisia shortly after departure in an attempt to reach Italy; at least 22 are drowned, and another 42 are missing.October 10, Lake Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo. In separate incidents two large overloaded canoes bound for Goma overturn in windy weather; at least 41 on one canoe and at least 27 on the second canoe lose their lives, and at least 50 people are missing.November 17, Off the coast of the Dominican Republic. A boat attempting to carry refugees from the Dominican Republic to Puerto Rico capsizes; at least 8 people die, and 15 are missing.November 30, Near Zakhu, Iraq. A large flat-bottomed boat crowded with Kurdish migrant workers trying to reach Turkey overturns in the Tigris River, and at least 40 passengers drown.Mining and ConstructionFebruary 2, Konya, Turkey. An 11-story apartment building collapses, killing 89 people; poor construction is blamed for the catastrophe.February 9, Shanxi province, China. Explosions set to seal off an abandoned coal mine kill 29 workers.February 11, Liupanshui, Guizhou province, China. A gas explosion in a coal mine kills 24 miners; 15 others escape.February 20, Jamadoa, Jharkhand state, India. Water seeping into a coal mine from a nearby stream floods the mine, trapping 50 miners.February 23, Jixi, Heilongjiang province, China. At least 24 workers are killed in a coal mine explosion, with 13 more trapped underground.April 10, Osinniki, Kemerovo oblast, Russia. A methane explosion in a coal mine kills 47 miners in Russia's worst mining accident since 1997.June 14, Santa Cruz province, Arg. A fire in Argentina's only coal mine, near the border with Chile, leaves seven miners dead and seven missing.July 19, Ukraine. An explosion at the Krasnolimanskaya coal mine leaves at least 31 workers dead and 5 missing.August 2, Tehri, Uttaranchal state, India. A tunnel being built as part of a controversial hydroelectric dam project caves in, most likely because of floods; 29 of the workers in the tunnel are killed.October 20, Xinmi, Henan province, China. A gas explosion in the Daping coal mine kills 148 of the more than 400 miners working there at the time.November 11, Liangwa, Henan province, China. The Xinsheng coal mine suffers an explosion that results in the death of 29 workers.November 20, Shahe, Hebei province, China. An electrical cable starts a fire in an iron ore mine that leaves at least 61 people dead.November 28, Shaanxi province, China. In one of China's worst coal-mining accidents in recent years, 166 miners perish in an explosion in the Chenjishan coal mine.December 5, Near Karaganda, Kazakhstan. An explosion in the Shakhtinskaya coal mine kills 23 miners.December 9, Near Yangquan, Shanxi province, China. A gas explosion at the Dazian Sanking coal mine kills 28 miners and 5 rescuers.NaturalJanuary 2, Northern India. Officials in India report that a cold snap in the past two weeks has killed more than 200 people, most of them elderly or homeless.February 6, Papua, Indon. An earthquake measuring 6.9 in magnitude kills at least 23 people and injures hundreds of others; another, stronger quake the next day raises the death toll to 31.February 14, Moscow. The glass roof of an indoor water park collapses under the weight of snow, killing at least 26 people and injuring well over 100.February 14, Northern Pakistan. Two earthquakes leave some 24 people dead.February 24, Northern Morocco. A magnitude-6.5 earthquake with its epicentre 160 km (100 mi) off Morocco in the Mediterranean Sea collapses buildings and kills at least 628 people.March 7, Madagascar. Cyclone Gafilo leaves hundreds of thousands of people homeless and a death toll in the vicinity of 200, with another 160 unaccounted for.March 14, Near Almaty, Kazakhstan. A landslide in a village destroys an apartment building and leaves at least 28 people dead.March 26, Sulawesi Selatan, Indon. Landslides cause some 5,000 people to flee; 2 people are killed, and 31 are missing and presumed dead.April 5, Piedras Negras, Mex. Heavy rains cause the Escondido River to overflow, which leads to flash floods that leave at least 34 people dead and 70 missing.Mid-April, East Africa. Flooding caused by torrential rains leaves at least 16 people dead in Kenya and drowns at least 30 people in Djibouti.April 14, Northern Bangladesh. Tornadoes destroy thousands of flimsily built homes and leave at least 66 people dead.April 23, Sumatra, Indon. A mud slide engulfs a bus, smothering at least 37 people and injuring another 14.April 25, Budalyk, Kyrgyzstan. Landslides destroy several homes and leave at least 33 people dead.Early May, Northern Bangladesh. A prolonged heat wave leads to the death of at least 17 people.May 19, Catanduanes province, Phil. A typhoon destroys several villages and leaves 19 people dead.May 24, Haiti and Dominican Republic. Catastrophic flooding and mud slides caused by heavy rains coupled with deforestation bring a death toll of at least 1,950, with several hundred people missing.May 28, Northern and central Iran. A magnitude-6.2 earthquake causes serious damage in some 80 villages and kills at least 35 people.June 26, Cerro Musun, Nic. Mud slides caused by heavy rains take a heavy toll on villages around the mountain, leaving at least 16 people dead and 24 missing.June 29, Philippines. Typhoon Mindulle makes landfall on Luzon, leaving 31 people dead, before proceeding to Taiwan, where on July 1 it kills another 15 people.July 2, Agri province, Turkey. An earthquake collapses village houses, leaving 18 people dead.July 5, Taiwan. The worst flooding in a quarter century kills at least 21 people, with a further 14 missing.July 5, India. A landslide sweeps away a section of highway in the Himalayas, taking with it a busload of pilgrims on their way to the shrine at Badrinath; 18 people die, and 2,500 are left stranded.Early July, China. Heavy rains lead to flooding and landslides in the southern and central regions of the country; nearly 400 people die as a result.Late July, Peru. Officials declare a state of emergency as unusually cold weather in the Andes Mountains leaves at least 46 children dead and takes a heavy toll on livestock.June–August, South Asia. An unusually bad monsoon season leaves 1,972 people dead in the region from drowning, landslides, electrocution, and waterborne diseases; the hardest-hit country is Bangladesh.August 12, Zhejiang province, China. Typhoon Rananim makes landfall and proceeds inland, leaving a path of destruction and killing at least 164 people; it is the most powerful typhoon to hit China in seven years.August 12, Adamawa state, Nigeria. Flash floods caused by days of heavy rain drown at least 23 people as they sleep.August 13, Southwestern Florida. Hurricane Charley roars into Charlotte Harbor and across the state, devastating Punta Gorda and Port Charlotte and leaving 27 people dead.August 24, Taiwan. Typhoon Aere hits the northern part of the island, leaving at least 24 people dead; it goes on to claim five lives in the Philippines.September 7–17, Caribbean. Hurricane Ivan devastates Grenada, killing 39 people and destroying its two main crops, then kills at least 18 in Jamaica, and finally strengthens to hit the Gulf Coast of the U.S., leaving some 52 people dead in several states.September 8, Southwestern China. Catastrophic flooding after a week of torrential storms leaves at least 177 people dead; by mid-month, at the end of the three-month rainy season, the official death toll is 1,029.September 18, Haiti. Tropical Storm Jeanne makes landfall in the area of Gonaïves, already devastated by flooding in May; the death toll from the resultant flooding is more than 3,000.September 21, Uttar Pradesh state, India. After heavy rains fall for more than 24 hours, flash flooding sweeps away homes, leading to the death of at least 44 people.October 9, Assam state, India. After a week of heavy rains, flash flooding sweeps down hills, inundating dozens of villages and leaving more than 100 dead; flooding has also killed at least 44 people in Bangladesh and Nepal.October 20, Japan. Typhoon Tokage, an unusually large storm—and the 10th to hit the country in 2004, a record—causes the death of at least 83 people.October 23, Niigata prefecture, Japan. A series of earthquakes, the strongest measured at magnitude 6.8, kill at least 37 people; thousands are injured.November 12, Alor, Indon. A magnitude-6.0 earthquake kills at least 21 people and leaves some 8,000 homeless.November 29, Philippines. Typhoon Winnie brings flooding and landslides, with a death toll of at least 412.December 2, Philippines. Rescue efforts addressing the effects of Typhoon Winnie have hardly begun when the country is hit by the even stronger Typhoon Nanmadol; more than 1,000 people are dead or missing.December 2, Guizhou province, China. A mountain landslide destroys dozens of houses, killing 32 people.December 26, Indian Ocean. A magnitude-9.0 underwater earthquake off Sumatra triggers a tremendous tsunami. (See Sidebar (Deadliest Tsunami ).)RailroadFebruary 18, Neyshabur, Iran. A freight train carrying gasoline, fertilizer, and sulfur products somehow begins moving on its own, picks up speed going downhill, and derails, eventually causing an explosion that kills at least 195 people.February 27, West Bengal, India. An express train crashes into a truck at an unmanned rail crossing; the 30 dead are passengers on the truck traveling to a wedding.March 22, Republic of the Congo. A car decouples from a train bound from Pointe-Noire to Brazzaville and falls into a ravine, killing some 30 people, mostly stowaways.April 22, Ryongchon, N.Kor. Two freight trains, one reportedly carrying gasoline and the other liquefied petroleum gas, collide; the resultant explosion kills some 160 people and destroys more than 8,000 homes.June 16, India. After monsoon rains leave boulders on the train tracks, a train bound for Mumbai (Bombay) strikes the rocks and derails, killing at least 20 people and injuring 100.July 22, Near Pamukova, Turkey. A train running from Istanbul to Ankara derails, killing 37 people; although the high-speed service had only recently been inaugurated, the trains ran on old tracks.August 11, Turkey. Two passenger trains crash head-on after one of them runs through a stop signal some 30 km (50 mi) east of Istanbul; at least 27 people are killed.December 14, Punjab state, India. An express train and a local train crash head-on, killing at least 31 people and injuring 50.TrafficJanuary 7, Near Aligarh, India. A bus takes a wrong turn in dense fog and drives into a canal; 20 people lose their lives.January 8, Near Bhakkar, Pak. An overcrowded bus suffers a broken front axle and falls into a canal, causing the death of at least 56 passengers.February 22, Near Fortaleza, Braz. A bus leaves the road and enters the waters impounded by Cipo dam; at least 40 people are believed to have drowned.February 27, Uttaranchal state, India. A bus plunges into a gorge, leaving at least 23 people, including the driver, dead.March 19, Finland. On an icy road a bus collides with a tractor-trailer, and 25 people, many of them teenagers, are killed, mostly crushed by huge rolls of paper from the truck's cargo.March 26, Near Addis Ababa, Eth. An overcrowded bus falls into a gorge, killing 37 passengers.April 2, Jammu and Kashmir state, India. An overcrowded bus falls into a ravine, killing 34 passengers and injuring 35.April 4, Serbia and Montenegro. A bus carrying Bulgarian students to a resort on the Adriatic coast falls off a mountain road into a river after blowing a tire; nine students are killed, and three are missing.April 5, Guizhou province, China. Two minibuses collide and fall into a valley; 27 passengers die, and 4 are injured.April 5, Near Gonabad, Iran. A truck collides with a passenger bus, killing at least 30 people.April 29, Bogotá, Colom. A backhoe falls down a hillside onto a highway, crushing a school bus and killing at least 21 children and 2 adults.May 22, Near Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh, India. The driver of a bus carrying 70 passengers loses control; the bus goes off the road into a deep gorge, killing at least 40 people.May 24, Mihailesti, Rom. An overturned truck carrying ammonia explodes as firefighters are working to extinguish the fire after the traffic accident; eight firefighters, two journalists, the truck driver, and eight people in cars nearby are killed.June 7, Bihar state, India. A bus carrying a wedding party skids into the river while crossing a low bridge over the rain-swollen Baghmati River; at least 19 people are drowned.June 7, Near Abbotabad, Pak. A passenger truck loses control at a sharp bend in the road and falls into a ravine, causing the death of at least 38 people.June 16, Near Islamabad, Pak. A tractor-trailer rear-ends a crowded bus on a bridge, knocking it into a dry riverbed and leaving more than 40 people dead.June 16, Near Xinyu, Jiangxi province, China. A bus carrying pilgrims on their way to a temple swerves to avoid another vehicle and slides into a lake, killing 21 people.June 17, Near Chongqing, China. A truck carrying electrical workers slams into a roadside rail, killing 16 of the approximately 30 workers.June 21, Central Bolivia. A bus carrying tin miners goes over a cliff, killing at least 38 people.June 24, Southeastern Iran. A fuel truck plows into six buses at a roadblock, exploding and engulfing another fuel truck in the fire; at least 90 people die in the conflagration.July 19, West Bengal state, India. The driver of a bus loses control, and the bus falls into a canal; at least 37 people are killed.August 14, Near Carolina, El Salvador. A bus carrying members of a church group through a mountainous region goes into a ravine; at least 35 of the passengers are killed.August 18, Southeastern Iran. A collision between a truck and a bus leaves at least 15 people dead.September 4, Chongqing, China. A bus is swept off a bridge and is carried away by a flooding river; it is feared that some 30 passengers have drowned.September 13, Near Kusma, Nepal. A bus carrying at least 50 people, some of them tourists, falls into a river; at least 16 people die.September 16, Chittagong, Bangladesh. A bus carrying a party returning from a wedding collides with a truck; at least 22 people are killed, and 30 are critically injured.October 9, Near Memphis, Tenn. A tour bus traveling from Chicago to Mississippi goes off the road and overturns; 15 of the 31 people aboard are killed, and the rest are injured.October 14, Near Fushe Arrez, Alb. A bus carrying teenagers home to Kosovo in Serbia and Montenegro after a school trip collides with a car and is knocked off a bridge; at least 15 of the students and the driver of the car are killed.November 7, Near Minya, Egypt. A bus carrying Egyptian pilgrims back from Mecca, Saudi Arabia, collides with a truck attempting to pass a car; there are 33 fatalities.November 11, Near Maurilandia, Braz. The driver of a truck carrying cooking-gas canisters veers into oncoming traffic, causing a head-on collision with a bus carrying 20 workers, of whom 19 are killed.December 19, Peru. A passenger bus goes off a bridge in heavy rain; 49 passengers are killed.December 25, Near Jhelum, Pak. A passenger bus goes off the road and falls into a ravine; 18 people are killed and 39 injured.December 27, Colombia. Two buses carrying holiday revelers collide, leaving at least 17 dead.MiscellaneousJanuary 3, Gonder region, Eth. It is learned that a week earlier the roof of an 800-year-old stone church collapsed, killing at least 15 people; because of the remote location, the news took a week to reach the outside.February 1, Mina, Saudi Arabia. At least 251 people are trampled to death in a stampede during the ritual stoning of the devil during the hajj; this is by far the highest death toll at the event since 1997.February 5, China. During the Lantern Festival 37 people are crushed to death near a footbridge in a park in a suburb of Beijing when an accidental fall sets off a chain reaction.February 5, Morecambe Bay, England. Twenty illegal Chinese immigrants drown in the incoming tide while harvesting cockles; it is believed they were being exploited by a human trafficking gang.April 12, Lucknow, India. At a public birthday party that was to conclude with the distribution of free saris, 22 women are trampled to death in a stampede for the saris.Late April–early June, Eastern Kenya. Over a period of six weeks, some 80 people die of food poisoning from eating food made from corn (maize) that had become contaminated with aflatoxin, a mold.May 5, Zhengzhou, Henan province, China. Storage shelves packed with tons of garlic collapse, burying some 34 workers, at least 15 of whom succumb.Mid-May–early June, Hyderabad, Pak. About three weeks after polluted water from a lake discharged into the Indus River, some 30 people have died from drinking the contaminated water.May 27, Hubei province, China. A cofferdam collapses on the Dalongtan reservoir, causing flooding that sweeps away a minibus and drowns 12 children, their teacher, their driver, and 4 underwater construction workers.Mid-June, Shiraz, Iran. It is reported that over the past week at least 17 people have died, and 20 more are in critical condition, from having drunk a toxic home-brewed alcoholic beverage that possibly contained methanol.December 28, Mumbai (Bombay). Indian authorities report that illegal liquor sold in a suburb the previous weekend has killed at least 37 people, with nearly 100 still hospitalized and victims still appearing.▪ 2004IntroductionListed here are major disasters that occurred in 2003. The list includes natural and nonmilitary mechanical disasters that claimed 15 or more lives and/or resulted in significant damage to property.AviationJanuary 8, Diyarbakir, Turkey. A Turkish Airlines plane crashes while attempting to land in heavy fog at the city airport; 5 people survive, but 75 are killed.January 8, Charlotte, N.C. A commuter plane, a Beechcraft 1900 twin-engine turboprop operated by US Airways Express, crashes into a hangar on takeoff, killing 21 passengers and crew members; the cause of the crash is believed to be excessive weight, and the Federal Aviation Administration responds in May by changing the rules on estimation of weight for such flights.January 9, Near Chachapoyas, Peru. A TANS Perú Fokker F-28 crashes in the jungle in the Andes Mountains, killing all 46 people aboard; the wreckage of the plane is not found until January 11.February 19, Near Shahdad, Iran. An Ilyushin airliner transporting Revolutionary Guards from Zahedan to Kerman crashes, killing all 302 aboard, in the worst air disaster ever to occur in Iran.February 20, Near Kohat, Pak. Minutes before it is due to land, a Fokker-27 aircraft carrying the head of Pakistan's air force, Mushaf Ali Mir, and 16 others crashes into the low hills outside the town; all aboard perish.February 26, Northern Colombia. A helicopter belonging to the Colombian army crashes as it searches for guerrillas in the mountains; the 23 troops on board are killed.March 6, Near Tamanrasset, Alg. In what is believed to be the first accident in the history of Algeria's national airline, Air Algérie flight 6289 crashes in the Sahara shortly after takeoff, killing 102 of the 103 aboard.May 8, Democratic Republic of the Congo. On an Ilyushin-76 cargo plane crammed with passengers flying from Kinshasa to Lubumbashi, a door opens and dozens of people fall out to their death; the death toll is later estimated to be about 160.May 26, Macka, near Trabzon, Turkey. An airplane carrying 62 Spanish peacekeepers home from a four-month tour of duty in Afghanistan crashes into a mountain while attempting to land for refueling in bad weather; all 75 aboard are killed.June 30, Blida, Alg. A Hercules C-130 military transport plane crashes into a row of houses shortly after takeoff; at least 17 people are killed and a further 20 injured.July 8, Port Sudan, Sudan. A Sudan Airways Boeing 737 crashes shortly after takeoff; 116 people are killed, and one toddler survives.August 11, Arabian Sea, near Mumbai (Bombay), India. A Russian-made helicopter ferrying employees of the Oil and Natural Gas Corp., India's biggest oil company, from an offshore rig crashes into the sea; only 2 of the 29 passengers and crew survive.August 20, Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia. An Mi-8 helicopter carrying government officials crashes on a mountainside, and the wreckage is found three days later; the governor of Sakhalin oblast is among the 20 killed in the incident.August 22, Alcântara, Braz. A VLS-3 launcher rocket that the Brazilian Space Agency is testing explodes at a military launch site just three days before its planned launch, killing 21 engineers and technicians.August 24, Near Cap-Haïtien, Haiti. A twin-engine turboprop Tropical Airways airplane crashes into a sugarcane field, killing all 21 people aboard; reports suggest an improperly closed door may have been the cause.November 29, Boende, Democratic Republic of the Congo. An Antonov-26 airplane crashes shortly after takeoff; all 22 passengers and the crew are killed.December 25, Cotonou, Benin. A Boeing 727 chartered by Union des Transports Africains and carrying mostly Lebanese expatriates slides off the runway while attempting to take off, crashing into a building and ending in the sea; at least 135 people are killed in the accident, which is the worst in the histories of both Lebanon and Benin.Fires and ExplosionsJanuary 31, Kandahar, Afg. An antitank mine blows up a minibus crossing a bridge, killing at least 16 Afghanis, including several women and children.February 2, Lagos, Nigeria. An explosion destroys a bank and the apartment complex above it in the commercial centre, killing at least 40 people and setting off fighting and looting; authorities believe the disaster to be the result of an accident.February 2, Harbin, China. A fire breaks out at a hotel during celebrations of the Chinese New Year, leaving 33 people dead.February 4, Sialkot, Pak. Shipping containers packed with fireworks explode at a depot next to a school, killing at least 17 people; the containers had been labeled as holding plastic toys.February 7, Bogotá, Colom. A bomb goes off in a fashionable nightclub; at least 32 people are killed in the blast and the ensuing fire.February 18, Taegu, S.Kor. A man attempting to set himself on fire with paint thinner on a rush-hour subway train ignites both the train on which he is riding and a second train that pulls in next to the burning train and briefly opens its doors; most of the estimated 198 people who die are on the second train.February 20, West Warwick, R.I. Pyrotechnics used by the hard-rock band Great White ignite soundproofing foam on the stage of the Station, a nightclub, and the club goes up in flames; some 100 people, including a musician in the band, perish.April 5, Shandong province, China. A fire breaks out during the night shift at a food-processing plant; at least 21 of the 500 employees die, and the building collapses.April 7, Sydybal, Yakutia, Russia. Fire breaks out in the cloakroom of a wooden schoolhouse, blocking the only exit; 22 children die.April 10, Makhachkala, Dagestan, Russia. A school for deaf boys goes up in flames, killing at least 28 sleeping students and injuring more than 100; teachers had to wake the children, as they were unable to hear the alarms.May 2, Bac Ninh, Vietnam. An explosion on a bus as it is stopping at a market to pick up passengers kills at least 19 people and seriously injures a further 19; it is believed that explosives being carried on the bus were ignited.May 15, Mecca, Saudi Arabia. A fire breaks out in a building housing 270 pilgrims making the hajj; at least 14 people die of smoke inhalation, and 43 are injured.May 15, Ludhiana, Punjab state, India. Fire sweeps through three cars of a train traveling from Mumbai (Bombay) to Amritsar that had pulled out of the station just minutes previously; the fire, which began in a restroom, leaves some 39 people dead and 20 injured.June 19, Onicha Amiyi-Uhu, Nigeria. As villagers steal oil from a vandalized pipeline, a spark from a motorcycle ignites the fuel, causing an explosion; some 105 people are killed.July 28, Wangkou, Hebei province, China. An enormous explosion destroys a fireworks factory, killing at least 29 people and injuring more than 100.August 3, Gayal, Pak. In the Pakistani-administered area of Kashmir, a fire at a contractor's house ignites a cache of dynamite being stored there; the subsequent series of explosions destroys nearly half the village and kills at least 47 people, many of whom had rushed to the house to fight the initial fire.August 3, Surat, Gujarat state, India. A cooking-gas cylinder explodes, causing the collapse of three buildings and killing at least 43 people.August 26, Shadi, Fujian province, China. A cache of fireworks that had been hidden in a private home to evade safety inspections explodes; at least 20 lives are lost.September 15, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. A fire breaks out at a large maximum-security prison; by the time it has been extinguished three hours later, 67 inmates have died.October 12, Randilovshchina, Belarus. A fire destroys a wing of a mental hospital, killing at least 30 patients, who were locked in the facility.Late October, Southern California. The worst wildfire outbreak in the state's history consumes some 300,000 ha (730,000 ac) and destroys thousands of houses; at least 20 people are killed.November 24, Moscow. A fire breaks out overnight at the Peoples' Friendship University in a five-story dormitory housing mostly Asian and African students; at least 36 people die.MarineJanuary 3, Indian Ocean, off Tanzania. A boat capsizes shortly after leaving port; some 40 passengers are drowned.January 5, Lake Victoria, Tanzania. A boat capsizes in strong winds; although 4 people are rescued, it is feared that more than 30 lives have been lost.March 1, Niger River, Nigeria. A boat carrying about 100 people strikes a rock and sinks; some 80 people are believed to have drowned.March 22, Lake Tanganyika, Democratic Republic of the Congo. A ferry traveling between the towns of Kalemie and Uvira sinks, drowning at least 111; 41 people are rescued.April 3, Narmada River, Gujarat state, India. A passenger ship carrying people to a religious ceremony where the river meets the Arabian Sea capsizes in strong winds; 16 bodies are recovered.April 4, Surma River, Bangladesh. A boat carrying seasonal quarry workers and their families collides with a cargo ship in the dark and sinks, killing more than 70 passengers, most of them women and children.April 12, Nakchinee River, Bangladesh. A ferry is caught in a storm and sinks, killing at least 16 people, with a further 100 unaccounted for.April 15, Cayo Arena, Dom.Rep. A boat carrying more than 150 Haitians capsizes near the northwest coast, with six passengers reported dead and dozens missing.April 19, Off Cabo Frio, Braz. A tourist schooner returning from a day trip to Parrot Island is swamped by a large wave shortly after resuming its journey following a break for passengers to swim and snorkel; it overturns, and at least 15 passengers die.April 21, Bangladesh. An overloaded ferry sinks in a storm in the Buriganga River, near Dhaka, killing at least 140 passengers; later another ferry, carrying a bridal party, also goes down in a storm, in the Meghna River in Kishoreganj district.April 26, Jammu and Kashmir, India. A boat carrying children capsizes while crossing a stream; 20 children are lost.May 2, Yellow Sea, China. China reports a “recent” submarine accident involving a diesel-powered submarine that killed all 70 aboard; the timing and nature of the accident are not disclosed.May 19, Quang Nam province, Vietnam. A ferry designed to carry 20 people but loaded with 40 passengers, most of them children returning home from school, founders in rough waters; 18 children perish.May 25, The Philippines. Two passenger ferries collide in rough waters off the coast of Corregidor and Limbones islands, and at least 28 people drown in the accident; 203 are rescued.June 16, Off Lampedusa, Italy. A boat loaded with illegal immigrants sinks, killing as many as 70 people.June 20, Off the coast of Tunisia. A boat carrying illegal immigrants that is believed to have started from Libya and been bound for Italy sinks; it is feared that up to 190 people may have drowned.July 8, Bangladesh. An overcrowded triple-deck ferry capsizes and sinks at the confluence of the Padma, Meghna, and Dakatia rivers; some 500 people are believed lost.August 5, Lake Albert, Uganda. Two boats laden with merchandise capsize near the Ruunga landing site; 20 people, including the owner of the boats, drown.August 11, Kishanganj, Bihar state, India. An overcrowded boat carrying 52 pilgrims to a temple in Nepal capsizes in the Kankai River, drowning at least 23 and possibly as many as 40, most of them women.Early October, Off Lampedusa, Italy. As many as 70 Somalis attempting to immigrate to Europe perish of thirst and hunger as their boat drifts helplessly for 10 days before being spotted by an Italian fishing boat; only about 15 are rescued by the Italian coast guard.October 7, Nagayalanka, Andhra Pradesh state, India. A boat capsizes on the Krishna River; 29 lives are lost.October 9, Near Numan, Nigeria. A ferry strikes a pillar supporting a bridge and sinks; more than 150 passengers are missing.October 12, China. Two cargo ships sink hours apart in heavy seas; a total of 44 crew members are missing and believed dead.October 15, New York City. A Staten Island ferry crashes with great force into the terminal at Staten Island, leaving 12 passengers dead and dozens injured.November 10, Near Ramachandrapuram, Andhra Pradesh state, India. A ferry capsizes in the Godavari River; 15 people are lost, while 35 swim ashore.November 24, Zambia. A boat on Lake Mweru capsizes, drowning 40 people; the boat was built to carry only 32 people.November 25, Near Inongo, Democratic Republic of the Congo. A jury-rigged and overcrowded ferry sinks in Lake Mai-Ndombe; though some 200 people survive, at least 160 are killed.Mining and ConstructionJanuary 11, Harbin, Heilongjiang province, China. A predawn explosion in the Boaxing coal mine kills 34 miners; the previous day 8 miners had been killed in a blast in a coal mine in Baishan, Jilin province.January 20, Jixi, Heilongjiang province, China. A gas explosion blasts through Lishu Coal Mine No. 7, killing 16 of the 97 miners at work at the time.February 24, China. At least 49 miners die in three separate incidents: some 35 are killed in a gas explosion at the Muchonggou coal mine in Liupanshui, Guizhou province, the same mine where 162 miners died in 2001; 6 miners are killed in an explosion in a mine in Jixi, Heilongjiang province; and 14 miners are killed when a cable lowering them into a mine snaps in Shanxi province.March 22, Xiaoyi, Shanxi province, China. A powerful gas explosion kills at least 64 of the 87 miners working in the Mengnanzhuang coal mine, 8 others are missing and likely dead.March 30, Liaoning province, China. At least 16 coal miners are killed, with 10 others missing, after an explosion in the Mengjiagou coal mine; there were more than 40 workers in the mine at the time of the incident.May 13, Hefei, Anhui province, China. An underground gas explosion in the Luling coal mine kills at least 81 miners, with 5 others missing.June 16, Andhra Pradesh, India. In Karimnagar district water bursts through the wall of a coal mine, trapping miners underground; after water is pumped out of the mine for two days, the bodies of 17 men are found.August 11, Datong, Shanxi province, China. A gas explosion kills at least 37 workers in a coal mine; five miners are missing.August 14, Yangquan, Shanxi province, China. A gas explosion rips through a coal mine in northern China, killing 28 workers.August 18, Zuoquan county, Shanxi province, China. In the third accident in two weeks in Shanxi province, a gas explosion, possibly triggered by the resumption of electricity flow after an outage, kills at least 17 and perhaps as many as 27 miners in a coal mine.November 14, Fengcheng, Jiangxi province, China. A gas explosion at the state-owned Jianxin Coal Mine kills 48 miners.November 22, Hunan province, China. A gas explosion at the Sundian coal mine leaves 22 people dead. In all, more than 4,600 miners have died in coal mine accidents in China in 2003.NaturalEarly–late January, Madagascar. Weeks of unusually heavy rains leave 2,218 people homeless and at least 13 dead, mostly in Antananarivo and Fianarantsoa provinces.January 16, Minas Gerais state, Braz. Mud slides occasioned by heavy rains kill at least 14 people, most of them in Belo Horizonte.January 22, Colima and Jalisco states, Mex. An earthquake of at least magnitude 7.6 strikes, collapsing scores of buildings and killing at least 29 people.February 2, Bandundu province, Democratic Republic of the Congo. A tornado roars through the province in the area of Yumbi, leaving 17 people dead and injuring hundreds more as well as leaving crops destroyed.Mid-February, Northern Mozambique. Heavy flooding in Nampula province kills at least 47 people, destroys some 6,000 homes, and ruins an estimated 5,500 ha (13,600 ac) of crops.Mid-February, Eastern seaboard of the U.S. A record-breaking snowstorm covers the area with some 60 cm (2 ft) of snow; 59 people in several states are killed.February 17, Southern Pakistan, Kashmir, Afghanistan. In Pakistan heavy rains cause flooding and the collapse of several houses and a bridge, from which a bus is swept away; at least 16 people are killed, while in Kashmir snowstorms kill at least 8 more people; the final death toll from the storms exceeds 86 people.February 24, Xinjiang region, China. An earthquake measured at magnitude 6.4 strikes the region, leaving 268 people dead and more than 4,000 injured in the worst earthquake in the area in 50 years; tens of thousands of buildings are destroyed as well.March 7, Kashmir. Avalanches caused by heavy snow kill at least 17 people in the area of the cease-fire line between the India- and Pakistan-controlled portions of the disputed region.March 31, Chima, Larecaja province, Bol. A gold-mining town is engulfed by a huge mud slide triggered by days of heavy rain; at least 14 people are killed, and hundreds are missing.April 1, Flores Island, Indonesia. Flash floods and mud slides wash away 17 houses and damage hundreds of others; at least 29 people are lost.April 20, Kurbu-Tash, Kyrgyzstan. A mud slide destroys the town in the Ozgon district, killing at least 38 residents; the site is declared a common grave, as recovery of the victims is essentially impossible.April 22, Assam state, India. Thunderstorms leave at least 33 people dead and thousands homeless; most of the damage is concentrated in the Dhuburi district.April 23, Chichicaste, Guat. An eroded mountain slides downhill, burying a village and killing 23 people.Late April–early May, Kenya. Nearly two weeks of rain and torrential storms destroy water-purification systems, force thousands of people to evacuate their homes, and leave at least 30 people dead.Early May, Southern Ethiopia. Catastrophic flooding in the drought-stricken region destroys health centres and schools and forces 96,000 people to flee to higher ground.Early–mid-May, Horn of Africa. Days of heavy rain create havoc in several countries: in Ethiopia 117 people are killed and 100,000 left homeless; in Kenya 47 die and 60,000 are displaced, and thousands more are displaced in Somalia.May 1, Bingol, Turkey. An earthquake of magnitude 6.4 strikes in the predawn hours, causing a boarding school to collapse and killing 167 people.May 4–12, U.S. Midwest and South. More than 300 tornadoes and other severe storms rake through several states, destroying entire towns, damaging hundreds of homes, and killing at least 42 people.May 4, Noabadi, Bangladesh. Tropical storms cause a landslide that destroys a village, killing at least 23 people; 31 people have been killed and more than 100 injured in the storms.Mid-May–June 10, South Asia. A monthlong heat wave and drought across India that ends only with the unusually late arrival of the monsoon creates an acute shortage of drinking water in Karnataka state and leaves 1,522 people dead nationwide, 1,040 of them in Andhra Pradesh state; in addition, more than 60 people in Bangladesh and 40 in Pakistan have succumbed.May 16, Wanshui, Hunan province, China. Flash floods and mud slides wash away a number of carpet factories and bury the living quarters of coal miners; at least 12 are killed, and more than 20 cannot be found.May 17, Southern Sri Lanka. After several days of heavy rain, floods and landslides kill some 300 people, with a further 500 unaccounted for.May 21, Thenia, Alg. A magnitude-6.8 earthquake shakes a densely populated area, killing more than 2,200 people and injuring close to 10,000; the capital, Algiers, sustains particularly heavy damage.May 27, Luzon, Phil. Tropical Storm Linfa brings torrential rains, relieving a drought but also causing hundreds of thousands of dollars of damage and killing at least 25 people, with 12 people reported missing.June 26, Southeastern Bangladesh. Unusually heavy monsoon rains, as much as 120 mm (4.5 in) in 24 hours, cause flash flooding and landslides, fatally sweeping away or burying at least 31 people.July 7, Northwestern Bangladesh. The rain-swollen Jamuna River breaks through an embankment and sweeps away several villages, raising the monsoon death toll to 82.July 11, Sichuan province, China. During the worst flooding since 1991, a mud slide leaves 51 people missing; they are among the more than 500 people the government says have been killed by rain-related disasters this year.Mid-July–mid-August, Western Europe. A prolonged and record-breaking heat wave combined with drought is responsible for the death of some 14,800 people in France, 4,200 in Italy, 1,400 in The Netherlands, 1,300 in Portugal, 900 in the U.K., and 100 in Spain.July 16, Himachal Pradesh state, India. A cloudburst in the mountains leads to flash flooding below, which sweeps away a camp of migrant workers employed at a hydroelectric project; more than 100 people are believed to have been killed.July 20, Minamata, Japan. Mud slides leave at least 17 people dead.July 21, Yunnan province, China. A magnitude-6 earthquake destroys tens of thousands of homes and kills at least 16 people, with a further 400 injured.Late July, Sind province, Pak. Monsoon rains cause flooding that leaves at least 88 people dead and some 100,000 homeless.Early August, Kassala province, Sudan. Floodwaters rise to the highest level in 70 years, leaving 20 people dead and some 250,000 homeless.August 15, Nepal. A landslide pushes through a military base in the northern region, killing 15 soldiers.August 28, Daman, Daman and Diu union territory, India. A narrow bridge crumbles in the rain, and several vehicles, including a school van, fall into the river below; at least 23 people are killed, and several more are missing.August 29, St. Marc, Haiti. Rains cause the St. Marc River to overflow its banks, destroying 75 houses and leaving 11 dead and 24 missing.Late August, China. The rainy season brings floods and mud slides, killing at least 40 people in western China and perhaps as many as 70 in northern China.Early September, Haiti. Heavy rains cause catastrophic flooding that leaves some 20 people dead and a similar number of people missing.September, Himachal Pradesh state, India. A mysterious disease with symptoms similar to those of typhus kills at least 17 people in two weeks.September 2–3, Southern China. A typhoon, after killing 2 people and causing power failures in Taiwan, sweeps onto the mainland, where it kills at least 32 more and causes destruction in the cities of Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Shantou, and Shanwei.September 6, North-West Frontier province, Pak. During monsoon rains lightning strikes hit two villages, leaving some 27 people dead.September 12, Southern South Korea. Typhoon Maemi slams ashore, leaving at least 124 people dead and doing tremendous economic damage to the port of Pusan; officials believe it to be the worst typhoon in 100 years.Mid-September, Nigeria. When gates at Nigeria's biggest hydroelectric dam are opened in order to save the dam from the floodwaters of the Kaduna River, dozens of villages are inundated, and some 39 people lose their life.September 18, Eastern U.S. Hurricane Isabel roars ashore, causing great damage, especially in North Carolina and Virginia, and leading to the death of some 40 people in seven states.November 2, Bukit Lawang, Sumatra, Indon. Flash floods caused by days of heavy rains and exacerbated by excessive logging virtually sweep away a popular tourist village and kill some 200 people.Mid-November, Central Vietnam. Flooding caused by several days of torrential rain leaves at least 50 people dead, 15 of them buried in a gold mine collapse.December 16, Andhra Pradesh state, India. The first winter cyclone in 18 years leaves at least 50 people dead, while the homes and crops of some 8,000 families are destroyed.December 19, Leyte province, Phil. After six days of rain and wind in a heavily logged mountainous area, enormous mud slides engulf towns and villages, leaving some 200 people dead.December 23, Villa Tunari, Bol. Floodwaters cause the collapse of a bridge as four vehicles, including a passenger bus, are crossing; 29 people are confirmed dead, and a further 30 are missing.December 25, San Bernardino, Calif. In a canyon damaged by wildfires, mud slides engulf a church camp where 28 people have gathered to celebrate Christmas; 14 people are dead or missing, and 2 others are killed at a nearby campground.December 26, Bam, Iran. An earthquake of magnitude 6.6 all but levels the southeastern city, killing more than 25,000 people.Late December, Northern India. Extreme cold brings a death toll in the area of some 150 people, most of them homeless or elderly.RailroadJanuary 3, Near Parli, India. An express passenger train hits a stationary freight train that should not have been on the passenger track; 18 passengers are killed.February 1, Near Dete, Zimb. A passenger train traveling in the predawn hours collides with a freight train carrying flammable substances; at least 46 lives are lost.March 1, Chiayi county, Taiwan. The brakes of a train descending Alishan mountain fail, and the train derails, crashing into a ravine; 17 people are killed and 173 injured.May 8, Siofok, Hung. In one of Hungary's worst-ever accidents, an express train runs into a double-decker bus on the tracks, killing 33 elderly German tourists.June 3, Chinchilla, Spain. On a stretch of single-track rail in Albacete province, a passenger train meets a freight train in a head-on collision; at least 19 people are killed.June 16, Near Sragen, Java, Indon. A train hits a bus carrying a wedding party and drags it for hundreds of metres; 15 of the 22 aboard the bus, including the bride and groom, are killed.June 22, Vaibhyavadi, India. A passenger train traveling from Karwar to Mumbai (Bombay) strikes a boulder left on the tracks after a landslide caused by monsoon rains; four cars derail, killing 51 passengers.July 2, Warangal, Andhra Pradesh state, India. The brakes on the Golkonda express train fail, and the train blasts through the Warangal station and derails on an overpass; the engine and three cars fall on the road and a fish market below, killing 18 people, 8 of them bystanders on the road below.TrafficJanuary 6, Zacatecas state, Mex. A bus goes off a mountain road when its brakes fail as it is trying to make a sharp bend; its plunge into the valley below leaves at least 18 of its passengers dead.January 18, Near Cochabamba, Bol. A bus crashes into a hill in heavy rainfall; at least 20 people are killed.January 21, Eastern Egypt. A tourist bus traveling between resorts overturns, killing at least 20 passengers.January 23, Slawi, Java, Indon. A bus goes out of control, possibly after a tire has burst; it runs into oil drums and houses and erupts in flames; at least 17 people are killed in the incident.January 26, Ebomey, Cameroon. A bus veers into oncoming traffic and crashes into a second bus; three cars then collide with the wrecked buses; a total of more than 70 people die in the incident, which is blamed on reckless driving and excessive speed.January 26, Near Devpur, Nepal. A bus plunges off the road, killing at least 20 people and injuring another 25.January 28, Near Uluberia, India. A tourist bus runs head-on into a truck carrying paint; at least 40 passengers are burned to death.February 16, Masnaa, Lebanon. The brakes fail on a Syrian military truck approaching a border crossing; the truck hits the immigration office and overturns onto several cars, catching fire; at least 17 people are killed.March 9, Near Kaplice, Czech Rep. A bus carrying tourists home from a vacation in Austria goes off the road and falls some 7 m (23 ft), killing at least 19 passengers.March 12, The Sudan. A bus carrying members of the al-Merreikh association football (soccer) team back from a match crashes, killing 25 people, among them the team's coach.March 17, Yunnan province, China. A truck illegally carrying passengers goes off a mountainous road and falls into a gorge; at least 20 of the more than 40 people in the truck are killed.March 27, Southeastern Kyrgyzstan. A double-decker bus headed for China is set upon by bandits, who kill the 21 passengers and set the bus on fire; investigators at first believed the bus had driven over a cliff.April 13, Near Larissa, Greece. A tour bus collides with a truck carrying a load of plywood on a narrow stretch of mountainous road; 21 schoolchildren are killed.April 15, Thailand. In three days of the Songkran festival, Thailand's biggest public holiday, more than 359 people die in traffic accidents, many of them due to drunken driving.May 1, Near Bethlehem, S.Af. A bus carrying trade-union members to a May Day rally falls into a reservoir after the driver becomes confused and drives onto a track leading to a dam; some 80 people are believed killed.May 9, Near Shorkot, Pak. A passenger bus and an oil tanker crash in a head-on collision after the bus driver loses control of his vehicle; at least 24 people perish.May 14, Victoria, Texas. At a truck stop, a container truck loaded with would-be immigrants, most from Mexico and undocumented, is discovered; at least 18 of them have suffocated to death owing to excessively high heat.May 17, Near Lyon, France. A bus carrying German tourists to Spain apparently skids on wet pavement and leaves the road, falling down an embankment; at least 28 passengers are killed.June 7, Near Erzincan, Turkey. A bus crashes into a tunnel wall, killing 27 passengers and injuring 33; it is suspected that the driver fell asleep.June 25, Madhya Pradesh state, India. A bus crossing a small bridge falls into the river below and is swept away; at least 40 people are missing.July 9, Hong Kong. A truck collides with a double-decker bus, which then falls off a cliff; 21 passengers are killed and 20 injured, and the truck driver is arrested.July 13, Premnagar, Jammu and Kashmir state, India. A passenger bus collides with a truck and plunges into the Chenab River; 24 passengers die, and two dozen are injured.September 7, Near Monabo, Cameroon. A truck carrying a bulldozer crashes into a bus carrying association football (soccer) players and fans returning from a tournament; 25 people are killed and some 30 injured.September 8, Kogi state, Nigeria. Four vehicles, one of them a passenger bus, collide in a pileup that kills at least 70 people, most of whom are burned to death.September 9, Western Venezuela. A bus crashes into a truck in an accident in which 10 people are killed and 19 injured; hours later on the same highway, another bus hits a parked truck, and 35 people die.September 15, Nepal. A bus carrying 60 passengers goes off the road into the Bheri River; at least 36 people are missing.September 17, Zambezi River, Zambia. At the crossing to Kazungula, Botswana, a truck overloaded with copper concentrates drives onto a pontoon, swamping it; at least 20 people are believed to have drowned.September 22, Kyonyo, Uganda. A bus carrying Rwandan and Burundian children to school in Uganda collides at high speed with a truck carrying corn (maize) for the World Food Programme; at least 46 people, most of them schoolchildren, are killed.October 8, East Java, Indon. A bus carrying schoolgirls on their way home from a school trip to Bali is struck head-on by a truck that lost control going downhill and is then rear-ended by a minivan; at least 54 people, most of them schoolgirls, are killed.October 21, Near Bonghwa, S.Kor. A bus carrying tourists who had been hiking in the area falls off a mountain road into a stream far below; at least 17 people are killed and 15 injured, most critically.November 30, Araua, Braz. In a hit-and-run incident, a pineapple truck drives into a religious procession, killing 17 of the participants.December 7, Near Magarkote, Jammu and Kashmir, India. An overcrowded bus loses control on a steep mountain road and falls into a gorge; at least 22 people perish.MiscellaneousFebruary 11, Mina, Saudi Arabia. During the “stoning of the devil,” the final ritual of the five-day hajj, 14 people are accidentally trampled to death on one day and 21 people suffer the same fate on the succeeding day.February 17, Chicago. At a crowded nightclub on the second floor of a restaurant, the use of pepper spray in a misguided effort to stop a fight causes panic among the 1,500 patrons, who attempt to flee; the ensuing stampede leaves 21 people dead.May 4, Cotonou, Benin. At a concert by the popular Congolese musician Kofi Olomide in Friendship Stadium, 15 people are crushed to death when the crowd surges forward to get closer to the stage.August 27, Nasik, Maharashtra state, India. A stampede breaks out during the Kumbh Mela festival as tens of thousands of pilgrims attempt to bathe in the Godavari River; some 40 people lose their life.September 10, Northern Greece. The bodies of 23 would-be immigrants wash up onshore; it appears that they drowned while attempting to cross the Evros River illegally from Turkey, but the circumstances are unclear.November 8, Port Sudan, Sudan. When a wealthy family living on a narrow street begins distributing money to the poor in observance of Ramadan, a stampede ensues in which 31 people are suffocated.November 15, St. Nazaire, France. On a day when family members are visiting workers building the world's largest cruise ship, the Queen Mary 2, a gangplank set up to allow access to the ship collapses; 15 people die, and more than 30 are injured.December 23–27, Gaoqiao, Chongqing province, China. A breach occurs at a gas well in a remote region, and a poisonous cloud of natural gas and hydrogen sulfide spews out and engulfs the area; some 233 people die and thousands are injured in the four days before the breach is sealed, and tens of thousands are evacuated.▪ 2002IntroductionAviationJanuary 25, Ciudad Bolívar, Venez. A DC-3 propeller airplane en route to Margarita Island in the Caribbean Sea crashed into a shantytown shortly after takeoff and burst into flames; all 24 persons aboard were killed, and 3 persons on the ground were injured.March 3, Unadilla, Ga. A military transport plane en route from Florida to Virginia crashed in a field during heavy rain, killing all 21 national guardsmen aboard the craft.March 24, On the island of Saint-Barthélemy, French overseas département of Guadeloupe. An airplane transporting passengers from Saint Martin to Saint-Barthélemy crashed into a house while preparing to land; all 19 persons aboard the plane and 2 persons on the ground were killed. It was the worst aviation disaster in the Caribbean in nearly 20 years.March 29, Aspen, Colo. A private jet slammed into a hillside while attempting to land in snowy weather; 18 persons died.April 4, Adaryel, The Sudan. A military plane crashed while attempting to land during a sandstorm; 15 persons were killed, including the Sudanese deputy defense minister, Col. Ibrahim Shams Eddin.April 7, Quang Binh province, Vietnam. A helicopter carrying a team searching for the remains of U.S. soldiers missing in action from the Vietnam War slammed into a mountainside in hazy weather; all 16 persons aboard were killed.May 16, Near Akcadag, Turkey. A military plane en route from Diyarbakir to Ankara crashed in a field, apparently after an engine malfunction; all 37 persons aboard the plane were killed.May 17, Northern Iran. A plane encountered heavy rain and crashed in a mountainous area between the cities of Gorgan and Shahrud; 29 persons died, including Iranian Transport Minister Rahman Dadman and six members of the parliament.July 3, Near Irkutsk, Russia. An airliner en route from Yekaterinburg in the Ural Mountains to the eastern port city of Vladivostok with 145 persons aboard went down in a Siberian forest; the disaster was blamed on pilot error; there were no survivors.September 12, Mérida, Mex. A charter plane carrying tourists from a cruise ship to see ancient Mayan ruins crashed shortly after takeoff; 19 persons died, including 16 Americans.October 4, Over the Black Sea. A Russian airliner en route from Tel Aviv, Israel, to Novosibirsk, Russia, exploded in midair and crashed in the Black Sea, killing all 78 persons aboard the craft. Initial suspicions of terrorism were discounted; the Ukrainian government later acknowledged that a stray surface-to-air missile fired during a Ukrainian air defense exercise had caused the explosion. Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksandr Kuzmuk resigned over the incident.October 8, Milan. A Scandinavian Airlines System passenger jet taking off for Copenhagen from Milan's Linate Airport collided with a small private plane in heavy fog and exploded; 118 persons were killed, including all 114 persons aboard the two planes and 4 airport workers. Investigators blamed the absence of ground-level radar at the airport in part. It was Italy's worst aviation disaster.November 12, New York City. American Airlines Flight 587 crashed on takeoff from John F. Kennedy International Airport; the plane, which was headed to Santo Domingo, Dom.Rep., lost its tail in midair and went down in the borough of Queens, striking several buildings; 260 persons died, including all 255 persons aboard the plane and 5 on the ground. Although no evidence pointed to terrorism, investigators at year's end were still trying to determine why the tail sheared off the plane.November 24, Near Zürich, Switz. A Swiss airplane en route from Berlin to Zürich crashed in a wooded area after encountering some rain and snow as it made its approach to land; 24 of the 33 persons aboard the plane died.December 2, Near Okhotsk, Russia. A cargo plane crashed following a fire aboard the aircraft; as many as 18 persons were feared killed.December 8, Near Taloqan, Afg. Bad weather conditions were blamed in the crash of a helicopter carrying Northern Alliance commandos and captured Taliban fighters; 21 persons died.December 16, Near Medellín, Colom. A small plane crashed in a mountainous area shortly after taking off in rainy weather; all 16 persons aboard died.Fires and ExplosionsMarch 5, Gindiri, Nigeria. A fire, which began when a kerosene lantern overturned, swept through a dormitory of a government high school for girls; at least 23 girls died; rescue efforts were hampered because the dormitory doors had been locked and chained to prevent students from sneaking out or in.March 6, Jiangxi province, China. An explosion flattened a two-story rural elementary-school building; the blast was believed to have been caused by an illegal fireworks factory located inside the school. According to the Xinhua news agency, 41 persons died, including 37 children and 4 teachers, and 27 persons were injured.May 20, Northern Chile. An electrical fault in the Iquique penitentiary ignited a blaze that claimed the lives of 26 prisoners.August 6, Erwady, India. A fire at a mental asylum killed at least 26 persons, many of whom had reportedly been chained to their beds; it was unclear what started the blaze.August 16, Katpadi, India. An accidental explosion at a government-run dynamite factory claimed the lives of at least 25 persons and seriously injured 3.August 18, Quezon City, Phil. Fire swept through a six-story hotel, killing at least 73 persons, many of whom had been trapped by security bars on the windows of their rooms; 51 persons were injured. The fire was caused by a short circuit in the ceiling of a stockroom; the hotel's owner, who had been cited for safety violations, was later charged with reckless endangerment.September 1, Tokyo. An explosion and fire in a nightclub in the Kabukicho entertainment district claimed the lives of 44 persons.September 4–5, Kruger National Park, S.Af. A bush fire of unknown origins swept through the park, killing 15 villagers and 4 game rangers who were trying to rescue them.September 21, Toulouse, France. A massive explosion at an industrial plant left a 15-m (50-ft) crater at the site and claimed the lives of at least 29 persons and injured some 2,000; officials stated that the blast was likely an accident.December 17, Southern Italy. A state-run home for the disabled in a remote area of the Apennine Mountains was destroyed in a blaze started by an electrical short circuit; 19 patients were killed; authorities later acknowledged that the home had been constructed of flammable material and should have been torn down.December 29, Lima, Peru. An explosion at a fireworks shop ignited a blaze that swept through a crowded commercial centre in Lima's historic district; the explosion was thought to have been caused by a fireworks demonstration that went out of control; at least 290 persons were killed.December 30, Jiangxi province, China. An explosion at a fireworks factory destroyed a warehouse and 10 workshops; more than 40 persons died.MarineJanuary 1, Off the coast of Mayaya, Sierra Leone. An overloaded boat en route to Freetown from Rokupr capsized in the Atlantic Ocean, killing some 60 persons.January 1, Off the coast of Kemer, Turkey. A cargo ship filled with migrants from the Middle East and Asia broke apart in a storm during an attempt to immigrate illegally to Greece; at least 16 persons were confirmed dead, and 30 were missing. Most of the victims had apparently been locked in the cargo area of the ship.January 23, Off the coast of the Dominican Republic. A motorboat—carrying a group of Dominicans intending to enter Puerto Rico illegally—overturned in rough seas; at least 50 persons were missing and presumed drowned.January 26, Black Sea. A Ukrainian cargo and passenger ship en route to Yevpatoriya, Ukraine, sank during a storm; 14 persons were confirmed dead, and 5 were missing.January 29, Off the coast of Karachi, Pak. A fishing boat returning to shore overturned in a storm, killing 35 persons.March 3, Off the southeastern coast of Haiti. A ship capsized in rough seas; 6 persons were killed, and 17 were missing.March 15, Off the island of Ile-à-Vache, southwestern Haiti. A boat loaded with Dominicans migrating illegally to Puerto Rico crashed on a coral reef after having drifted off course for 24 days; at least 50 persons died.April 11, Off the coast of southwestern Japan. A South Korean-registered oil freighter went missing; although no distress signals were received, an oil slick believed to be from the freighter was sighted; 28 persons were feared dead.April 15, Off the coast of Sulawesi Island, Indonesia. An overloaded boat sank after its engine failed; at least 21 persons drowned.May 3, Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo. A ferry sank in Goma harbour on Lake Kivu, apparently after scores of people rushed onto the vessel seeking shelter from a sudden cloudburst; more than 100 persons drowned.May 12, Off the western coast of Madagascar. A passenger boat sank, claiming the lives of at least 26 persons, most of them members of a local football team.July 21, Near Katoka, Democratic Republic of the Congo. An overcrowded ferry capsized in a whirlpool on the Kasai River; some 60 persons drowned; the accident occurred at night, and the boat captain who was piloting the craft was reportedly was drunk.July 22, Off the coast of Karachi, Pak. A boat described as old and in poor condition capsized on the Arabian Sea; 19 family members died.October 19, Java Sea. An overcrowded fishing boat en route from the Indonesian island of Sumatra to Australia with some 400 illegal immigrants aboard broke apart and sank; only 44 persons were rescued.November 16–17, Florida Straits. A twin-engine speedboat carrying some 30 Cubans intent on illegally entering the U.S. capsized; the U.S. Coast Guard later recovered the boat but no bodies.November 18, Lake Tanganyika, Democratic Republic of the Congo. A collision between two boats as one was preparing to leave shore and another to dock claimed the lives of at least 19 persons.November 29, Near Bhola, Bangladesh. A ferryboat sank on the Tetulia River after colliding with a larger vessel; around 90 persons were missing and feared drowned.Mining and ConstructionFebruary 2, Bihar state, India. Water suddenly filled a coal mine, trapping many workers; 38 miners were feared dead.February 5, Heilongjiang province, China. A gas explosion claimed the lives of 37 miners.February 22–23, Xinjiang and Hunan provinces, China. Poisonous gas and high temperatures were blamed for the deaths of 11 miners at a coal mine in Xinjiang on February 22. In a separate incident on the following day, a gas explosion was believed to have killed 21 miners in Hunan.March 4, Entre-os-Rios, Port. A bridge collapsed after one of its support pillars gave way, and a double-decker bus and three cars that were passing over the bridge at the time plunged into the Douro River; 59 persons died.April 21, Shaanxi province, China. A gas explosion in a coal mine claimed the lives of 47 miners and injured 4.May 8, Hegang, China. A gas explosion ripped through a coal mine; 54 miners were feared dead.Mid-May, Urumqi, China. A brick wall surrounding a construction site collapsed onto a bazaar; 19 persons died, and over 30 were injured.May 18, Sichuan province, China. Water pipes burst in a prison-run coal mine and flooded a shaft; 39 prison labourers were presumed dead.May 24, West Jerusalem. A three-story banquet hall collapsed while some 700 people were celebrating a wedding; at least 23 persons died; the collapse was attributed to structural failure.July 17, Shanghai. A massive crane toppled over at a shipbuilding plant; at least 36 persons were killed.July 22, Xuzhou, China. An explosion occurred at a coal mine that had reopened illegally after having been shut down only a month before; 92 miners died.August 19, Donetsk, Ukraine. A methane gas explosion ripped through the Zasyadko coal mine, igniting a raging fire and trapping workers; at least 47 miners died, and 44 were injured.November 22, Filadelfia, Colom. A landslide buried a group of gold miners digging illegally at a condemned mine; about 80 persons were killed, and dozens were missing and feared dead.NaturalJanuary, Inner Mongolia, China. A three-day-long blizzard that began on December 31 was followed by freezing temperatures in the region throughout January; of the estimated 1,640,000 persons affected by the storm and cold front, at least 39 died; more than 200,000 head of livestock also perished.January 13 and February 13, El Salvador. A magnitude-7.7 earthquake, whose epicentre was off El Salvador's Pacific coast, jolted the country on January 13, leaving some 200,000 persons homeless. On February 13 a second earthquake struck with a magnitude of 6.6 and an onshore epicentre southeast of the capital, San Salvador. At least 1,259 persons died in the two quakes.January 18, Western Tanzania. A landslide brought on by heavy rains destroyed 30 homes in a fishing village on Lake Tanganyika; at least 15 persons were missing and feared dead.January 20, North Sulawesi province, Indon. A series of three landslides and the magnitude-5.8 earthquake that followed wreaked havoc on the islands; at least 33 persons died, and numerous houses and two bridges were destroyed.January 20–late March, Southern Africa. Heavy rains in Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Malawi swelled the Zambezi River watershed, resulting in severe flooding in these countries and along the river in Mozambique. Hundreds of thousands of persons were displaced in Mozambique, where there were more than 80 confirmed deaths by March 28.January 26, Gujarat state, India. A powerful earthquake of magnitude 7.7 devastated the state. In what was described as the worst earthquake to hit India in a half century, more than 300,000 houses were destroyed, and a further 751,086 homes were damaged, according to official government figures. The quake affected more than 15,000,000 persons and left at least 14,000 dead and more than 166,000 injured. The disaster caused at least $2.3 billion in damage.January 30, Western Iran. Snow as deep as two metres (six feet) fell in Khuzistan province, burying many villages; 28 persons who had ventured from their homes in search of food and supplies were missing and feared dead.Early February, West Java province, Indon. Heavy rains triggered landslides and extensive flooding; at least 94 persons perished, including 62 in the district of Lebak.Early February, Western Afghanistan. Frigid temperatures claimed the lives of more than 500 persons in refugee camps in Herat province; since June 2000 thousands of Afghans had been displaced from their homes by severe drought conditions.May 1, Southwestern China. A landslide that occurred after days of heavy rain caused a nine-story apartment building to collapse, killing at least 65 persons.May 6–7, Tazeh-Qalel, Iran. Torrential rains triggered floods that killed at least 32 persons and injured 50; 2,500 head of cattle also died.May 9, Bihar state, India. A powerful storm claimed the lives of at least 17 persons, including 9 who died when uprooted trees smashed into their home.May 11, Bangladesh. A series of storms and landslides caused damage throughout the country; at least 31 persons died, and some 500 were injured.Mid-May, Haiti. Heavy rains and flooding claimed the lives of at least 21 persons, including 12 killed in a shantytown in Pétionville, a suburb of Port-au-Prince.June 6–17, Southern and eastern U.S. Tropical Storm Allison left a broad swath of destruction in her wake. The hardest-hit area was Houston, Texas, where the storm killed at least 20 persons and damaged up to 27,000 houses. The death toll also included at least two persons in Louisiana, nine in Florida, nine in North Carolina, one in Virginia, and six in Pennsylvania.June 12, Papallacta, Ecuador. Motorists who had been stranded by a landslide and had taken refuge in a mountain hut were buried when a second avalanche swept down on them; at least 36 persons died.June 23, Southern Peru. An 8.1-magnitude earthquake, whose epicentre was located off the Peruvian coast, jolted the southern Andean region of the country; hardest hit were the cities of Arequipa and Moquegua; at least 102 persons died, 53 were missing, and 1,368 were injured.June 23–24, Taiwan and Fujian province, China. Typhoon Chebi claimed the lives of 9 persons in Taiwan before sweeping across the Taiwan Strait and striking Fujian, where at least 73 persons died and 87 were missing and feared dead.June 27, Limbe, Cameroon. Heavy flooding claimed the lives of at least 30 persons.Early July, Southern Taiwan, northern Philippines, and Guangdong province, China. Typhoon Utor wreaked havoc in lands touching the South China Sea. The storm killed 1 person in Taiwan, at least 121 persons in the Philippines, and 23 persons in Guangdong.July 15, South Korea. A tropical storm—described as the worst to have hit the country in 37 years—swept across South Korea, setting off landslides and flooding that left at least 40 persons dead and 14 missing. Some 34,000 homes were flooded in Seoul and the surrounding area.July 23, Mansehra, Swat, and Buner districts, Pak. Monsoonal rains triggered a series of flash floods that claimed the lives of at least 150 persons and washed away hundreds of houses.Late July, Southeastern Poland. Heavy flooding and thunderstorms devastated the region. By July 26, when the Vistula River overflowed its banks, at least 26 persons had died.July 30, Hua-lien and Nan-t'ou counties, Taiwan. Typhoon Toraji ripped through the area, bringing heavy rains that set off landslides and flash floods; by the time the storm receded, 77 persons had been killed, and 133 were missing and presumed dead.August 1, Nias Island, Indonesia. Massive landslides and floods struck the island following days of torrential rains; more than 70 persons were confirmed dead, and at least 100 were missing.August 10–12, Northeastern Iran. The worst flooding in the region in 200 years inflicted widespread damage. According to figures announced on state television, 181 persons were known to have died, and at least 168 were missing. Some 10,000 persons were displaced by the disaster, which caused an estimated $25 million in damage.August 11, Northern Thailand. Flash floods in the mountains of Phetchabun province followed heavy rains and claimed the lives of at least 86 persons.Late August, Nepal. Heavy rains brought on flash floods and landslides across the country; at least 28 persons lost their lives.September 16–19, Taiwan. Typhoon Nari pummeled the north of the island; flooding, mud slides, and power outages resulted; at least 94 persons died, including 25 in Taipei.October 8–9, Southern Belize. Hurricane Iris—described as the worst storm to hit the country in 40 years—devastated much of the southern region; 22 persons died, at least 3,000 houses were destroyed, and some 12,000 persons were left homeless.October 17, Southern India. A strong storm pummeled towns along the coast, killing at least 31 persons, including 16 in Kurnool.November 7, Southern and central Philippines. Tropical Storm Lingling battered the regions, triggering flash floods and uprooting trees with winds as strong as 90 km/h (56 mph); particularly hard hit was the island of Camiguin, where hundreds were forced to flee their homes; at least 68 persons were killed, and dozens were missing.November 9, Kerala state, India. A landslide in the village of Amboori claimed the lives of approximately 50 persons.November 9–17, Northern Algeria. Torrential rain produced heavy flooding in the region; the official death toll was 750 persons, most of whom died in the Bab el Oued neighbourhood of Algiers; some 24,000 persons were left homeless, and at least 1,500 houses were destroyed in the capital alone.Late December, Rio de Janeiro state, Braz. Torrential rains and mud slides claimed the lives of at least 52 persons; more than 30 were missing, and some 2,000 were forced to abandon their homes.RailroadJanuary 10, Near Mvoungouti, Republic of the Congo. A train en route from Pointe-Noire to Brazzaville reportedly experienced engine problems before colliding with another train that had stopped at the Mvoungouti station; though both were freight trains, they were also carrying passengers; at least 45 persons died, and 98 were injured.May 23, Near Ovrazhnoye, Russia. A train slammed into a passenger bus that had run a red light and driven onto the tracks at a railroad crossing; at least 14 persons were killed and 18 injured.May 30, Lucknow, India. A train was struck by an overcrowded bus at a railroad crossing, killing 31 persons and injuring 49.June 22, Near Kozhikode, India. Several cars of a passenger train en route from Mangalore to Chennai (Madras) derailed as the train was crossing a bridge and plunged more than 30.5 m (100 ft) into the rain-swollen Kadalundi River; at least 52 persons were killed, and some 230 were injured.August 16, Ujani, India. An express train bound for Mumbai (Bombay) struck and killed 15 persons between stations at Bodhwad and Achaigaon.December 25, Brebes, Indon. A head-on collision between two passenger trains crowded with holiday travelers claimed the lives of at least 42 persons; the driver of one of the trains reportedly had fallen asleep and sped past a stop signal.TrafficJanuary 15, Mbabane, Swaziland. Two tires on an overloaded bus burst, causing the driver to lose control of the vehicle and crash; at least 28 persons were killed.January 22, Southern Morocco. A passenger bus overturned on a highway between the cities of Marrakesh and Asni; 29 persons died, and 27 were seriously injured.January 26, Punjab province, Pak. A collision between two passenger buses near the town of Pattoki claimed the lives of 38 persons and injured 52.February 12, Zhejiang province, China. A bus fell into Thousand Islands Lake after a landslide struck the area; 10 deaths were confirmed, and 6 persons were missing and feared dead.March 10, Near Ataye, Eth. A bus plummeted into a ravine after colliding with another vehicle; 22 persons died, and 30 were injured.April 1, Malindi, Kenya. Two passenger buses collided, and both then fell from a bridge into the rain-swollen Sabaki River; at least 34 persons were killed.April 4, Tamil Nadu state, India. A head-on collision between a bus and an oil tanker truck claimed the lives of at least 40 persons.April 7, Songwe, Tanz. A minibus hit a bull that had strayed onto a road; the driver lost control of the vehicle and collided with another bus, and all 32 persons in the minibus died.April 11, Between Franklin and Kokstad, S.Af. An overloaded bus plummeted 64 m (210 ft) down an embankment after the driver lost control of the vehicle; at least 29 persons died.April 12, Near N'Djamena, Chad. A trailer truck loaded with passengers, grain, and livestock crashed through the guardrail of a bridge and plunged into the Chari River; at least 40 persons lost their lives.April 30, Northern India. A bus carrying Hindu pilgrims from the city of Hardwaru to the Badrinath temple plunged into the Alaknanda River; at least 45 persons were feared dead.June 26, Near St. Louis du Sud, Haiti. A bus crashed in a ditch after its driver swerved to avoid hitting an abandoned truck; at least 41 persons were killed.July 24, Near Jinju, S.Kor. A tourist bus struck a telephone pole and plunged down a steep hill; 18 persons were killed, and 25 were injured.July 24, Punjab state, India. A bus toppled from a road into an irrigation canal after its brakes failed; at least 22 persons were feared dead.August 12, Eastern Zambia. A crowded bus overturned and crashed into a ditch, killing at least 38 persons.August 15, Near Nairobi, Kenya. An overloaded minibus swerved from a road to avoid hitting another vehicle and plunged into the Mwania River; 23 persons died.August 18, Southern Iran. A head-on collision between a bus and a truck on a highway between Kerman and Sirjan claimed the lives of 30 persons and injured at least 20.August 21, Near San Nicolas de los Arroyos, Arg. Some 20 persons were killed when a bus slammed into the back of a truck, reportedly after the driver of the bus fell asleep at the wheel.August 26, Northern Nigeria. A speeding bus blew a tire and careened off a bridge into a river; 49 persons perished.September 29, Northern Iran. A bus collided head-on with another bus and plummeted into an Alborz mountain valley; 20 persons died.October 10, Near Calama, Chile. A bus carrying workers to a copper mine collided head-on with a truck, killing 22 persons and injuring 21; a plane carrying investigators to the site also crashed, killing 6.Late October, Buenavista, Phil. A bus slammed into a house where mourners had gathered for a vigil; at least 21 persons died.Early November, Karnataka state, India. A head-on collision between two trucks claimed the lives of at least 22 persons and injured 37.November 14, Near Huelva, Spain. A bus carrying retirees on an excursion to caves in the area crashed after the driver lost control of the vehicle on a curve in the road; 19 persons died, and 14 were injured.November 18, Angash, Peru. A bus fell from a mountain road in the central Andes 183 m (600 ft) into a ravine; at least 25 persons died, and 20 were injured.December 14, Southern Jordan. A bus loaded with Muslim pilgrims returning home from Mecca crashed through the fence of a truck depot, slammed into other vehicles, and exploded into flames; the driver apparently had lost control of the vehicle after a brake failure; all 52 persons aboard the bus died.December 31, Mpumalanga, S.Af. A truck carrying more than 100 family members on an annual pilgrimage to their ancestral burial ground overturned on a steep gravel road; at least 48 persons died.MiscellaneousMarch 5, Mina, Saudi Arabia. At least 35 persons died in a stampede on the first day of the hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca; the stampede occurred as thousands of Muslims made their way across a bridge to perform the sacred rite known as “stoning the devil.”March 31, Pakpattan, Pak. A stampede at the gate of a Muslim shrine claimed the lives of at least 35 persons and injured some 125.April 11, Johannesburg, S.Af. A stampede occurred at an association football (soccer) match between two local teams when thousands of fans locked outside Ellis Park stormed into the stadium; 43 persons were killed.May 9, Accra, Ghana. In what was described as the worst tragedy at a sporting event in Africa's history, at least 130 persons were killed in a stampede toward locked stadium gates at an association football (soccer) match between Accra's Hearts of Oak and Kumasi's Asante Kotoko after Kotoko fans threw debris onto the playing field, and police fired tear gas into the crowd; in addition to the deaths, dozens of people were injured.August 9, Dhaka, Bangladesh. A faulty fire alarm at a garment factory triggered a stampede; 16 workers, most of them women, were crushed to death in a stairwell; 50 were injured.Late August, Near Yamoussoukro, Côte d'Ivoire. At least 27 persons died after drinking corn broth contaminated with rat poison; the woman who sold the broth was detained and could face manslaughter charges, but officials described the poisoning as accidental.Mid-September, Southern Estonia. About 60 persons died after drinking illegally brewed vodka—contaminated with methyl alcohol—that had been sold in the resort city of Parnu.Late November, Sulawesi Utara province, Indon. At least 27 persons died and at least 4 were hospitalized after they drank contaminated homemade liquor.Late November–early December, Tamil Nadu state, India. At least 50 persons had died by December 1 from drinking contaminated homemade liquor.▪ 2001IntroductionAviationJanuary 13, Off the coast of Libya. A twin-engine jet en route from Tripoli to Marsa al-Burayqah, Libya, plunged into the sea about 10 km (6 mi) short of its destination; 22 of the 41 persons aboard the craft were killed.January 30, Off the coast of Côte d'Ivoire. A Kenya Airways jet bound for Lagos, Nigeria, went down in the Atlantic Ocean shortly after takeoff from Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire; 169 persons died, and 10 persons survived the crash.January 31, Off the coast of southern California. En route from Puerto Vallarta, Mex., to San Francisco, Alaska Airlines Flight 261 plummeted into the Pacific Ocean; all 88 persons aboard the MD-83 jetliner were killed.Early February, Lubango, Angola. An overloaded military helicopter that was carrying 37 persons, well over its capacity, crashed soon after takeoff and burst into flames; at least 30 persons perished.March 30, Near Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. While attempting to land, an air force plane crashed after one of its engines caught fire; 36 soldiers and 4 crew members died.April 8, Marana, Ariz. A U.S. Marine Corps V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft carrying 19 persons crashed on a training mission while landing at an airfield; there were no survivors.April 19, Near Davao, Phil. In what was the worst aviation disaster in the history of the Philippines, a Boeing 737-200 slammed into a coconut plantation on Samal Island, killing all 131 persons aboard; while there was no immediate word on what caused the crash, the airliner apparently encountered foggy conditions as it was making its approach to the airport in Davao.May 21, Near Wilkes-Barre, Pa. A twin-engine charter plane en route from Atlantic City, N.J., to Wilkes-Barre with 19 persons on board crashed after both engines failed; there were no survivors.June 22, Central China. While flying through a thunderstorm, a Chinese airliner was struck by lightning and went down in Hubei province; all 42 persons aboard the craft were killed.July 8, Southern Mexico. After encountering bad weather, a passenger plane crashed in a heavily wooded area in Chiapas state; all 19 persons on board died.July 17, Patna, India. A Boeing 737-200 crashed into houses during its second landing attempt at Patna, killing 51 persons aboard the craft and 4 on the ground; 7 persons on the plane survived.July 21, Near St. Petersburg. A Russian air force helicopter crashed in a military airfield shortly after takeoff; 19 persons died.July 25, Near Paris. A Concorde jet en route from Paris to New York City suffered engine failure shortly after takeoff, burst into flames, and crashed into a small hotel and restaurant; all 109 persons on board, including 100 passengers and 9 crew members, died; 4 people on the ground were also killed.July 27, Western Nepal. A small passenger plane carrying 25 persons crashed while attempting to land in bad weather; there were no survivors.August 12, Kasai-Occidental province, Democratic Republic of the Congo. An airliner developed engine problems after takeoff and crashed, killing 26 persons.August 23, Off the coast of Bahrain. An Airbus A320 en route from Cairo to Manama, Bahrain, crashed into the Persian Gulf after one of its engines caught fire; all 143 persons aboard the plane were killed.September 16, Sri Lanka. An air force helicopter en route from Colombo to Amparai crashed into a hill and exploded; 15 persons were killed, including Sri Lankan Ports Minister M.H.M. Ashraff.October 25, Western Georgia. A Russian military plane with 75 persons aboard crashed into a mountain while attempting to land in bad weather; there were no survivors.October 31, Taipei, Taiwan. A Singapore Airlines jumbo jet with 179 persons aboard crashed while taking off and burst into flames; 82 persons died.October 31 and November 15, Angola. Two Soviet-built Antonov planes crashed in separate incidents; on October 31 an Antonov An-26 crashed in a remote jungle area shortly after takeoff, killing all 48 persons aboard; on November 15 an Antonov An-24 slammed into a field after takeoff and exploded, killing at least 40 persons.Fires and ExplosionsFebruary–March, Southern Nigeria. On February 7 a group of people in the village of Ogwe were illegally siphoning off fuel from an oil pipeline when a young man in the crowd struck a match, igniting an explosion that claimed the lives of at least 15 persons. In a similar incident on March 22, a large number of people were sabotaging an oil pipeline in Isioma when the pipeline caught fire, killing at least 50 persons.March 9, Tuvalu. A fire in a locked dormitory of a boarding school on Vaitupu atoll claimed the lives of at least 17 schoolgirls and one of the school's female staff members.March 28, Guangdong province, China. An explosion at a cigarette lighter factory claimed the lives of 17 persons.March 29, Henan province, China. A fire swept through a pornographic movie theatre whose front doors had been locked with a steel grille to prevent police from entering; of those persons trapped inside, at least 74 perished.April 14, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo. A series of explosions occurred at a military fuel and munitions depot located at the airport in Kinshasa; 109 persons were killed, and more than 200 were injured; as to what caused the blasts, there were conflicting accounts, including reports of a warehouse fire, sabotage by political dissidents, and a military plane crash.May 13, Enschede, Neth. A fire broke out inside a large fireworks warehouse, setting off multiple explosions that killed at least 20 persons, injured some 950, and destroyed more than 400 homes in a nearby residential area; the owners of the warehouse were later arrested and charged with safety violations.Late June, Jiangmen, China. A fire that began in a fireworks factory set off an explosion and spread to two other factories; 30 persons died, and 200 were injured.Mid-July, Southern Nigeria. In two separate incidents, one in the city of Warri and the other in the village of Adeje, persons intent on stealing fuel ruptured an oil pipeline and triggered deadly explosions; at least 30 persons were killed in Warri, and more than 250 died at Adeje.July 19, Tileran, Costa Rica. A fire, apparently caused by a short circuit, engulfed a retirement home, claiming the lives of 17 persons.August 4, Jiangxi province, China. A blast in an apartment building where illegal fireworks were produced claimed the lives of at least 27 persons and injured 26 others.September 8, Urumqi, China. A truck carrying explosives intended for disposal blew up on a highway, killing more than 60 persons and damaging more than 20 other vehicles and houses nearby.October 20, Mexico City. An early-morning fire swept through one of the largest nightclubs in the city, destroying the building and claiming the lives of at least 20 persons; the fire apparently was ignited by short circuits in the nightclub's electrical system.November 11, Near Kaprun, Austria. A fire in an Alpine mountain tunnel claimed the lives of at least 155 skiers who were traveling through the tunnel in a cable car; investigators suspected that the cable car may have caught fire before it entered the tunnel, but the cause of the fire was unclear.November 30, Near Apapa, Nigeria. A group of people were collecting fuel from a ruptured pipeline when the liquid exploded into flames; between 30 and 60 persons died.December 25, Luoyang, China. A fire swept through a crowded dance hall on the fourth floor of a commercial building, killing 309 persons; the disaster occurred one week after the building had failed a safety inspection.MarineJanuary 16, Off the coast of the Dominican Republic. An overcrowded fishing boat, apparently bound for Puerto Rico with Dominican migrants aboard, capsized in the Mona Passage; at least 16 persons died.February 12, Lake Albert, Eastern Africa. At least 45 persons lost their lives when a boat capsized on the lake, which borders Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.Mid-March, Southern Bangladesh. An overcrowded ferry sank in the Sandhya River, killing at least 17 persons.Late March, Nowshera, Pak. A boat being pulled by a cable across the Kabul River overturned after the cable snapped in strong winds; at least 22 persons drowned, and 12 were missing and feared dead.April 12, Southern Philippines. A cargo boat overloaded with passengers capsized off Jolo island; of the more than 200 persons aboard, at least 143 perished.April 19, Southeastern Nigeria. A boat carrying some 500 persons, more than twice its capacity, sank on the Nembe River; all aboard were feared dead.April 30, Off the coast of Tarifa, Spain. A small boat overloaded with passengers from Morocco who apparently were intent on entering Spain illegally sank in the Straits of Gibraltar; at least 20 persons died.May 2, Eastern Bangladesh. In separate incidents on the Meghna River, two ferries sank after being caught in a storm; at least 73 persons died, and more than 100 were missing.May 7, Eastern Indonesia. Large waves capsized an overcrowded ferry off the coast of Ambon island; at least 41 persons were killed.June 22, Sichuan province, China. A ferry carrying some 221 passengers, more than twice its capacity, overturned on the Chang Jiang (Yangtze River) after striking rocks in heavy fog; more than 100 persons died.June 29, Eastern Indonesia. A ferry overloaded with passengers fleeing fighting between Christians and Muslims in the Maluku Islands sank in heavy seas; of the some 500 persons aboard, only 10 survived.Mid-July, Madhya Pradesh state, India. A ferry overturned during a storm on the Talperu River, killing at least 20 persons.July 27, Near Dhaka, Bangladesh. A small ferry collided with a larger boat on the Buriganga River and sank; at least 50 persons lost their lives.August 5, Off the coast of Nigeria. A boat overloaded with Nigerian traders bound for Cameroon capsized in a storm; at least 40 persons died.August 12, Off the northern coast of Russia. A Russian nuclear submarine with 118 crew members on board suddenly plunged to the floor of the Barents Sea about 56 km (35 mi) offshore; Russian officials cited a collision as the cause of the accident, though Western experts believed a series of catastrophic explosions occurred in the submarine's torpedo bay; days later a team of Norwegian and British divers were able to open the rear escape hatch but found that the entire vessel had been flooded; there were no survivors.August 23, Near Sinjah, The Sudan. An overloaded boat capsized on the Nile River; as many as 50 persons, mostly schoolchildren, were feared drowned.September 4, Northwestern Uganda. A boat carrying about 50 passengers capsized on Lake Albert; 37 persons were missing and presumed dead.September 26, Off the coast of Paros, Greece. A ferry en route from Athens to the island of Lipsoi struck a rocky outcrop and sank; at least 80 persons perished; the ship's captain, who admitted having been asleep before the collision, and four crew members were later arrested and charged with manslaughter.October 21, Lake Malawi, Malawi. An overloaded boat capsized and sank during a storm; at least 17 persons drowned.Mid-December, Off the northern coast of Australia. Two boats transporting more than 160 suspected illegal immigrants from Indonesia to Australia sank in stormy seas; all aboard the two vessels were feared drowned.December 29, Southeastern Bangladesh. A collision in dense fog between two ferries on the Meghna River claimed the lives of at least 150 persons.Mining and ConstructionEarly March, Near Koidu–New Sembehun, Sierra Leone. The collapse of an illegal diamond mine claimed the lives of some 150 persons.March 11, Krasnodon, Ukraine. A powerful methane-gas explosion in the Barakova coal mine killed 82 miners; authorities stated that safety violations were to blame for the blast; the accident was the worst mining disaster in Ukraine since 1980.Mid-June, China. In Sichuan province on June 16, a gas explosion in a mine claimed the lives of seven miners, and gas fumes killed five others who were attempting to rescue them. A day later in Henan province, another gas explosion occurred in a coal mine; seven miners died, and seven were missing.July 19, Alexandria, Egypt. A six-story clothing factory collapsed after a fire, killing at least 15 persons and injuring 38.September 2, Near Agra, India. A locomotive shed collapsed as it was being demolished, killing more than 25 persons, most of them workers at the site.September 27, Guizhou province, China. A huge gas explosion ripped through a coal mine, killing some 150 miners.Early October, Khogiani, Afg. The roof of a mud house where a wedding was taking place collapsed, killing at least 42 persons and injuring 15.November 5, Jilin province, China. A gas explosion at a coal mine left 13 miners dead and 18 missing and feared dead.November 26, Northern China. A gas explosion at a coal mine claimed the lives of 51 miners.December 11, Guangxi province, China. A gold mine collapsed, killing at least 15 persons and injuring 4.NaturalEarly January, Northern India. A cold wave that swept across the Gangetic Plain left as many as 341 persons dead, including at least 211 in Bihar state.Early January, Southeastern Brazil. Heavy rains triggered floods and landslides that claimed the lives of at least 28 persons, including 13 in Rio de Janeiro state, and left tens of thousands homeless.January 20–23, Eastern Australia. A heat wave brought blistering temperatures to Queensland state; 22 persons died, and more than 100 were hospitalized.Late January–mid-March, Southern Africa. Torrential rains produced some of the worst flooding in the region in more than four decades. The hardest-hit country was Mozambique, where floods washed away some 200,000 homes before Cyclone Eline—with winds of up to 260 km/h (162 mph)—brought new rains on February 22. By mid-March the country's official death toll stood at 492, and countless others were missing. Eline moved on to strike Madagascar, which was also hit by Tropical Storm Gloria on March 4–5; the storms left at least 137 persons dead and some 500,000 homeless on the island. Other affected areas included South Africa's Northern and Mpumalanga provinces, where floods had claimed the lives of at least 70 persons by the end of February. Thousands of persons were also left homeless in Zimbabwe, Namibia, and southern Botswana.Mid-February, Bangladesh. A cold wave accompanied by heavy fog swept across the country; 65 persons, most of whom were elderly, died.February 14, Georgia. A series of tornadoes wreaked havoc in the southwestern portion of the U.S. state, claiming the lives of 18 persons, injuring more than 100, and damaging hundreds of homes and businesses.May 4, Central Indonesia. An earthquake of magnitude 6.5 caused severe damage across Central Sulawesi province and Peleng and Banggai islands; the earthquake was followed by tidal waves, which flattened a number of coastal villages; at least 40 persons were killed, and some 15,000 homes and other buildings were destroyed.Mid-May, West Timor, Indon. Severe floods caused by a combination of monsoon rain and a tidal surge claimed the lives of at least 140 persons and left some 20,000 homeless.May 21, Southern Colombia. Flooding and mud slides were blamed in the deaths of at least 21 persons.June 4, Sumatra, Indon. A magnitude-7.9 earthquake hit the southwestern part of the island; at least 120 persons were killed, and some 25,000 were left homeless.Mid-June, Northeastern India. Heavy monsoon rains triggered floods that killed at least 20 persons in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh states.Early July, Southeastern Europe. A heat wave scorched the region as hot air masses moved north from the Sahara desert; more than 50 persons died throughout the region.July 12, Near Mumbai (Bombay). After days of heavy rain, a landslide destroyed a slum settlement north of the city; at least 80 persons died.July 13, Shaanxi province, China. A huge mud slide buried numerous houses and knocked out electrical power in 10 towns; at least 119 persons died, and 29 were missing.Mid-July, India. Heavy rains in Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Andhra Pradesh states produced floods that left some 140 persons dead.July 21, Northern Vietnam. Landslides claimed the lives of at least 20 persons.Late July–early August, Northeastern Brazil. Days of torrential rain caused mud slides that killed at least 56 persons and forced more than 100,000 from their homes.Late July–early October, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. Unseasonably early and heavy monsoon rains contributed to the worst flooding in the Mekong Delta in 40 years; by October 8 at least 315 persons had died, among whom 232 were children.August 22–23, East Asia. Two deadly storms wreaked havoc on the region; on August 22 Tropical Storm Kaemi killed 14 persons in Vietnam; a day later Typhoon Bilis claimed the lives of at least 11 persons and injured 80 others.August 22–24, Southern India. Heavy rains and flooding in Andhra Pradesh state killed at least 70 persons, including 13 in Hyderabad, the state capital.September 1, Southern China. Typhoon Maria swept through Guangdong and Hunan provinces; the storm claimed the lives of at least 47 persons and caused some $175 million in damage.September–October, India and Bangladesh. Heavy monsoon rains set off widespread flooding in India's West Bengal state and in southwestern Bangladesh; more than 900 persons were killed in India, and some 150 persons died and about 5 million were left homeless in Bangladesh.September 10, Southern Italy. A mud slide brought on by flash floods destroyed a campsite in the Calabria region; 11 persons were killed, and 4 were missing and feared dead.Mid-September, Guatemala. Floods and mud slides occurred throughout the country after days of torrential rain; at least 19 persons lost their lives.Mid-October, Italian and Swiss Alps. Heavy rains set off floods and landslides in the mountainous region; at least 35 persons perished.Late October–November, Southeast Asia. Torrential monsoon rains triggered floods and landslides across the region; by the end of November, at least 119 persons had died in Indonesia, at least 51 had died in Malaysia, and some 20 persons had perished in Thailand.November 1–2, Taiwan. Typhoon Xangsane triggered the worst flooding on the island in 30 years; the storm, which produced winds of up to 145 km/h (90 mph), pounded the island for two days; at least 58 persons died, and another 31 were missing.November 3, Northern Philippines. Landslides and floods set off by Typhoon Bebinca claimed the lives of 40 persons, and at least 13 others were missing.Early December, Northern Tanzania. The heaviest rains in eight years set off floods that killed at least 30 persons and left more than 600 homeless.RailroadJanuary 4, Near Rena, Nor. In one of the worst railroad disasters in Norway's history, two passenger trains traveling at about 90 km/h (55 mph) collided head-on as they rounded a curve; 17 persons were confirmed dead, and several were missing.March 1, Near Ksar el-Kebir, Mor. A collision between a passenger train and a vehicle transporting farm workers at a railway crossing claimed the lives of at least 35 persons.August 20, Near Nairobi, Kenya. Nine train cars—six of them carrying liquefied gas—became detached from a freight train and derailed, igniting an explosion that killed 25 persons.October 11, Near Hwange, Zimb. A passenger train en route to Victoria Falls collided with a train transporting goods to Bulawayo; 15 persons lost their lives.December 2, Northern India. The end cars of a freight train derailed and strayed into the path of an oncoming passenger train; as many as 43 persons perished.TrafficJanuary 1, Fujian province, China. A bus rear-ended a truck hauling steel bars, which punctured the front of the bus upon collision; 22 persons died, and 29 were injured.January 2, Southern Peru. A crowded bus left a mountain road and plummeted some 150 m (495 ft) into a ravine; at least 29 persons perished, and 7 others were injured.January 4, Near Quito, Ecuador. A bus fell off a mountain road into a ravine about 40 km (25 mi) east of Quito; at least 15 persons died, and 30 were injured.January 10, Central Malawi. A truck transporting some 40 mourners and the coffin of a dead child was struck head-on by another vehicle near a one-lane bridge, then plummeted into the Kaombe River; at least 15 persons lost their lives, including the mother, grandmother, and siblings of the deceased child.January 12, Near Pouso Redondo, Braz. A double-decker tourist bus collided head-on with another bus in heavy fog on a mountain highway; the collision started a pileup involving several other cars. At least 42 persons died, and 50 were injured.January 13, Near Cairo. A collision between two buses claimed the lives of 21 persons and injured 19.January 23, Near Queenstown, S.Af. A crowded bus veered from a rain-slickened highway and overturned, killing at least 30 persons.Late January, Punjab state, India. A truck overturned and hit two oncoming cars; 18 persons died.January 31, Near Bhansali, India. A bus traveling in the lower Himalayas went out of control and dropped into a gorge; 31 persons died.February 14, Central Vietnam. A collision between two buses sent one careening into a river; 17 of the 73 persons on board were confirmed dead.February 19, Near Huancayo, Peru. A bus smashed through the barriers of a narrow, rain-slickened bridge in the Andes and landed in a river; 31 persons died, and 15 were injured.March 6, Near Coronel Oviedo, Paraguay. A collision between a bus and a truck loaded with bricks claimed the lives of at least 32 persons.March 6, Sindh province, Pak. An overcrowded bus careened off a road and landed in a ravine; at least 52 persons were killed, and 24 were injured.March 17, Leogane, Haiti. A collision between a bus and a truck claimed the lives of 18 persons.March 29, Near Kericho, Kenya. A head-on collision between two buses occurred after one bus swerved to avoid a pothole and crossed into the lane of the other bus; at least 101 persons died.April 3, Near Miracatu, Braz. A container fell off a truck and struck a bus on the Regis Bitencourt Highway; 18 persons were killed.April 15, Central Guatemala. A bus overloaded with passengers overturned in a curve on a mountainous road in Sacatepéquez department; at least 30 persons died.April 19/20, Near Mtito Andei, Kenya. An overcrowded bus collided head-on with a truck, killing 69 persons and injuring 30.April 23, Northern Honduras. A tourist bus crashed in Rio Lindo after a brake failure; at least 22 persons died, and 60 were injured.May 8, Dandipur, India. A bus crowded with passengers, some sitting on the roof, swerved off the road to avoid hitting an oncoming truck and plummeted into a canal; 20 persons died, and 50 were injured.May 13, Bosnia and Herzegovina. A bus carrying Muslim worshipers from Zenica to a prayer gathering in Buna fell off a bridge into the Bosna River after smashing through a guardrail; 43 persons perished, and 11 were injured.June 5, Jammu and Kashmir, India. A bus careened off a mountain road and plunged into the Chenab River near the village of Thatri; at least 30 persons died, and 15 were injured.June 12, Abia state, Nigeria. A collision involving an oil tanker and two buses claimed the lives of 30 persons.June 29, Near Nazret, Eth. At least 60 persons died when a bus en route from Addis Ababa to Harer crashed in a ravine.July 6, Southeastern Morocco. A collision between a truck and a passenger bus killed at least 19 persons and injured 20.July 6, Near Soria, Spain. A truck hauling livestock swerved out of control and collided head-on with a chartered bus filled with teenagers heading to summer camp; at least 27 persons died.July 14, Near Kimchon, S.Kor. A pileup involving three school buses and a truck occurred on a rain-slickened highway and claimed the lives of more than 20 persons, at least 14 of whom were students.July 17, Southern Egypt. A minibus collided with a car, and the two vehicles were then slammed by a truck; 18 persons died, and at least 15 were injured.August 12, Near Bordj Bou Arreridj, Alg. A collision between an oil truck and a bus killed 22 persons.August 22, Sarawak state, Malaysia. After colliding with a car, a truck went out of control and then slammed into a bus; at least 15 persons died.August 24, Eastern Kenya. A bus that was reportedly overloaded with passengers and traveling at a high speed fell from a bridge into a river near the town of Meru; at least 37 persons died, and 19 were injured.August 28, Edea, Cameroon. A bus ran off a road and rolled several times after its driver attempted to pass a truck; 15 persons died, and 30 were seriously injured.September 5, Southwestern Rwanda. Brake failure caused a bus to slam into a stopped truck; 39 persons died, and more than 80 were injured.September 10, West Bengal state, India. A bus plummeted into a river after its driver lost control of the vehicle; at least 20 persons died.October 14, Central Turkey. A head-on collision between two buses claimed the lives of 19 persons and injured 29.November 4, Southwestern Nigeria. An oil tanker truck slammed into a line of cars stopped at a police checkpoint and burst into flames; at least 200 persons died.November 13, Near Jahanian, Pak. A head-on collision between two buses killed 40 persons and injured at least 17; one of the buses had apparently swerved to avoid hitting a cyclist.Mid-November, Northern Egypt. A bus collided with a tractor and overturned in an irrigation canal; as many as 30 persons were believed dead.November 23, Southern Nigeria. A bus fell from a bridge into a river, killing 60 persons.Late November, Northern Thailand. A bus swerved from a four-lane highway and fell into a ditch; at least 20 persons were killed, and 15 were injured.December 14, Western Saudi Arabia. After a bus and a truck collided head-on, both vehicles caught fire; 26 persons perished.December 19, Himachal Pradesh state, India. A truck plunged down a mountain gorge, killing some 50 persons.December 24, Central Bolivia. A collision between two buses claimed the lives of 17 persons and injured 48.MiscellaneousFebruary, Southern Bangladesh. At least 40 persons died and some 100 others became ill after drinking a brew of contaminated homemade liquor.Late March, Krishnanagar, India. At least 18 persons died after drinking illegally brewed liquor that was apparently contaminated with methyl alcohol.June 19, Dover, Eng. British customs officials discovered the bodies of 58 illegal Chinese immigrants who had suffocated in an airtight compartment of a Dutch-registered truck that had arrived on a ferry from Belgium; two persons were found alive inside the compartment. The driver of the truck was charged with 58 counts of manslaughter, and Dutch authorities brought charges against several others.July 10, Manila. Heavy rain from a typhoon caused a massive garbage dump to avalanche on a shantytown known as the “Promised Land”; by mid-July 196 persons had been confirmed dead, and hundreds were still missing.September 1, Pucallpa, Peru. At least 15 persons died and 14 were hospitalized after they drank cocktails tainted with rubbing alcohol.October, El Salvador. In numerous incidents throughout the country, at least 119 persons lost their lives after drinking liquor contaminated with methyl alcohol.Mid-November, Nairobi, Kenya. At least 34 persons died and some 112 were hospitalized after they drank contaminated homemade liquor.▪ 2000IntroductionThe following list records the major disasters that occurred in 1999. Events included in this feature involved the loss of 15 or more lives and/or significant damage to property.AviationJanuary 21, Near Bluefields, Nic. A military cargo plane en route to Bluefields went down along the Atlantic coast; all 28 persons aboard the craft were killed.February 2, Luanda, Angola. A passenger plane crashed shortly after takeoff, slamming into several houses before exploding in flames; 19 persons were killed.February 24, Near Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, China. An airliner with 61 persons aboard crashed in a farm field and exploded; there were no survivors.March 7, Near New Delhi. After striking an electric wire, an air force transport plane plunged into a residential area and exploded; 22 persons died.March 16, Near Sobolevo, Russia. A helicopter carrying 26 persons, most of them construction workers, crashed about 30 km (18 mi) from Sobolevo; 19 persons were killed.June 3, Eastern Sudan. An air force plane crashed in the desert about 80 km (50 mi) east of Khartoum after a technical failure caused the pilot to lose control of the craft; all 50 persons aboard the craft were killed.June 17, Near Goroka, Papua New Guinea. A small passenger plane with 17 persons aboard went down in mountainous terrain; there were no survivors.August 7, Santo Antão Island, Cape Verde. A passenger plane slammed into a cliff while flying in fog and rain; all 18 persons aboard died.August 31, Buenos Aires, Arg. A Boeing 737 jetliner veered from the runway on takeoff, crashed through an airport fence, plowed across a busy highway, and came to rest in flames on a nearby golf course; at least 64 persons aboard the plane and another 10 on the ground were killed.September 5, Near Kathmandu, Nepal. A passenger plane struck a telecommunications tower while descending to land; all 15 persons aboard the plane died.October 31, Off the coast of Nantucket, Mass. An EgyptAir Boeing 767-300 en route from New York to Cairo with 217 persons aboard plummeted into the Atlantic Ocean, killing everyone aboard; the cause of the crash was unknown, although investigators found no evidence that mechanical or weather problems were to blame and analysis of cockpit voice tapes indicated a struggle for control of the plane among members of the crew.November 10, Near Uruapan, Mex. A DC-9 bound for Mexico City crashed shortly after takeoff, killing all 18 persons aboard the craft.November 12, Northern Kosovo. A UN airplane transporting humanitarian workers to the province slammed into a mountain, killing all 24 persons aboard.December 7, Northern Philippines. A twin-engine plane with 17 persons aboard crashed in mountainous terrain in Nueva Vizcaya province after encountering rain and fog; there were no survivors.December 11, Azores archipelago, Portugal. A plane flying through heavy fog crashed into a mountain, killing all 35 persons aboard.December 22, Guatemala City, Guat. A Cuban airliner transporting Guatemalan students home for the holidays skidded off a runway after touching down and slammed into nearby homes; at least 26 persons died, and 44 were injured.December 25, Near Valencia, Venez. A Cuban airliner en route to Valencia crashed on a mountainside while making its approach to land; all 22 persons aboard the plane were killed.Fires and ExplosionsMarch 14, New Delhi. At least 22 persons were killed and thousands were left homeless after a fire swept through a crowded slum; the blaze, whose cause was unknown, was fanned by strong winds and rapidly destroyed more than 1,000 thatched-roof huts.March 18, Mikhaylovskoye, Russia. An electrical fault ignited a fire in a mental institution that claimed the lives of at least 21 persons.March 24–26, Near Mont Blanc, France. A fire raged for two days inside the Mont Blanc tunnel connecting France and Italy; the blaze started on a truck at the midpoint of the 11.6-km (7.2-mi)-long tunnel; at least 42 persons died.Early April, Northern China. A forest fire in a mountainous area of Shanxi province claimed the lives of 23 persons who were fighting the blaze.May 16, Punjab province, Pak. An overturned tanker truck loaded with gasoline exploded, killing at least 65 persons who were trying to collect fuel leaking from the tanker.May 31, New Delhi. A chemical explosion caused a fire in a storehouse that killed at least 16 persons and injured 42 others.June 12, Shenzhen, Guangdong province, China. A fire trapped workers at an electronics factory; 16 persons were killed, and 8 were injured.June 30, Hwasung, S.Kor. Sparks from mosquito coils ignited a fire that swept through a three-story dormitory building at a summer camp; 23 persons, including 19 children, died in the blaze; after reports surfaced that the building violated safety regulations, authorities arrested a dozen people, including the camp's owner and the architects who designed the building.Late July, Qadih, Saudi Arabia. At least 44 members of a wedding party, including the bride and eight of her relatives, died when the main tent at the wedding caught fire; more than 100 were injured.September 26, Celaya, Mex. A blast in an illegal fireworks warehouse triggered a series of explosions in a crowded market; at least 56 persons died, and 348 were injured.October 30, Inchon, S.Kor. A fire swept through a crowded tavern that illegally catered to minors, killing 55 persons, most of them teenagers, and injuring at least 70.MarineFebruary 7, Off the coast of Tambelan Islands, Indonesia. A passenger ship with 332 persons aboard sank in rough seas after the ship's pumps broke down; there were 20 survivors.March 6, Off the coast of Palm Beach, Fla. Two fishing boats overloaded with Haitians attempting to reach the U.S. capsized and sank, killing some 40 persons.March 7, Off the coast of Freetown, Sierra Leone. A boat overloaded with traders and their goods sank in rough seas; at least 100 persons lost their lives.March 22, Off the coast of Tombo, Sierra Leone. A motorized canoe that was carrying some 200 persons, about twice its capacity, capsized and sank; at least 150 persons drowned; the passengers were refugees who were returning to Tombo after having fled fighting in the port a week earlier.March 26, Eastern India. A storm caused a passenger boat to capsize in the Tileya Dam reservoir in Bihar; 27 persons were missing and presumed drowned.March 31, Off the coast of Sri Lanka. A North Korean freighter sank after colliding with a South Korean container ship in international waters; 37 of the 39 crew members aboard the North Korean vessel perished.April 1, Off the coast of Nigeria. An overcrowded ferry that was carrying some 300 persons, well over its capacity, sank in a storm; at least 100 persons drowned.May 8, Southern Bangladesh. An overcrowded ferry capsized in a storm on the Meghna River; as many as 300 of the 400 passengers aboard the vessel were presumed drowned.June 4, Lake Volta, Ghana. A ferry overloaded with passengers and goods capsized in strong winds; at least 60 persons were feared dead.Early July, Off the coast of southern Mexico. A collision between two overcrowded boats in rough seas claimed the lives of at least 40 persons.August 2, Off the coast of Pepel, Sierra Leone. A boat capsized in a storm and sank, killing some 30 persons.August 20, Western New Guinea. A wooden ship carrying more than 90 persons—nearly twice its capacity—sank in the Klamono River; 20 persons died.October 18, Off the coast of Merauke, Irian Jaya, Indon. An overloaded passenger ship sank; of the 464 persons aboard the vessel, some 75 survived.November 24, Off the coast of Yantai, Shandong province, China. A ferry carrying more than 300 persons caught fire and sank; 22 persons survived.November 26, Off the coast of Haugesund, Nor. A high-speed ferry sank after crashing into a rock in rough seas; at least 11 persons died, and 9 were missing.December 23, Off the coast of Bantayan Island, Philippines. A ferry carrying more than 650 passengers sank in rough seas, apparently after an onboard explosion; at least 54 died.December 26, Lake Victoria, Uganda. An overloaded canoe was capsized by a large wave; 16 persons were feared dead.MiningJanuary 16, Guizhou province, China. A gas explosion at a privately run coal mine claimed the lives of 35 miners and injured 8.May 24, Near Donetsk, Ukraine. A powerful methane gas explosion ripped through an underground shaft in the Zasyadko coal mine; at least 50 miners died, and dozens more were injured.July 29, Near Johannesburg, S.Af. A buildup of methane gas was the apparent cause of an explosion deep in a shaft of a gold mine; 19 miners lost their lives.August 24, Henan province, China. A gas explosion at a state-owned coal mine ignited a fire; at least 19 miners were killed, and 36 were missing.NaturalEarly January, Midwestern U.S. A blizzard dumped heavy snow on Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, and Wisconsin; at least 50 persons died in the storm, including 10 in Illinois.January 7, Bali, Indon. A landslide triggered by heavy rains claimed the lives of 41 persons.January 14, Southern India. At least 51 Hindu worshipers died when part of a hill caved in at the site of the Sabarimala shrine in the state of Kerala.Mid-January, Southeastern U.S. A series of tornadoes wreaked havoc in the region, claiming the lives of eight persons in Tennessee and five days later killing at least six in Arkansas.January 18, Eastern South Africa. A storm pummeled the villages of Mount Ayliff and Kokstad, killing 21 persons and injuring 303.January 25, Western Colombia. An earthquake of magnitude 6.2 caused widespread damage across the country's mountainous interior, devastating the cities of Armenia, Calarcá, and Pereira and leaving tens of thousands of persons homeless; more than 1,000 persons died.Early February, Southern Philippines. Flash floods brought on by heavy rains claimed the lives of at least 20 persons in the provinces of Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte, and Surigao del Sur.February 23–24, Western Austria. A massive avalanche struck the Alpine village of Galtür, and another avalanche hit the village of Valzur a day later; the two snowslides killed 33 persons.March, Inhambane province, Mozambique. The worst flooding in Inhambane in 40 years destroyed more than 16,000 ha (39,500 ac) of crops and displaced some 70,000 persons; 32 persons died.March 29, Uttar Pradesh state, India. An earthquake of magnitude 6.8 rocked the northern Himalayan foothills near the Indian-Tibetan border; more than 100 persons were killed.April 15, Western Colombia. Two mud slides triggered by weeks of torrential rains engulfed part of the town of Argelia, killing at least 40 persons.Mid-April, India. A heat wave killed at least 40 persons across the country, including 28 in the state of Orissa.May 3, Oklahoma and southern Kansas. A series of tornadoes claimed the lives of 44 persons, injured more than 500, and destroyed more than 1,500 buildings.May 7, Southern Iran. An earthquake of magnitude 6.5 that occurred near the city of Shiraz was followed by as many as 50 aftershocks; at least 26 persons died, and more than 100 were injured.Late May–early June, Southern Pakistan. A cyclone struck the coastal states of Thatta and Badin on May 20, causing widespread flooding; 128 persons were confirmed dead, 1,000 others were missing, and more than 50,000 were left homeless.June–July, Bangladesh. Widespread flooding left one-tenth of the country under water and destroyed more than 54,000 ha (133,000 ac) of crops; of the estimated 400,000 persons affected by the floods, at least 24 died.June 15, Central Mexico. A magnitude-6.7 earthquake occurred in and around Puebla state, damaging some 32 colonial-era churches, among numerous other buildings; 17 persons were killed.Late June–July, Southeastern China. Heavy flooding along the Chang Jiang (Yangtze River), particularly in the provinces of Zhejiang, Anhui, Hubei, and Jiangxi, left at least 240 persons dead.Late June–July, Bihar state, India. Heavy flooding that affected more than 2,000 villages and damaged property and crops worth more than $10 million claimed the lives of as many as 125 persons.July 8, Northern and eastern Tajikistan. After a mud slide killed at least 23 persons in the Leninabad region, a second mud slide claimed the lives of 5 persons in the region of Jirgital.Late July–August, Midwestern and eastern U.S. A severe heat wave brought blistering temperatures and drought conditions to much of the country; at least 190 persons, including 80 in Illinois, were killed.Early August, South Korea. More than 40 persons died in floods, mud slides, and rain-related accidents that occurred across the country.Early August, Philippines. Typhoon Olga dumped heavy rain and set off flooding and landslides across the country; more than 111 persons died, and some 80,000 were left homeless.August 17, Western Turkey. A powerful 7.4-magnitude earthquake struck a heavily populated area stretching from a western suburb of Istanbul to the city of Adapazari northeast of the Sea of Marmara. The official death toll was 15,872; at least 43,000 people were injured in the quake, and thousands more were missing. An estimated 600,000 persons were left homeless.Early September, Eastern Uganda. A landslide in the province of Manjija killed 18 persons, seriously injured 6 others, and rendered some 300 homeless.September 7, Athens. An earthquake of magnitude 5.9 killed 143 persons, injured more than 2,000, destroyed or damaged some 38,000 buildings, and left 100,000 persons homeless.Mid-September, Eastern U.S. Powerful Hurricane Floyd pummeled states along the East Coast on September 15–17, hitting North Carolina particularly hard; by September 23 some 30,000 homes had been flooded and 42 lives had been lost in eastern North Carolina; other states reporting 2 or more deaths from flood-related problems were New Jersey, Virginia, and Pennsylvania.September 21, Taiwan. A massive earthquake of magnitude 7.6 struck the island, its epicentre located in north-central Nantou province; some 2,300 persons were killed, nearly 9,000 were injured, and an estimated 100,000 were left homeless by the quake, which also destroyed thousands of homes and other structures.September 24, Japan. Typhoon Bart claimed the lives of at least 26 persons in western Honshu and triggered a tornado that injured some 350 persons in Toyohashi.September 30, Southern Mexico. An earthquake of magnitude 7.5 killed at least 29 persons, including 27 in the state of Oaxaca, where some 10,500 homes were damaged.Early October, Eastern and southern Mexico. Widespread flooding occurred along Mexico's Gulf Coast and throughout its southern states; at least 222 persons lost their lives.Late October–early November, Vietnam. Relentless storms produced the worst flooding in Vietnam in a century; at least 488 persons died, including 283 in Thua Thien Hue province.Late October–early November, Eastern India. A violent cyclone pummeled the state of Orissa on October 29, destroying numerous villages and giving rise to devastating floods; by mid-November the government had confirmed the deaths of 9,463 persons, and another 8,000 were missing in Jagatsinghpur, the worst-hit district.November 12, Western Turkey. A magnitude-7.2 earthquake claimed the lives of at least 750 persons in the same area rocked by a more powerful earthquake on August 17.Mid-November, Southwestern France. Rainstorms in the region caused mud slides and flooding that killed at least 27 persons.Early December, Central Vietnam. A week of torrential rains triggered flooding that claimed the lives of 114 persons.December 22, An Temouchent, Alg. An earthquake claimed the lives of at least 20 persons and injured 75.December 22–24, Eastern South Africa. Flash floods produced by torrential rains left 20 persons dead and thousands homeless in the cities of Durban and Pinetown.Mid–late December, Northern Venezuela. The worst flooding in Venezuela in a century devastated nine states along the country's Caribbean coast; the floods set off massive mud slides that destroyed numerous towns, including the city of Carmen de Uria; government officials put the death toll at 30,000, though the Red Cross estimated that as many as 50,000 persons may have been killed.December 25–28, Western Europe. Two waves of storms wreaked havoc across much of the continent, knocking out power and producing heavy snow and rain. The first wave struck southern Britain, northern France, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy; the second wave pummeled southern France, northern Spain, Switzerland, Italy, the Balkans, and northern Turkey. The storms claimed the lives of at least 136 persons, including 88 in France.RailroadMarch 24, Southern Kenya. A passenger train en route from Nairobi to Mombasa derailed at high speed after an apparent brake failure; 32 persons were killed, and 254 were injured.April 27, Northern India. A collision between a speeding train and a crowded bus at a railway crossing claimed the lives of at least 45 persons.July 16, Near Mathura, India. A cargo train derailed and minutes later was hit by a passenger train; at least 17 persons died, and 170 were injured.August 2, Gaisal, India. In one of the worst railroad accidents in India's history, a head-on collision between two crowded passenger trains traveling at high speed claimed the lives of at least 285 persons, and at least 312 were injured; a signal failure or human error was blamed for the crash.October 5, London. A collision between two crowded commuter trains near Paddington Station occurred after one train passed through a red light; 31 persons died.December 18, Central Nigeria. A collision between a passenger train and a truck at a railroad crossing in Benue state killed some 50 persons.TrafficMid-January, Guizhou province, China. A minibus went out of control on a sharp curve and plunged 67 m (220 ft) down a hill, killing at least 19 persons.January 20, Near Manila. After its brakes failed on a mountain road, a bus plunged into a ravine; 21 persons died, and 32 were injured.January 24, Southern Austria. A bus carrying Hungarian passengers on a ski trip skidded off the road and crashed; at least 18 persons, most of them teenagers, were killed.January 25, Cairo. A bus veered off an overpass and dropped onto a busy city square; 22 persons died, and 21 were injured.February 23, Central Vietnam. A head-on collision between two buses claimed the lives of 22 persons and injured 14.March 3, Near Cairo. A bus crashed into a canal after its driver swerved to avoid hitting a tractor; 19 persons were killed, and 28 were injured.March 8, Northern Peru. A bus veered off a cliff in the Andes and plummeted down a steep ravine, killing 29 persons.April 21, Northern Morocco. An overloaded truck fell into a dry river after the driver lost control of the vehicle; 18 persons were killed, and 17 were injured.April 23, Southern Mexico. A truck ran off a road and plunged 76 m (250 ft) down a ravine; at least 45 persons, including 28 children, were killed.May 9, New Orleans. A chartered bus carrying senior citizens on a gambling excursion ran off a highway and crashed into an embankment, killing 23 persons and injuring 20.May 10, Dhambang, Nepal. A bus fell 200 m (656 ft) from a mountain highway, killing 32 persons and injuring 36.June 7, Davanagere, India. After blowing a tire, an overcrowded bus careened off a bridge and dropped into a lake; 94 persons perished.August 2, Northern India. A bus plummeted into a gorge after its driver lost control of the vehicle; at least 18 persons died.September 14, Central Peru. A bus careened off a bridge and fell into the Mantaro River; 27 persons were killed, and 35 were injured.September 19, Northeastern Spain. A bus fell from a highway into a ditch full of water, killing at least 29 persons.September 24, Near Cuzco, Peru. A wet road collapsed under the weight of a bus, sending the bus plummeting into a ravine in the Andes; at least 16 persons died, and 34 were injured.September 27, Mpumalanga province, S.Af. A bus carrying British tourists on a sightseeing tour in Sabi Sabi game preserve plunged down a steep mountainside and overturned; at least 26 persons were killed.Early October, Near Kindia, Guinea. A truck overloaded with people and goods swerved from the road and crashed into a ravine; 20 persons died, and 25 were injured.October 3, Eastern Cape province, S.Af. A bus rolled down a river embankment after the driver lost control of the vehicle; 19 persons died, and 47 were injured.October 9, Northern Israel. A bus overturned on a rain-slickened road and fell into a ravine; 16 persons perished.October 9, Near Cairo. A head-on collision between a tractor trailer and a military truck claimed the lives of 26 persons.October 11, Near San Salvador, El Salvador. A bus swerved from a highway and plunged into a ravine; at least 46 persons died.November 6, Near Montevideo, Uruguay. A bus, swerving to avoid a collision with another vehicle, went over a cliff; 19 persons died.Late December, Near Dhaka, Bangladesh. A head-on collision between two buses claimed the lives of at least 24 persons.MiscellaneousLate February–Early March, Northeastern Brazil. At least 30 persons died after drinking a brew of contaminated liquor produced at an illegal factory.Early May, Narsingdi, Bangladesh. At least 118 persons, mostly industrial workers and rickshaw pullers, died after drinking whiskey contaminated with methyl alcohol.May 30, Minsk, Belarus. A stampede occurred in a passageway of an underground railway station following a beer festival and concert; 53 persons—most of them teenage girls—were killed, and 78 were seriously injured.July 1, Saint-Étienne-en-Devoluy, France. A cable car at a ski resort in the French Alps came unhooked and plunged 80 m (262 ft) onto a mountain slope, killing all 20 persons aboard; it was the worst cable car accident in France's history.July 27, Interlaken, Switz. Adventurers participating in canyoning, an extreme sport that involves sliding through rapids and rappeling down waterfalls, were caught in a flash flood in a stream in the Swiss Alps; 19 persons died.Mid-September, Central Kenya. Methanol disguised with food colouring and water was served as whiskey to patrons at a tavern; at least 23 persons died.November 11, Foggia, Italy. A six-story apartment building collapsed before dawn; 30 persons were killed, and 27 were missing.Early December, Harare, Zimb. A power failure caused a lift carrying 15 construction workers to drop to the ground from the 10th floor of an office building; 15 persons died.December 8, Fez, Mor. The collapse of a poorly constructed five-story building claimed the lives of at least 47 persons; police arrested the building contractor following the disaster.▪ 1999IntroductionAviationJanuary 13, Southwestern Pakistan. An Afghan cargo plane carrying 51 persons, including members of the Islamic Taliban militia, ran out of fuel and slammed into a mountainside in a remote area; there were no survivors.January 28, Thandwe, Myanmar (Burma). A passenger plane spun out of control during takeoff and crashed; 14 persons were killed.February 2, Southern Philippines. An airliner en route to Cagayan de Oro crashed on a mountain about 45 km (28 mi) northeast of its destination; all 104 persons aboard the craft, including 5 crew members, perished.February 3, Cavalese, Italy. A low-flying U.S. military jet cut the cable of a ski lift on a resort in the Dolomite Mountains, sending a cable car hurtling some 80 m (260 ft) to the ground; all 20 passengers aboard the cable car were killed; it was later determined that the jet had strayed off course during a training flight and was flying at far below the approved minimum altitude.February 12, Southern Sudan. At least 13 persons, including First Vice Pres. Al-Zubeir Mohammed Saleh and other Sudanese senior government officials, died when their plane went down in bad weather during a tour of southern war zones.February 16, Taipei, Taiwan. While attempting to land in heavy fog, an airliner slammed into several houses and erupted in flames; all 197 persons aboard the craft were killed, along with at least 9 persons on the ground.March 20, Near Kabul, Afg. Bad weather was blamed after a Boeing 727 crashed into a mountain, killing all 45 persons aboard.March 29, Piura, Peru. An air force plane transporting civilians fleeing El Niño-driven floods lost power in one of its engines and crashed into a canal; at least 28 persons died.April 20, Bogotá, Colom. A Boeing 727 carrying 52 persons hit a fog-shrouded mountain shortly after takeoff; there were no survivors.May 5, Northeastern Peru. An air force plane being used to transport workers to an oil camp in a remote Amazon jungle plummeted into a swamp about five kilometres (three miles) short of its destination; of the 87 persons aboard, 13 survived.May 12, Southeastern Mauritania. A military transport plane crashed during a sandstorm; 36 of the 38 persons aboard were killed.May 26, Northern Mongolia. A passenger plane carrying 28 persons crashed shortly after takeoff; there were no survivors.June 4, East Timor. An Indonesian military helicopter crashed on a mountain in conditions of poor visibility; of the 12 persons aboard, one survived.June 18, Near Montreal. A commuter plane caught fire after takeoff, then exploded while attempting to make an emergency landing; all 11 persons aboard were killed.July 30, Off the coast of Quiberon, France. A collision between two small planes, one of which had deviated from its flight plan to fly over the giant cruise ship Norway, claimed the lives of all 15 persons aboard the two craft.August 23, Dominica. A charter plane carrying 11 persons crashed in bad weather in the northeastern part of the island; there were no survivors.August 24, Northern Laos. An airliner crashed on a mountain during bad weather; at least 33 persons were believed dead.August 29, Quito, Ecuador. After bursting into flames on takeoff, an airliner plowed through airport fences and into a nearby field where children were playing football (soccer); of the 90 persons aboard the plane, 69 perished, and 10 on the ground were killed.September 2, Off the coast of Nova Scotia. An airliner en route to Geneva with 229 persons aboard crashed into icy waters after the pilot reported smoke in the cabin; the plane had been attempting to make an emergency landing at Halifax International Airport when it disappeared from radar screens; there were no survivors.September 4, Southern Nevada. Two air force helicopters collided during a nighttime training mission over a remote mountainous area; all 12 crew members aboard the two choppers were killed.September 25, Northern Morocco. A Spanish passenger plane crashed into a hillside near the Mediterranean coast, killing all 38 persons on board.November 1, Southwestern Guatemala. A plane flying through heavy rain crashed into a mountain, killing 12 doctors who were on their way to perform medical relief work in the aftermath of Hurricane Mitch; six persons survived the crash.December 11, Southern Thailand. An airliner attempting to land in bad weather went down in a flooded rubber plantation; at least 44 persons perished.Fires and ExplosionsMid-late January, Abuja, Nigeria. At least 28 persons were killed by explosions of adulterated fuel; a mixture of kerosene and gasoline (petrol), the fuel was sold on the black market to unwitting residents of Abuja's shantytowns, who attempted to use it for cooking and lighting; another 80 persons suffered severe burns from the blasts.January 24, Hebei province, China. In separate incidents fireworks vendors demonstrating their wares in outdoor markets before the Chinese New Year celebration inadvertently set off two huge explosions that killed 47 persons and injured dozens of others.February 15, Yaoundé, Cameroon. An explosion at the site of a derailed train that had spilled its oil cargo claimed the lives of 120 persons and injured more than 150 others; the blast was thought to have occurred after someone lit a cigarette.March 22, Miles township, Pa. An early-morning fire engulfed a mountain cabin where 11 youths on a weekend outing were sleeping; there were no survivors; the cause of the fire was undetermined.March 26, Mombasa, Kenya. A blaze sparked by an electrical fault at a girls' boarding school claimed the lives of 26 students.May 5, Central Mexico. A forest fire blamed on dry weather conditions brought on by El Niño claimed the lives of 19 volunteer firefighters who were battling the blaze.May 14, Jakarta, Indon. A fire set during violent street riots swept through a five-story shopping mall; at least 110 persons were killed.May 16, Near Islamabad, Pak. Material used to manufacture fireworks exploded during a fire and caused the collapse of the three-story building where the material was stored; at least 13 persons were killed.June 8, Palembang, Indon. A fire that started on the second floor of a shopping mall quickly swept through the building; at least 50 persons were believed dead.October 17, Southern Nigeria. Hundreds of people were scavenging gasoline from holes in a state-owned pipeline when the pipeline exploded, igniting a huge fire that burned for several days; more than 700 persons died, and some 300 were injured.October 30, Göteborg, Swed. A fire raced through an overcrowded discotheque where hundreds of young people had gathered for a Halloween party; 63 persons were killed, and some 190 were seriously injured.December 3, Manila. A fire believed to have been caused by faulty electrical wiring engulfed a wooden building that housed an orphanage and child-care centre; at least 30 persons, mostly children, were killed.MarineJanuary 16, Off the coast of Newfoundland. A freighter registered in Cyprus broke in half for unknown reasons and sank near the islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon; 15 persons lost their lives, but 4 men survived the disaster by clinging to an overturned lifeboat until rescue helicopters arrived.January 21, Lake Victoria, Uganda. A boat loaded with fishermen and traders overturned near the Buvuma Islands; 17 persons drowned, and 13 were missing and feared dead.March 15, Southeastern Bangladesh. Two overcrowded ferries capsized on a river after being caught in a storm; at least 50 persons perished.March 31, Off the coast of Yemen. A boat crowded with Somali refugees sank in the Gulf of Aden, killing some 180 persons; 2 passengers and the 6-man crew survived.April 3, Near Kwamouth, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Two barges overloaded with passengers and cargo collided on the Kasai River; nearly 40 persons drowned.April 4, Off the coast of Nigeria. An overcrowded ferry capsized in rough waters; as many as 280 persons were feared dead.April 24, Southern Nicaragua. A boat carrying a group of U.S.-bound Ecuadorians capsized in rough waters in Lake Nicaragua and sank; of the 20 persons aboard, one survived.May 30, Northern India. At least 22 persons drowned when their boat capsized in the Chenab River about 122 km (75 mi) north of Jammu.June, California. An overabundance of melting snow in the Sierra Nevadas turned rivers into dangerous torrents; 11 whitewater rafters lost their lives.June 5, Guangdong province, China. An overcrowded ferry capsized in the middle of a river, killing at least 20 persons.June 8, Bermuda. A boat overloaded with Haitian refugees capsized when passengers rushed to one side of the vessel after police fired warning shots over the bow, and at least 30 persons drowned; reports that police had hit the boat were unconfirmed.July 5, Comoros. A makeshift boat overloaded with refugees from Anjouan who were attempting to reach the French-governed island of Mayotte capsized, killing 16 persons.July 26, Off the coast of Tamil Nadu, India. A boat carrying Sri Lankan refugees capsized after developing a leak; 45 persons were feared dead.Late August, Bihar, India. A boat capsized after being caught in a whirlpool on the Lakhandei River; at least 35 persons drowned.September 19, Manila Bay, Philippines. A large Philippine interisland ferry sank in stormy weather, possibly after its heavy cargo shifted and caused the vessel to tilt to one side; 43 persons were killed, and 48 were missing and feared dead.Early October, Northern Nigeria. An overloaded ferry capsized on a river and sank, killing 73 persons.October 8, Northern Spain. A tour boat loaded past capacity sank in Lake Banyoles; 20 persons, most of them French retirees, perished.October 23, Northern India. An overcrowded boat capsized on a swiftly flowing river; 10 persons were killed, and 27 were missing.MiningJanuary 16, Southern Yugoslavia. A methane gas explosion at a coal mine claimed the lives of 29 miners and injured 19.January 18, Vorkuta, Russia. A methane gas explosion at a coal mine caused a tunnel to collapse and sparked an underground fire; 27 miners were presumed dead.January 24, Liaoning province, China. A powerful gas explosion at one of China's largest coal mines killed 77 miners and injured 8.February 11, Western Bolivia. A mud slide attributed to heavy rain brought on by El Niño buried a gold mine in the Tipuani Mountains near the Peruvian border; at least 50 persons were killed.April 4, Donetsk, Ukraine. A buildup of methane gas was the cause of an explosion at a coal mine; 63 miners lost their lives.April 6, Henan province, China. A series of gas explosions at a coal mine killed at least 59 miners and left 25 missing.April 12, Mbuguni, Tanz. Flash floods induced by heavy rains caused 14 shafts at the Mererani tanzanite mines to collapse; at least 100 miners were feared dead.May 13, Sichuan province, China. A gas explosion at a coal mine killed at least 14 miners and injured more than 10.June 14, Southern Niger. Heavy rains were the apparent cause of a cave-in at a gold mine about 60 km (35 mi) southwest of Niamey; more than 30 miners were killed.July 17, Lassing, Austria. A mud slide snapped the cable of an underground elevator in a talc mine, stranding 10 men who were attempting to rescue a miner who had been trapped by an earlier mud slide; the 10 rescuers perished, but the miner trapped earlier was pulled out alive on July 26.August 16, Luhansk, Ukraine. A powerful methane gas explosion ripped through a coal mine, killing at least 24 miners and injuring 4.Late October, Guangxi province, China. A flash flood swept through two coal mines that had been closed for the rainy season but illegally reopened; 36 miners perished.November 29, Yunnan province, China. A gas explosion at a state-run coal mine killed at least 38 miners and injured 18.November 30, Northern Vietnam. A gold mine collapsed after heavy rainfall; at least 25 miners died.NaturalJanuary 2, Northern Spain and western France. Powerful storm winds were responsible for blowing cars off roads, toppling buildings, interrupting electricity, and creating high waves along coastlines; at least 18 persons lost their lives.Early January, Northern Bangladesh. An unusual cold spell claimed the lives of more than 130 persons, many of whom were homeless.Early January, Western Canada and Montana. At least 10 persons were killed by avalanches in the Rocky Mountains.January, Peru. The worst flooding in Peru in 50 years left some 70 persons dead and 22,000 homeless; the torrential rain that caused the floods was blamed on El Niño.January 5-11, Eastern Canada and northeastern U.S. A severe ice storm swept through Quebec, Ontario, and New Brunswick and parts of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York; more than three million homes were without power, some for two weeks or more, and at least 20 persons died.January 10, Hebei province, China. An earthquake of magnitude 6.2 claimed the lives of at least 50 persons and injured more than 10,000.Mid-January, Kenya. Floods triggered by unseasonal downpours killed at least 86 persons and caused extensive damage across the country.January 20, Central Mozambique. A landslide brought on by heavy rains destroyed mountain settlements in Zambezia province; at least 26 persons were killed, and some 60 were missing.January 23, Near Les Orres, France. An avalanche in the French Alps claimed the lives of 11 persons on a school outing.February 4, Northeastern Afghanistan. An earthquake of magnitude 6.1 and subsequent tremors killed some 4,500 persons and left 30,000 homeless.February 23, Central Florida. Tornadoes killed at least 42 persons, injured more than 260, and left hundreds homeless.February 23, Tajikistan. An avalanche buried a house in a mountainous area about 100 km (60 mi) east of Dushanbe; of the 12 persons inside the house, only one survived.February 27, Aobamba, Peru. About 40 workers digging a canal in the Andes were swept to their death by a mud slide brought on by weeks of heavy rain.March 3-4, Baluchistan, Pak. Flash floods claimed the lives of 300 persons; 1,500 were missing and presumed dead, and some 25,000 were left homeless.March 4, Rio Cana, Ecuador. A mud slide that followed days of torrential rain buried a mountain village; at least 17 persons were killed.March 7, Near Kabul, Afg. An avalanche near the Salang Pass in the Hindu Kush Mountains killed at least 70 persons.March 20, Georgia and North Carolina. Tornadoes killed at least 14 persons and injured 80 in northern Georgia; 2 persons were killed and at least 22 injured by a tornado in North Carolina.Late March, Eastern India. A cyclone devastated several villages in the states of West Bengal and Orissa; at least 200 persons died, and some 10,000 were left homeless.March 31, Thangu, India. A strong blast of wind triggered an avalanche that buried an army camp in northern Sikkim state; 19 soldiers were killed.Early April, Iran. Floods across the country claimed the lives of 100 persons.Early-mid-April, Southern U.S. Tornadoes ripped through parts of Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia on April 8-9, leaving 39 persons dead; on April 16 two tornadoes claimed the lives of at least 10 persons in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Arkansas.Mid-late April, Argentina and Paraguay. Massive flooding along the Paraná basin caused extensive damage and forced some 100,000 persons to evacuate their homes; at least 18 persons lost their lives.Early May, Southern Italy. A river of mud swamped the mountain town of Sarno and nearby villages after torrential rains; at least 135 persons were killed.May-early June, India. A severe heat wave, India's worst in 50 years, claimed the lives of at least 2,500 persons; more than 1,000 deaths occurred in Orissa.May 20, Central Bolivia. An earthquake of magnitude 6.8 destroyed the towns of Aiquile and Totora and killed at least 105 persons.May 22, Southeastern Bangladesh. A cyclone struck coastal areas, killing at least 25 persons and injuring more than 100.May 30, Northern Afghanistan. A magnitude-6.9 earthquake destroyed some 60 villages and killed at least 5,000 persons.June-July, Texas. A blistering heat wave claimed the lives of 110 persons.June-August, Northeastern China. Widespread flooding along the Chang Jiang (Yangtze River) caused $20 billion in damage and claimed the lives of 3,656 persons, according to a senior government official; the floods affected an estimated 230 million residents.June 9, Western India. The most powerful cyclone to hit India in 25 years struck the coast in Gujarat state; according to an official report, 1,754 persons were missing and feared dead.Mid-June, Northern Romania. Floods triggered by heavy rain were responsible for the deaths of 21 persons.June 27, Southern Turkey. An earthquake of magnitude 6.3 claimed the lives of at least 129 persons and injured more than 1,000.Late June, Midwestern and eastern U.S. Thunderstorms, floods, and tornadoes occurred from Wisconsin to West Virginia and along the Appalachian Mountains as far north as Vermont; at least 21 persons lost their lives, including 11 in Ohio.July, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. Massive flooding claimed the lives of at least 115 persons.July-August, South Korea. Floods brought on by record rainfalls left 234 persons dead and 91 missing; more than 121,000 persons were homeless.July 9, Azores. A magnitude-5.8 earthquake rocked the Portuguese islands in the North Atlantic Ocean; 10 persons were killed, and 90 were injured.Mid-July-mid-September, Bangladesh. Extraordinarily heavy monsoonal rains left more than two-thirds of the country under water; at least 1,000 persons died, and more than 30 million persons lost their homes.July 17, Papua New Guinea. A tsunami struck the northern coast, killing at least 500 persons and destroying several villages.Late July, Eastern Slovakia. Floods triggered by severe storms claimed the lives of at least 21 persons.Early August, Cyprus. A severe heat wave was responsible for the deaths of 48 persons, many of whom were elderly.Early-mid-August, Yemen. Floods produced by torrential rains killed at least 30 persons across the country.Mid-August-early September, Northern and eastern India. Floods and landslides claimed the lives of at least 1,000 persons.August 23-24, Southern Texas and northern Mexico. Flooding along the rain-swollen Rio Grande left 16 persons dead and more than 60 missing.August 26, Northern Guatemala. A mud slide that swamped several mountain villages killed at least 25 persons and forced 4,000 from their homes.Late August, Northern Japan. Landslides and floods related to Typhoon Rex left 11 persons dead and 5 missing; 40,000 persons were forced to evacuate their homes.Early September, Southern Mexico. Floods produced by days of heavy rain killed at least 185 persons in the state of Chiapas; some 25,000 were left homeless.September-October, The Sudan. Heavy flooding along the Nile River destroyed more than 120,000 homes and left at least 200,000 persons homeless; at least 88 persons died, including 63 Sudanese herdsman who were swept away in a flash flood on October 12 in the state of Kordofan.September 21-28, Caribbean and U.S. Gulf Coast. With winds of up to 193 km/h (120 mph), Hurricane Georges devastated the region, causing extensive damage and at least 300 deaths in the Caribbean, including some 250 in the Dominican Republic and at least 27 in Haiti; the hurricane also pounded parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida, dumping heavy rain and causing 4 deaths.Late September-early October, South Korea. According to government officials, Tropical Storm Yanni flooded a quarter of the country's cropland and left at least 27 persons dead and 28 missing.October 1, Tenextepango, Mex. A week of heavy rain in central Mexico triggered a mud slide that killed 12 persons.Mid-October, Philippines, Taiwan, and Japan. Typhoon Zeb wreaked havoc on its sweep through Asia, killing at least 74 persons in the Philippines, 25 in Taiwan, and at least 12 in Japan.October 17-18, Texas. Heavy rain left one-quarter of the state under water; at least 22 persons died in the floods, including 6 in San Antonio.October 20-22, Central Vietnam. Floods caused by heavy downpours claimed the lives of 52 persons and caused extensive damage.Late October, Central America. Powerful Hurricane Mitch tore through the region, producing torrential rain and creating winds as high as 240 km/h (150 mph); considered the worst Atlantic basin hurricane in 200 years, Mitch caused extensive damage and left more than 1.5 million persons homeless; the number of confirmed deaths reached 6,500 in Honduras, 1,845 in Nicaragua, 239 in El Salvador, 253 in Guatemala, 8 in Costa Rica, and 2 in Panama; an additional 12,000 persons in the region had disappeared.Late October, Philippines. Typhoon Babs cut a destructive swath through the country, triggering landslides and floods and claiming the lives of at least 132 persons; some 320,000 persons were left homeless.Mid-November, Western Ukraine. Floods in the Carpathian Mountains destroyed some 30 villages and forced at least 8,000 persons from their homes; at least 12 persons died.Mid-late November, Europe. An intense cold wave claimed the lives of at least 71persons across the continent, including 36 in Poland.November 19-23, Central Vietnam. Typhoon Dawn, the worst storm to hit the region in 30 years, triggered devastating floods that forced some 200,000 persons from their homes; more than 100 persons were killed.Mid-December, Central Vietnam. At least 22 deaths were blamed on Tropical Storms Faith and Gil, which dumped heavy rain on the region; thousands were displaced.December 15, Umtata, S.Af. A tornado killed at least 17 persons and injured at least 162.RailroadJanuary 5, Near Lucknow, India. A passenger train sped through a red light in thick fog and plowed into the back of an express train, which had stopped after hitting a nilgai (Indian antelope); 54 persons were killed, and 64 were injured.March 6, Central Finland. An express passenger train derailed as it was slowing before a station stop; 11 persons were killed, including an engineer, and 39 were injured.April 24, Near Bombay. Several cars of a freight train detached from the main body and rolled to hit a stationary passenger train; at least 24 persons lost their lives.May 10, Eastern Bangladesh. A passenger train crashed into a cargo train stopped at a station; 17 persons were killed, and 26 were injured.May 22, Near Blantyre, Malawi. A passenger train derailed on a steep hill after a brake failure; 20 persons were killed, and more than 200 were injured.June 3, Near Eschede, Ger. A high-speed InterCity Express (ICE) train traveling at 200 km/h (125 mph) derailed and slammed into a concrete overpass, and at least 100 persons were killed; a faulty wheel was determined to have caused the derailment.August 13, Near Karur, India. At a railway crossing a train rammed into a crowded bus that apparently had stalled on the tracks after crashing through a warning gate; 19 persons were killed.October 18, Kafr ad-Dawwar, Egypt. A passenger train derailed when its driver changed tracks at high speed, and the train then plowed into a crowded market square; 47 persons were killed.November 26, Northwestern India. A collision between two trains claimed the lives of at least 205 persons.TrafficJanuary 3, Near Jhelum, Pak. A multiple pileup involving an oil tanker, a truck, and an overcrowded bus claimed the lives of at least 50 persons.January 7, Central Kenya. A bus plunged off a bridge into a river after the driver lost control of the vehicle; at least 54 persons were killed.January 13, West Bengal, India. A school bus skidded off a road and plummeted into a river after the driver lost control of the vehicle in a thick fog; at least 66 persons died.January 14, Near La Paz, Bol. A truck carrying farmers headed to La Paz to sell coca leaves overturned while crossing the Andes, possibly because of brake problems; 28 persons lost their lives.February 14, Near Amritsar, India. A minibus carrying members of a wedding party plummeted from a road into a canal; at least 28 persons died.February 21, Nagoan, India. A collision between a bus and a truck claimed the lives of at least 16 persons.February 26, Near Lokoja, Nigeria. A bus crashed into a ditch after losing a tire; 40 persons were killed.March 2, Binh Dinh province, Vietnam. An overcrowded bus crashed through the railings of a bridge and fell into a lake, apparently after it attempted to pass a truck; some 50 persons were feared dead.April 3, Southern Turkey. A collision between a bus and a fuel tanker near the Syrian border claimed the lives of at least 32 Iranians who were making the annual pilgrimage to Mecca.April 15, Near Newcastle, S.Af. A multiple pileup involving a school bus, horse and trailer, minibus, car, and taxi occurred in rainy weather on a stretch of open road; 31 persons were killed, and at least 50 were injured.April 26, Near Villafranqueza, Spain. A tour bus full of senior citizens overturned while trying to stop on a rain-slickened bridge, then rolled off the side and plummeted down an embankment; 10 persons were killed, and 38 were injured.May 3, Northern Tanzania. An overcrowded bus attempting to cross a flooded bridge was swept away by a rain-swollen river; 72 persons perished.May 7, Near Kishtwar, India. A bus skidded off a road and fell into a gorge; at least 17 persons were killed.May 26, Near Tehran. A bus plunged into a reservoir after the driver lost control of the vehicle; 18 persons died.June 27, Near Lima, Peru. A crowded bus traveling in fog plummeted off a steep cliff; 18 persons were killed.July 5, Northern India. A truck overloaded with worshipers returning from a prayer meeting at a Hindu temple fell 100 m (330 ft) into a ravine; at least 27 persons died.July 9, Near Tibba Sultanpur, Pak. A head-on collision between two buses claimed the lives of 18 persons and injured 50.July 19, Near Catulaca, Honduras. A fire aboard a bus claimed the lives of at least 17 passengers and injured 18; reports that the fire was sparked by fuel inside the bus or by a short circuit were unconfirmed.July 26, North West province, S.Af. A collision between a bus and a truck on a sharp curve claimed the lives of 19 persons and injured more than 60.August 6, Northeastern Brazil. Before dawn a bus plowed into a group of passengers from another bus as the group stood on a highway after its vehicle had broken down; 12 persons died.August 11, Near San Salvador, El Salvador. A collision between a bus and a truck claimed the lives of at least 16 persons and injured 20.August 17, Near Jakarta, Indon. A crowded bus skidded off a highway and plunged into a ditch; at least 26 persons were killed.August 29, Near Papallacta, Ecuador. A truck carrying 50 persons plummeted over a cliff; 33 persons were killed.September 8, Southeastern Brazil. A fuel tanker overturned on a highway and was hit from behind by a truck transporting liquor, which ignited a fire that engulfed the vehicles as well as two charter buses; at least 57 persons were killed, and dozens were injured.September 18, Northeastern Egypt. A collision occurred between a tourist bus and a truck on a desert road between Cairo and Suez; 14 persons were killed, and 36 were injured.September 24, Northern Peru. An overcrowded truck went over a cliff high in the Andes, apparently after its motor failed on a steep mountainside and the vehicle rolled backward out of control; 26 persons, mostly schoolchildren, were killed, and 15 were injured.October 4, Eastern Ghana. A bus collided head-on with a fuel tanker; 15 persons perished.October 14, Central India. A bus plummeted from a bridge into the Karam River in the state of Madhya Pradesh after the driver lost control of the vehicle; at least 45 persons died.October 17, Southern Brazil. A head-on collision between two buses on a winding highway in the state of Parana claimed the lives of at least 14 persons.November 5, Near Cuttack, India. A crowded bus careened off a bridge into a river after the driver of the bus attempted to pass another vehicle on the bridge; at least 43 persons were killed.November 8, Southern Thailand. A van carrying a Thai dance troupe crashed into a roadside utility pole in the province of Prachub Khirikhan; all 12 persons in the van were killed.Early December, Near Dhangai, India. A collision between a bus and an oil tanker claimed the lives of at least 26 persons.December 26, Anhui province, China. An explosion occurred following a collision between a bus and a truck loaded with detonators and fuses; at least 18 persons died.MiscellaneousApril 9, Mina, Saudi Arabia. At least 118 persons died in a stampede on the last day of the hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca; the stampede occurred as tens of thousands of Muslims made their way across a bridge to perform the sacred rite known as "stoning the devil."Mid-April, Bangladesh. At least 72 persons died after drinking contaminated homemade liquor during Bengali New Year celebrations.April 28, Panama City, Pan. An elevator plummeted 25 floors to the ground at the construction site of a high-rise building, and all 13 workers inside the elevator were killed; mechanical failure and overloading were blamed for the accident.May 4, Northern India. At least 20 persons were electrocuted when a bicycle tied to the roof of the bus they were traveling on touched a high-voltage electric wire.June 25, Nalchik, Russia. A balcony collapsed onto the crowded floor of an indoor sports stadium during a wrestling tournament; 23 people were killed.July 6, Mpumalanga province, S.Af. A bridge under construction collapsed when one of its supporting pillars buckled for unknown reasons; 25 persons were feared dead.July 13, Western Kenya. Villagers near the site where a fuel tanker overturned on a road were looting the vehicle's liquid when someone's lit cigarette ignited an explosion; 10 persons were killed, and more than 50 suffered serious burns.August 3, Bombay (Mumbai). The collapse of a seven-story apartment building claimed the lives of at least 30 persons.Late August, New Delhi. At least 40 persons died and hundreds were hospitalized after they ate food cooked in contaminated mustard oil.September 5, Osasco, Braz. The roof of a church collapsed during an early-morning vigil attended by some 1,300 worshipers; at least 20 persons were killed, and more than 500 were injured.Mid-September—Mid-November, Cabo Delgado province, Mozambique. At least 33 persons died after they ate fish contaminated with pesticides; authorities said the contamination occurred when unscrupulous fishermen dumped pesticides into waters where they fished to increase their catch.October 28, Kasai province, Democratic Republic of the Congo. During a football (soccer) match a lightning bolt killed all 11 members of one team but left members of the opposing team unharmed, which led local investigators to conclude that witchcraft was responsible for the incident; more than 30 spectators were also injured, though none seriously.December 16, Rome. A five-story apartment building collapsed during the night, apparently because of a structural fault; 23 persons were killed.▪ 1998IntroductionThe loss of life and property from disaster in 1997 included the following:AviationJanuary 9, Near Detroit. A twin-engine commuter airplane with 29 persons aboard crashed during a snowstorm; there were no survivors.February 1, Tambacounda, Senegal. An airliner carrying 52 persons, most of them French tourists, crashed on takeoff and burned, apparently after an engine malfunctioned; 23 persons died, including the plane's two pilots, one of whom was the son of Pres. João Bernardo Vieira of Guinea-Bissau.February 4, Shaˋar Yishuv, Israel. While ferrying troops to the Israeli security zone in southern Lebanon, two army helicopters collided in heavy fog, killing all 65 soldiers and 8 airmen aboard the two craft; it was the worst military air disaster in Israel's history.March 13, Near Neyshabur, Iran. A military cargo plane crashed in the mountains of northeastern Iran after the pilot had reported technical difficulties; the wreckage was discovered one week later; all 88 persons aboard the craft were killed.March 18, Near Cherkessk, Russia. An explosion aboard an airliner en route to Turkey caused the plane to plunge into a wooded area; 41 passengers and 9 crew members died.March 18, Near Sipitang, Sabah, Malaysia. Two Malaysian air force helicopters flying in adverse weather slammed into a hillside in a remote jungle on the island of Borneo; all 11 servicemen aboard the two craft were killed.April 19, Billiton, Indon. A passenger plane exploded in midair and crashed on a palm plantation; of the 52 persons aboard, at least 15 died.May 8, Shenzhen, Guangdong province, China. A Boeing 737 attempted to touch down twice during a heavy rainstorm before slamming onto the runway and bursting into flames; at least 35 persons died, including 2 crew members.May 18, Lajes, Braz. A midair collision between two small planes claimed the lives of all 12 persons aboard the two craft; one woman on the ground, who was hit by falling debris, also died after suffering a heart attack.July 11, Off the coast of southeastern Cuba. About three minutes after taking off from Santiago de Cuba, a Havana-bound airliner plummeted into the Caribbean Sea; all 39 passengers and 5 crew members aboard the plane were killed.July 17, Bandung, Indon. A commuter airplane en route to Jakarta lost power soon after takeoff and crashed near a housing complex; at least 29 persons, including all 5 crew members, perished; 3 persons on the ground were injured.August 6, Near Agana, Guam. A Boeing 747-300 flying through heavy rain plowed into a jungle ravine a few kilometres short of Guam International Airport, apparently after the crew misjudged the location of the runway; a software error had crippled an airport radar system that might have aided the pilot in landing the plane safely; of the 254 persons aboard, 27 survived.August 10, Matsu Island, Taiwan. A small passenger plane with 16 persons aboard slammed into a mountain while preparing to land; there were no survivors.August 30, Nazca, Peru. A collision between two small planes over the Nazca Lines, a group of huge animal figures and geometric forms etched into the ground before the 12th century, claimed the lives of the two pilots and 10 tourists aboard the two craft.September 3, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. An airliner attempting to land in a monsoonal downpour crashed and burned in a rice paddy just short of the single runway at Pochentong International Airport; 65 persons, including 6 crew members, were killed; one young boy survived.September 6, Near Miri, Sarawak, Malaysia. A passenger plane crashed in a jungle in Lambir Hills National Park; all 10 persons aboard the craft were killed.September 13, Off the coast of Namibia. A collision between a German military jet and a U.S. Air Force cargo plane claimed the lives of all 33 persons aboard the two craft.September 17, Near Bugojno, Bosnia and Herzegovina. An Mi-8 helicopter carrying members of a United Nations delegation slammed into a fog-covered mountainside about 72 km (45 mi) northwest of Sarajevo; all 12 passengers aboard the craft, including senior German diplomat Gerd Wagner, were killed; the four crew members survived the crash.September 26, Near Medan, Indon. An airliner went down about 32 km (20 mi) from Polonia International Airport in an area clouded with smoke from regional forest fires; according to witnesses, the plane was flying low in a haze when it struck a tree and exploded into pieces in a ravine; all 234 persons aboard were killed; it was Indonesia's worst aviation disaster.October 3, Off the coast of Azerbaijan. A helicopter transporting oil workers to an offshore oil field crashed into the Caspian Sea; 22 persons were killed.October 10, Near Nuevo Berlín, Uruguay. A DC-9 en route to Buenos Aires with 75 persons aboard crashed while trying to avoid a heavy rainstorm; there were no survivors.December 6, Near Irkutsk, Russia. A military cargo plane, carrying two fighter jets, smashed into an apartment complex just after takeoff, clipping an orphanage with its wing and demolishing one end of the five-story apartment building; more than 60 persons were killed, including 17 crew members and 6 passengers; it was reported that two of the plane's four engines had failed, possibly owing to poor fuel.December 15, Near Sharjah, U.A.E. A Tajik airliner with 86 persons aboard went down in a desert area when an explosion rocked the plane as it started to land; one person survived.December 17, Near Katerini, Greece. A Ukrainian airliner crashed on a snowy mountainside about 80 km (50 mi) southwest of Salonika, apparently after the pilot became disoriented and believed he had cleared the mountains; all 70 persons aboard the craft were killed.December 19, Near Palembang, Indon. A Boeing 737 en route to Singapore and carrying 104 persons crashed in the Musi River; there were no survivors.December 31, Near San Blas, Panama. A small plane slammed into a mountain while flying in foggy weather; 10 persons were killed.Fires and ExplosionsFebruary 4, Xichong, Sichuan province, China. An explosion at a storehouse for materials used in making fireworks claimed the lives of 21 persons and injured 26; more than 20 houses were destroyed by the blast.February 23, Baripada, India. A fire that swept through an encampment of thatched-roof huts where scores of Hindu worshippers had gathered killed more than 110 persons and injured at least 165; many of the victims may have died in a stampede as they tried to escape the flames; the cause of the fire was unknown.March 19, Jalalabad, Afg. A powerful explosion at a police department where the Islamic Taliban militia stored weapons and ammunition killed at least 40 persons and injured 150; the blast created a crater 50 m (165 ft) in diameter and 10 m (33 ft) deep; the Taliban insisted that the explosion was accidental and not the result of sabotage.April 15, Mina, Saudi Arabia. A raging fire and an ensuing stampede in a crowded tent compound claimed the lives of at least 300 Muslims who were making the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, and about 1,300 persons were injured; the fire began when a gas cylinder used for cooking exploded.April 26, Cotabato, Phil. A hotel fire that started in a prayer room on the third floor raced through the upper stories of the structure, killing at least 25 persons and injuring 9.April 30, Burrel, Alb. Antigovernment rebels inadvertently set off an explosion at an underground ammunition depot they were attempting to plunder; 27 rebels were killed.May 23, Banjarmasin, Indon. On the final day of a parliamentary election campaign that had been marred by numerous riots, at least 130 persons died in a shopping complex that rioters had looted and then set ablaze; according to police, all of the victims were looters who had been trapped in the complex after the fire began in a ground-floor bank.June 7, Thanjavur, India. A fire at an 11th-century Hindu temple claimed the lives of 41 persons.June 13, New Delhi. An explosion of an electrical transformer started a fire that engulfed a crowded movie theatre, killing 60 persons and injuring more than 200; four theatre managers were subsequently arrested for suspected criminal negligence after survivors reported that their escape had been hampered by locked doors.July 3, Valencia, Spain. A ship caught fire as it was being loaded with fuel; at least 19 shipyard workers died in the blaze.July 9, Craiova, Rom. A bomb exploded while being loaded onto a plane at a military airfield, killing at least 16 military engineers and defense industry workers.July 11, Pattaya, Thai. A hotel fire, which erupted when a gas oven exploded in a first-floor coffee shop, swept through the 17-story building and claimed the lives of 90 persons; many victims died next to exits that were chained shut to keep guests from skipping out on their bills; 64 persons were injured.August 20, Blaye, France. A grain silo exploded and collapsed onto the offices of a storage company, burying 12 persons under tons of grain and concrete; a buildup of dust and static electricity inside the silo was suspected of having caused the blast.September 8, Casablanca, Mor. A fire engulfed a wing of a jail and killed 28 prisoners; an electrical fault may have started the blaze.September 14, Vishakhapatnam, India. Four gas tanks exploded in a petroleum refinery, causing six buildings to collapse and igniting a fire that blazed for several days; an estimated 60,000 persons were forced to flee their homes after electricity was cut and dense smoke blanketed the city; at least 60 persons were killed.September 29, Santiago, Chile. An electrical short circuit started a fire that swept through a home for the mentally impaired; 30 residents of the home were killed, including several who did not recognize the danger and walked back into the burning building after being rescued.October 24, Jiangxi province, China. A fire engulfed a seven-story hotel and claimed the lives of 22 persons.October 31, Milan. Flames ignited by an electrical fault swept through a high-pressure treatment chamber at a hospital, killing 10 patients and a nurse.November 10, Kaduna, Nigeria. At least eight inmates at a police station were burned to death and three persons killed in a stampede caused by a fire in Kaduna's central market.November 26, Maracaibo, Venez. A blaze sparked by a short circuit in a cellblock of a prison claimed the lives of at least 16 persons and injured more than 30.December 8, Jakarta, Indon. Flames engulfed the top floors of an office tower of Bank Indonesia, killing 15 persons; the fire was thought to have been started by a short circuit in the building's air-conditioning system.MarineFebruary 12, Lake Victoria, Kenya. A boat overloaded with passengers capsized during a storm and sank near the island of Sukuru; 34 persons lost their lives; 6 men survived the disaster by clinging to pieces of wood and other debris.Mid-February, Off the coast of Norway. A freighter registered in Cyprus sank after its captain had radioed that the ship was taking on water; all 20 crewmen aboard were killed.February 20, Off the northern coast of Sri Lanka. A boat carrying Tamil refugees to India overturned after leaving the port of Nachchikuddah; 165 persons were presumed drowned.March 13, Congo (Zaire) River, Zaire. A storm hit boats carrying hundreds of Rwandan refugees, mostly Hutu, who were fleeing advancing Tutsi rebels; at least 200 persons drowned.March 15, Irrawaddy River, Myanmar (Burma). A ship with 537 passengers aboard capsized in a sudden storm; 35 persons died.March 28, Off the coast of Brindisi, Italy. A boat carrying between 120 and 130 Albanian refugees sank after colliding with an Italian naval vessel; over 80 refugees were killed; although survivors claimed that the warship purposely rammed their craft to prevent it from landing, the Italian navy denied the charges.July 13, Sumatra, Indonesia. More than 75 persons were killed when an overcrowded boat, carrying about 200 passengers from Tomok who were returning from a cultural festival in Parapat, sank in Lake Toba.July 18, Kosi River, India. A crowded boat capsized in a river swollen by monsoonal rains; at least 35 persons drowned.August 15, Central Philippines. A predawn storm overturned a ferry in the Visayan Sea; 13 persons drowned, and 15 were missing.August 26, Bonny River, Nigeria. Two riverboats transporting passengers and cargo collided during conditions of poor visibility; 100 persons were feared dead.September 8, Port-au-Prince Bay, Haiti. An overcrowded ferry that was carrying at least 700 passengers, more than twice its capacity, capsized near the port of Montrouis when passengers rushed to one side of the vessel; more than 172 persons drowned.September 26, Strait of Malacca, at Port Dickson, Malaysia. A supertanker collided with a cargo ship in conditions of low visibility possibly created by thick smoke from regional forest fires; 29 crew members from the cargo ship were missing and feared dead.October 10, Eastern India. An overcrowded boat capsized in Bihar, killing at least 15 persons.November 14, Northwestern Uganda. One of two boats carrying teachers and pupils of a primary school capsized off the shore of Lake Albert, where the group had been having a picnic; 18 persons drowned.December 12, Mano River, between Sierra Leone and Liberia. At least 60 civilians fleeing renewed fighting in eastern Sierra Leone were feared drowned after their canoe capsized.December 15, Port-au-Prince Bay. A ferry headed to the Haitian island of La Gonave sank after leaving Port-au-Prince; 18 people were killed, and more than 20 were missing and feared dead.Mining and TunnelingMarch 4, Henan province, China. A series of explosions in underground shafts that connected three privately run coal mines claimed the lives of 86 miners and injured 12.May 28, Fushun, Liaoning province, China. A gas explosion at a coal mine killed 68 miners.June 23, Northern Iran. Part of a tunnel collapsed in a coal mine after a gas explosion; 18 miners were killed, and 32 were injured.July, Hartbeesfontein, S.Af. A sudden rupture of rock in a gold mine entombed 18 miners.July 26, Guangdong province. Workers were trapped in a coal mine after water rushed into a shaft; 10 miners were feared dead.September 3, Near Tarkwa, Ghana. A landslide killed 12 gold miners who were digging in a pit illegally after the regular workers at the mine had left for the day.September 18, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard, Nor. A powerful methane explosion claimed the lives of 26 miners in a Russian-operated coal mine.Late September, Central Vietnam. Flooding triggered by Typhoon Fritz collapsed tunnels and caused landslides at two gold mines; some 54 miners were killed.October 17, Northeastern Colombia. A buildup of methane gas was the apparent cause of an explosion at a coal mine; 16 miners lost their lives.November 4, Guizhou province, China. An explosion at a coal mine claimed the lives of 43 miners.November 13, Anhui province, China. A gas explosion ripped through a coal mine in the city of Huainan; 87 miners and 2 rescue workers died.November 27, Anhui province. A gas explosion at a coal mine killed 45 miners; at another mine on the same day, a gas explosion claimed the lives of 28.December 2, Southern Siberia, Russia. A massive methane gas explosion ripped through a deep shaft in a coal mine, killing at least 61 miners.NaturalEarly January, California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. Heavy rains and snowstorms triggered widespread flooding during the last week of December and the first days of January; at least 125,000 persons were forced from their homes, and a state of emergency was declared in more than 90 counties; at least 29 deaths were attributed to the floods.Early January, Europe. An intense cold wave that began in late December claimed the lives of at least 228 persons across the continent; it was the worst freeze in Europe in a decade.January 21, Xinjiang Uygur, China. Two strong earthquakes, one of magnitude 6.4 and another of magnitude 6.3, occurred one minute apart and caused more than 500 buildings to collapse; at least 12 persons died.February 4-5, Northeastern Iran. An earthquake of magnitude 5.4 was followed by another of magnitude 6.1 less than an hour later; an aftershock of magnitude 5.7 further jolted the region the following day; 72 persons were killed, and 200 were injured.February 18, Southern Peru. A massive mud slide caused by heavy rains buried the Andean villages of Cocha and Pumaranra; as many as 300 persons were killed.February 28, Balochistan, Pak. A powerful earthquake of magnitude 7.3 claimed the lives of more than 100 persons and left hundreds homeless.February 28 and March 2, Northwestern Iran. An earthquake of magnitude 6.1 damaged or destroyed 83 villages; another quake, of magnitude 5.2, struck two days later; at least 965 persons died, and more than 2,600 were injured.Late February-early March, Bolivia. The heaviest rains in Bolivia in nearly three decades caused massive flooding in the country's tropical lowlands; the crops of some 100,000 farmers were destroyed, and at least 16 persons were killed.Late February-early March, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, and West Virginia. Torrential rains triggered extensive flooding along portions of the Ohio River; thousands of residents were forced to leave their homes as floodwaters inundated many small towns; at least 30 persons were killed.Early March, Arkansas. Tornadoes swept across the state, flattening buildings, uprooting trees, and destroying houses and trailer homes; at least 25 persons lost their lives.Early March, Fiji. Cyclone Gavin wreaked havoc on the nation, causing extensive damage and claiming the lives of at least 26 persons, including 10 who were lost at sea when their fishing trawler sank about 72 km (45 mi) southwest of Suva.March 26, Northern Afghanistan. An avalanche roared down onto the Salang Highway, burying at least 100 persons who were walking toward a tunnel to catch a bus.Late March, Saudi Arabia. Strong winds and heavy rains were responsible for killing 21 persons.Late April, Pohnpei Island, Federated States of Micronesia. Landslides brought on by heavy rains and flooding were blamed for the deaths of 13 persons.May 2, Northern Egypt. A sandstorm claimed the lives of 12 persons and injured 50.May 10, Northeastern Iran. An earthquake of magnitude 7.1 accompanied by aftershocks as strong as 5.5 wrecked 200 villages and left some 50,000 residents homeless; at least 1,560 persons died.Mid-May, Guangdong province. Floods caused by torrential rains inundated 177 villages; at least 110 persons were killed, and more than 1,300 were injured.May 19, Southeastern Bangladesh. A cyclone devastated the coastal region, destroying or damaging more than 600,000 homes; at least 100 persons were killed, and nearly 10,000 were injured.May 22, Central India. An earthquake of magnitude 6.1 struck near Jabalpur; at least 30 persons perished.May 27, Central Texas. Several tornadoes ripped through the state from Waco to Austin, ravaging about 400 ha (1,000 ac) of farmland and destroying some 60 homes; 30 persons were killed, 27 in the small town of Jarrell, 64 km (40 mi) north of Austin.Late May, Philippines. Widespread flooding brought on by three days of rain claimed the lives of at least 29 persons.June, Central Chile. Three weeks of incessant rain left at least 18 persons dead and at least 45,000 homeless.June-August, India. Torrential rains during the monsoon season caused floods and landslides throughout the country; at least 945 persons were killed, and crops covering an area of 1,550,000 ha (3,800,000 ac) were damaged.June-December, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. Drought and frosts brought on by the El Niño weather phenomenon destroyed crops, contributed to the spread of regional forest fires, and produced a devastating famine; by year's end more than 500 persons in the Indonesian province of Irian Jaya and at least 70 persons in Papua New Guinea had died.June 23, Western Ukraine and western Belarus. Severe storms claimed the lives of 11 persons.Late June, Northern Pakistan. During a thunderstorm lightning struck a huge rock, causing the rock to break and tumble down a slope onto houses in a village; 25 persons were killed.Late June, Montserrat. A major eruption of the Soufrière Hills volcano on June 25 devastated the southern two-thirds of the island and killed at least 19 persons; some 8,000 of Montserrat's 12,000 residents were evacuated, and the island's only airport was forced to close; an eruption of the Chances Peak volcano on June 30 compounded the disaster. Both volcanoes had been active since 1995.Late June-early August, Central Europe. Torrential rains triggered the worst flooding in the region in 200 years; more than 100 persons were killed in western Poland and the northern third of the Czech Republic as the Oder River and smaller rivers overflowed, inundating hundreds of towns and forcing hundreds of thousands of residents to evacuate their homes; floods also hit the lowlands of eastern Germany in late July, causing extensive damage but no deaths.Early July-late August, Myanmar. Heavy rains spawned widespread flooding; at least 13 persons were killed, and thousands were left homeless.July 2, Southern Michigan. Thunderstorms and tornadoes knocked down trees, interrupted electricity, and destroyed 339 homes and businesses; 16 persons lost their lives, and more than 100 were injured.July 9, Eastern Venezuela. A strong earthquake of magnitude 6.9 jolted the coastal region east of Caracas, leaving at least 79 persons dead, more than 500 injured, and some 3,000 homeless.July 10, Izumi, Japan. Torrential rains set off a mud slide that crashed through a concrete barrier 14 m (45 ft) high and destroyed 16 houses; 19 persons were killed.July 13, Southeastern Bangladesh. Massive flooding killed at least 57 persons and left some 250,000 homeless.July 18, Guizhou province. More than 30 persons were killed by a landslide that occurred after days of heavy rain.July 30, Thredbo, Australia. Part of a road collapsed on a steep mountainside above a popular ski resort, setting off a massive landslide that buried two lodges; 18 persons perished; rescuers pulled one survivor from the rubble on August 2.Early August, Southern China. Typhoon Victor battered the provinces of Guangdong and Fujian, destroying 10,000 homes and claiming the lives of 49 persons; millions of residents were affected by the storm and related flooding.August 12, Northern Arizona. A flash flood scoured the narrow Antelope Canyon, sweeping 11 hikers to their death; the wall of water had entered the canyon after a thunderstorm struck near Page.Mid-August, Central Chile. A four-day storm claimed the lives of at least 10 persons and destroyed bridges and roads in the region.August 18-19, Taiwan, eastern China, and the Philippines. Typhoon Winnie swept across the Taiwan Strait and the East China Sea, creating winds of up to 148 km/h (92 mph) and producing heavy rain; at least 37 persons died in Taiwan, where low-lying areas suffered severe flooding; at least 140 persons were killed and tens of thousands of homes were destroyed in the Chinese provinces of Zhejiang and Jiangsu; the typhoon also spawned flooding in the Philippines, where 16 persons died and 60,000 residents were forced to abandon their homes.Late August, Southern Thailand. Storms from the South China Sea and Indian Ocean caused massive flooding; 28 persons were killed.September 11, Andhra Pradesh, India. Lightning killed 19 persons and injured 6.Late September-October, Central Italy. Repeated earthquakes wreaked havoc on the region for weeks, displacing an estimated 38,000 persons; on September 26 two quakes, one of magnitude 5.5 and another of magnitude 5.6, struck nine hours apart, severely damaging the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi and killing 11 persons.September 27, Southeastern Bangladesh. A cyclone ravaged the coastal region, killing at least 60 persons and injuring hundreds.September 28, Sulawesi, Indon. A magnitude-6 earthquake followed by more than 300 aftershocks claimed the lives of at least 17 persons and destroyed or damaged hundreds of homes.October 8-10, Southern Mexico. Hurricane Pauline devastated the resort city of Acapulco and pummeled numerous villages along the Pacific coast in the states of Oaxaca and Guerrero; winds of up to 185 km/h (115 mph) and waves as high as 9 m (30 ft) were reported; 217 persons were killed, and 20,000 were left homeless.October 12, Tongi, Bangladesh. A tornado claimed the lives of at least 25 Muslim worshippers who had gathered on the banks of the Turag River for a prayer ceremony; thousands were injured.Mid-October-late November, Somalia, Ethiopia, and Kenya. Torrential rains and the worst flooding in eastern Africa in more than three decades destroyed crops and prompted fears of widespread famine; more than 2,000 persons were killed, and an estimated 800,000 were displaced.Late October, Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Early snowstorms blanketed many areas, closed roads and airports, and caused widespread electrical power outages; at least 16 persons were killed.October 31, Azores, Portugal. Heavy rains that fell on the Azores, roughly 1,600 km (1,000 mi) west of Portugal in the North Atlantic Ocean, triggered mud slides that buried houses in Ribeira Quente on the island of São Miguel; 18 persons were killed, and at least 12 were missing and feared dead.Early November, Cook Islands. Cyclone Martin roared through the Polynesian state, wreaking havoc on the islands of Pukapuka, Manihiki, and Rakahanga; the storm claimed the lives of 9 persons and left 10 missing.Early November, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand. Typhoon Linda pummeled the southern regions of the three countries, flattening thousands of homes and sinking hundreds of fishing boats; nearly two weeks after the storm hit, an official tally of casualties in Vietnam listed 464 persons dead and 3,218 missing; more than 20 persons were killed in Cambodia and Thailand.November, Ecuador. Torrential rains and mud slides caused severe damage throughout the country; 25 persons were killed, and some 10,000 were left homeless.November 23, Eastern Uganda. Landslides and floods triggered by heavy rains claimed the lives of at least 29 persons.December 1, Northern India. A powerful storm struck approximately 35 villages; at least 44 persons died, and 100 were injured.Late December, Ambar, Peru. A strong storm attributed to the El Niño triggered a mud slide that washed three makeshift homes into a river in the Andes Mountains; 13 persons, all members of the same family, were believed dead.RailroadFebruary 3, Radissiyah, Egypt. A cargo train rear-ended a passenger train stopped at the station; 11 persons lost their lives.February 10, Near Ciego de Ávila, Cuba. A train carrying military conscripts collided with a locomotive, killing 13 persons and injuring 65.March 3, Near Khanewal, Pak. At least 125 persons were killed and 175 injured when a train derailed after an apparent brake failure.March 31, Huarte Arakil, Spain. A speeding passenger train derailed as it entered the station; 22 persons were killed, and 89 were injured.April 29, Hunan province, China. A cross-country passenger train plowed into the rear of a local train; at least 58 persons lost their lives.May 5, Near Szczecin, Pol. A passenger train jumped the tracks and slammed into a stationary freight train; at least 11 persons died.July 27, Faridabad, India. A crowded express train sped past a stop signal and rear-ended a passenger train that was pulling out of the station; at least 12 persons perished.September 8, Near Bordeaux, France. A train struck a fuel truck at a railroad crossing and caused the truck to explode into flames; 12 persons died, including the truck's driver.September 14, Near Champa, Madhya Pradesh, India. A train derailed when its driver applied the emergency brakes after spotting a red flag just 100 m (328 ft) before a bridge; no one had informed the driver that the bridge was under repair; five railroad cars plunged into a river; at least 82 persons were killed, and more than 200 were injured.November 5, Near Kotabumi, Indon. An express train slammed into a bus at an unguarded level crossing, killing at least 26 persons.November 6, Eastern Cuba. A collision between a 12-coach passenger train and a bus at a railroad crossing claimed the lives of 56 persons and seriously injured 6.December 24, Eastern Pakistan. A passenger train slammed into a second train stopped at a station; at least 20 persons were killed.TrafficJanuary 14, Cairo. A speeding bus crashed through a fence and plunged off a bridge into the Nile River; at least 39 persons were killed, and at least 24 were injured.January 19, Punjab, India. A bus transporting a wedding party plummeted into a rain-swollen river after the driver lost control of the vehicle on a sharp curve; 29 persons lost their lives, and 12 were injured.January 19, Near Huancayo, Peru. A bus carrying people to a religious festival hurtled off the side of a cliff and fell about 80 m (265 ft); at least 20 persons were killed.March 10, Guatemala City, Guat. A passenger bus exploded when canisters of paint thinner were accidentally ignited by a cigarette; 11 persons burned to death, and 24 were injured.March 17, Western Azerbaijan. A bus smashed through a safety barrier on a bridge and dropped 15 m (50 ft) into a river; at least 46 persons died.April 21, Nakhon Ratchasima, Thai. A truck went out of control and hit the rear of one bus before crashing into another; at least 16 persons were killed, and more than 80 were injured.July 21, Near Rio de Janeiro. A multiple pileup involving two trucks, two buses, and a car occurred on the busy Via Dutra highway after the driver of the car slammed on his brakes to avoid hitting a truck in front of him; 14 persons lost their lives, and 22 were injured.July 29, Concord, Mich. A pickup truck collided with a dump truck at a rural intersection; 11 persons in the pickup, including 9 children, were killed.July 30, Plymouth, N.C. A sport utility vehicle carrying 10 high-school students tried to pass in a no-passing zone on a rain-slickened road and collided with a tractor trailer; all 10 students perished.Early August, Peru. Three major bus crashes took place in a week; near Trujillo a collision between a bus and a minibus claimed the lives of 23 persons and injured 40; in northern Peru a minibus collision killed 17 persons and injured 40; between Cuzco and Nazca a bus overturned, killing 23 persons and injuring 50.August 8, Erzincan, Tur. A bus attempting to round a curve veered off a road and fell into a ravine; 25 persons were killed, and 17 were injured, 7 seriously.August 27, Near Sargodha, Pak. A head-on collision between two buses during a rain shower claimed the lives of 14 persons and injured 45.September 4, Northwestern Turkey. Two buses collided on the main highway between Ankara and Istanbul, apparently after one of the drivers fell asleep at the wheel; 33 persons were killed, and at least 40 were injured.September 4, Near Dese, Eth. An overcrowded bus plunged 130 m (425 ft) into a ravine; 36 persons lost their lives, and 13 were injured.September 9, Southern California. A pickup truck veered across the centre line on Highway 1 and collided head-on with a crowded van; 11 persons were killed in the fiery crash.September 15, Jakarta. A head-on collision between a bus and a truck on a busy toll road claimed the lives of 36 persons.September 16, Maseer, Egypt. A truck transporting a group of child labourers overturned on a narrow, unpaved road and fell into a canal; 29 children drowned, and more than 50 were injured.September 21, Jammu and Kashmir, India. A bus skidded off a highway and plunged 150 m (490 ft) into a river; 22 persons were killed, and 14 were seriously injured.October 2, Southern France. The driver of a bus lost control of his vehicle, possibly because of a blown-out tire; the bus smashed through the security rails of an overpass and dropped 15 m (50 ft) onto a road below; at least 12 persons died.October 2, Southern India. An overcrowded bus fell from a bridge into a river; at least 43 persons were killed, and 20 were missing.October 3, Northwestern India. A collision between a four-wheel-drive vehicle and a truck claimed the lives of at least 14 persons and injured 6.October 11, Northeastern Zimbabwe. A bus and a truck collided, killing at least 22 persons.October 13, Central Quebec. A tourist bus carrying senior citizens to view the autumn foliage plunged about 20 m (65 ft) into a ravine; 43 persons lost their lives.October 15, Central Bangladesh. A bus fell into a ditch while trying to avoid a collision with another vehicle; 58 persons perished.October 19, Near Freetown, Sierra Leone. At least 67 Sierra Leoneans fleeing air raids by Nigerian warplanes were killed when the truck in which they were traveling somersaulted on a bridge and plunged into a ravine.November 9, Western Bangladesh. The driver of a speeding bus swerved into a river to avoid hitting two buffalo; at least 11 persons died, and 30 were injured.November 16, Near Mendota, Calif. A van collided with a tractor trailer in foggy conditions on a rural highway; 11 persons were killed, 10 of whom were farmworkers.November 18, Near New Delhi. An overcrowded school bus skidded off a bridge and dropped 12 m (40 ft) into the Yamuna River; at least 25 children were killed, and some 60 were injured.November 24, Northern Thailand. A head-on collision between two packed buses killed at least 20 persons and injured more than 30.December 26, Near Huancayo. A bus loaded with passengers careened off a highway in the Andes after striking a large rock and tumbled 150 m (500 ft) into a ravine; 27 persons died, and 36 were injured.MiscellaneousJanuary 8, Lahore, Pak. Toxic gas leaked from the cylinders of a truck that had broken down in a densely populated neighbourhood; at least 32 persons were killed.January 20, Hyderabad, Pak. At least 32 persons died after drinking a poisonous brew of homemade liquor.May 4, Near Kisangani, Democratic Republic of the Congo. More than 100 Rwandan Hutu refugees suffocated or were crushed to death on a severely overcrowded train; 6,000 refugees had swarmed onto the six-car train to travel to Kisangani, where they were hoping to join a United Nations airlift to Rwanda.June-August, France, Italy, and Switzerland. Heavy snowfall in the Alps followed by unusually hot weather created treacherous conditions for mountain climbers during the summer; at least 92 climbers perished, most in avalanches and rockfalls triggered by melting snow.June-August, Yunnan province, China. At least 76 persons died after eating poisonous mushrooms they had collected.June 12, Enugu, Nigeria. An unfinished three-story building collapsed, killing 20 persons; the cause of the collapse was unknown.July 12, Zhejiang province. A housing complex that had been converted into a textile factory collapsed, killing 36 persons.July 17, Tomsk, Russia. A barracks at a military academy collapsed a few minutes before reveille; 11 cadets were killed and 37 injured; the barracks, a 19th-century monastery that the military had converted, had been badly in need of repairs.August 24, San Pedro Sula, Honduras. A rat chewed through an electrical cable at a state-run hospital and caused a power outage; at least 14 persons on life-support machines, including 4 newborn infants, were killed.August 31, Nsele, Democratic Republic of the Congo. As troops were trying to impose order at a crowded swimming pool where boys were attempting to undress girls, 21 children fell into the pool and drowned.September 4, Ciudad del Este, Paraguay. Strong winds caused part of a sports stadium to collapse while the ruling Colorado Party held a political rally; at least 33 persons were killed, and more than 100 were injured.September 11, Northwestern Estonia. While crossing a strait on foot as part of a training exercise, a platoon of 22 soldiers was swept into deep waters when strong winds arose; 14 soldiers drowned.November 16, Bombay (Mumbai). At least 18 persons, mostly farmers, died after drinking contaminated liquor at a pub.▪ 1997IntroductionThe loss of life and property from disaster in 1996 included the following:AviationJanuary 8, Kinshasa, Zaire. An Antonov-32 cargo plane that apparently was overloaded failed to achieve liftoff and plowed through a bustling open market situated near the runway; an estimated 350 persons were killed as the craft ripped through vendor stalls made of corrugated iron and wood. The Russian crew members who escaped with minor injuries were taken into protective custody when an angry mob attempted to exact punishment for the crash.January 17, Kano, Nigeria. An airplane crash reportedly claimed the lives of 14 persons, including the son of Nigeria's head of state; details were not made available.February 4, Asunción, Paraguay. A Colombian cargo plane with a crew of three and one passenger exploded in midair after its left turbine engine erupted; 22 persons died when the craft dived into a residential area.February 6, Off the coast of Dominican Republic. A Boeing 757 en route to Frankfurt and Berlin and carrying 189 persons, mostly German tourists, crashed and sank in shark-infested waters shortly after takeoff, apparently after the pilot gauged that he had enough speed to maintain altitude after he consulted a faulty speedometer; all aboard perished.February 29, Near Arequipa, Peru. A Boeing 737 with 123 persons aboard slammed into a mountain and fell into a canyon while making its approach to land at an altitude below the authorized level; there were no survivors.April 3, Near Dubrovnik, Croatia. An air force T-43A passenger jet carrying prominent U.S. officials, including Commerce Secretary Ron Brown, veered off course and crashed into a mountain during a driving rainstorm and heavy fog; all 35 persons aboard the craft were killed.May 3, Near Khartoum, The Sudan. A Sudanese passenger plane crashed during a sandstorm when the pilot attempted to make an emergency landing in an open field because sand had covered the runways at the nearby airport; 48 passengers and 5 crew members died.May 10, Santa María de Otáes, Mex. A plane transporting a group of miners crashed near a remote airstrip in the mountains of northwestern Mexico; 16 persons were killed, and 3 were seriously injured.May 10, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Two helicopters taking part in a British-U.S. military exercise collided in the dark and plunged into a densely forested marsh; of the 16 persons aboard the two aircraft, 14 perished.May 11, Near Miami, Fla. A DC-9 airliner crashed in the Everglades shortly after takeoff and minutes after the crew had reported smoke in the cockpit and cabin; the craft, which carried 109 persons, was mired in sticky muck; there were no survivors.June 12, Near Townsville, Australia. Two army Blackhawk helicopters that were participating in nighttime antiterrorist maneuvers and flying with their anticollision lights turned off crashed after their rotors touched while they were landing in a training range; 18 persons were killed, and 10 were injured, 3 seriously.July 15, Eindhoven, Neth. A Belgian military cargo plane that was carrying 41 persons, including members of a Dutch army band, crashed and burst into flames when it landed on the side of the runway; 32 persons perished, including all 4 crew members.July 17, Off the coast of New York. A Boeing 747 jumbo jet carrying 230 persons en route to Paris exploded in midair and fell into the Atlantic Ocean; the cause of the blast, which claimed the lives of all aboard TWA flight 800, was still under investigation at year's end.August 29, Spitsbergen, Nor. A Russian passenger plane carrying coal miners slammed into a snowcapped mountain while attempting to land in dense fog; all 141 persons aboard were killed.October 2, Near Ancón, Peru. A Boeing 757 airliner plunged into the Pacific Ocean shortly after it took off from Lima and minutes after the pilot had radioed that his cockpit instrumentation was malfunctioning; the crash, in which all 70 persons aboard were killed, occurred after workers forgot to remove the duct tape that they had placed over key sensors while cleaning the plane.October 22, Manta, Ecuador. A Miami-bound cargo plane exploded shortly after takeoff when it grazed a church bell tower; the plummeting aircraft ripped roofs off homes and sent a shower of fiery debris upon the densely populated neighbourhood; at least 23 persons were killed, including the 3 crew members.October 31, São Paulo, Braz. An airliner carrying 96 persons to Rio de Janeiro failed to gain altitude after takeoff and plowed through a busy residential area; at least 104 persons were killed, including 8 on the ground who were engulfed in flames as the airliner spewed chunks of fuselage and drenched passersby with fuel.November 7, Imota, Nigeria. A Boeing 727 airliner with 141 persons aboard went down in a swamp outside Lagos after losing radio contact midway into its flight; there were no survivors.November 12, Near New Delhi. A midair collision between a Saudi Boeing 747 passenger plane with 312 persons aboard and a Kazak airliner carrying 37 passengers and crew claimed the lives of all 349 persons; it was the worst midair collision in aviation history.November 19, Quincy, Ill. A runway collision between two small commuter planes and the ensuing fire claimed the lives of all 13 persons aboard the two planes.November 22, Off the coast of Cape Mendocino, California. A military HC-130, which was conducting a training mission, crashed with 11 crew aboard, shortly after the pilot had reported a complete electrical failure; one airman survived.November 23, Off the coast of the Comoros. A hijacked Ethiopian airliner, a Boeing 767 that had run out of fuel, bounced on the water before crash-landing nose first just short of the beach; of the 175 persons aboard, at least 120 were killed.November 27, Central Siberia, Russia. A military cargo plane that was carrying some 30 tons of commercial goods crashed into a mountain and exploded; all 23 persons aboard were killed.November 30, Near Medellín, Colom. A small passenger plane slammed into a hill shortly after experiencing mechanical failure moments after takeoff; of the 15 persons aboard, one survived.December 17, Northwestern Russia. A military cargo plane with 17 persons aboard crashed during takeoff; there were no survivors.Fires and ExplosionsEarly January, Shenzhen, Guangdong province, China. An early-morning fire engulfed a factory where some 1,000 workers were sleeping; 19 persons were killed as they scrambled to escape the flames, and 37 were injured in the melee.January 18, Lübeck, Ger. A fire of an undetermined origin broke out at a four-story hostel that was sheltering asylum-seeking refugees from Syria, Lebanon, Zaire, and Togo and ethnic German emigrants from Poland; 10 persons, 4 of them children, were killed in the blaze.Late January, Mecca, Saudi Arabia. A fire in a hospital claimed the lives of 13 persons and injured 33.January 31, Shaoyang, Hunan province, China. A five-story apartment building was destroyed when 10 tons of dynamite stored illegally in the structure's basement exploded; at least 100 persons were killed, and the surrounding neighbourhood was demolished.February 17, Taichung, Taiwan. A fire that erupted in a hotel and sauna killed 17 persons, who were burned beyond recognition after succumbing to smoke inhalation.February 27, Taichung. A predawn fire that swept through an eight-story building claimed the lives of 13 persons and injured 17.March 19, Manila. A fire in a discotheque, which was certified to hold no more than 35 persons, killed 159 of the 400 revelers packed into the funnel-shaped structure as they stampeded toward a lone exit; the blaze of unknown origin was the country's worst fire, and many victims were burned beyond recognition.March 28, Bogor, Indon. An early-morning fire that broke out on the top floor of a three-story commercial building quickly engulfed the lower two levels; though 77 people were initially believed dead, the toll was lowered to 10 female workers when the morgue disclosed that some body bags contained charred mannequins, which had been counted among the dead.April-early May, Mongolia. Tinder-dry forests and grasslands were engulfed in at least 72 separate fires that were spread by strong winds; 25 persons were killed and at least 60 injured as more than 24,000 persons fought the raging blazes, which had burned 106,000 sq km (41,000 sq mi) and threatened to incinerate other areas before beneficial rains helped firefighters extinguish the flames.April 11, Düsseldorf, Ger. An unexplained fire, which presumably started in a flower shop, spread noxious fumes into elevators, ventilation ducts, and lounges in the arrivals section at the city's airport and claimed the lives of at least 15 persons.June 6, Red Sea. A fire aboard a ship that was traveling illegally from Eritrea into Saudi Arabian waters claimed the lives of at least 72 persons.June 11, Oscasco, Braz. A powerful explosion that ripped through a shopping mall during lunchtime, when between 1,000 and 2,000 shoppers were present, claimed the lives of more than 40 persons and injured 100; the force of the blast destroyed parts of two concrete walls and caused a corner of a second-story parking lot to collapse.June 29, Piya, Sichuan province, China. An explosion at a fireworks factory that had reopened illegally after having been shut down two months earlier killed at least 36 persons and injured 52, some of whom were seriously burned.July 17, Shenzhen, China. A hotel fire that started in a restaurant on the second floor swept through the structure and claimed the lives of 29 persons, including patrons who were suffocated by thick smoke as they slept; the cause of the fire was unknown.August 14, Arequipa, Peru. A stray rocket hit a high-voltage cable during a fireworks display and knocked the line onto spectators; 35 persons were electrocuted, and 42 were badly burned.October 9, Kampung Sessang, Sarawak, Malaysia. A dormitory fire at an elementary school complex claimed the lives of 11 children.October 20, Anhui province, China. An explosion at a firecracker factory that was operating without a license and illegally using child labour killed at least 13 children and injured 19.November 21, San Juan, P.R. A downtown six-story building exploded while employees from the gas company were investigating a possible leak; at least 29 persons lost their lives, and some 82 were injured.November 21, Hong Kong. A raging fire on the upper floors of a 16-story office building blazed for 21 hours before it was brought under control; it claimed the lives of 39 persons, and dozens more were injured.MarineMid-January, Off the coast of Sumatra, Indon. A ferry that was transporting some 210 passengers and a cargo of cement, building materials, and vehicles sank quickly after ramming into rocks during a brisk wind; at least 51 passengers were known dead, and at least 100 were missing.January 24, Off the southeastern coast of Nigeria. A boat carrying some 260 persons to Gabon capsized after a gale-force wind suddenly pitched the vessel and threw its contents into the sea; at least 172 persons were killed, and several were missing and feared dead.February 17, Off the northern coast of Taiwan. A Greek-registered cargo ship sank in choppy waters near the island of Peng Chia-yu; of the 30 seamen aboard the boat, 19 were missing and presumed drowned.February 18, Off the coast of Cadiz, Negros Island, Phil. A dilapidated wooden-hulled ferry that carried more than 200 passengers, twice its capacity, and had been deemed unseaworthy earlier in the month sank as high winds buffeted it and panicked passengers rushed to one side of the vessel; at least 54 persons were killed, including 31 children, and several were missing.February 19, Taiwan Strait. A Chinese cargo ship with 30 crewmen aboard disappeared without a trace and presumably sank; all aboard were lost at sea.March 1, Lake Victoria, Uganda. A boat loaded with passengers capsized during inclement weather between Masolya and Bumba Island, and 66 persons drowned; two weeks earlier another boating accident at the same location, involving a collision between two vessels, had claimed the lives of 39 persons.March 28, Caribbean Sea. An overcrowded Haitian ferry sank shortly after leaving the port of Les Irois and striking some rocks; more than 100 persons drowned.May 6, Off the coast of Sierra Leone. An overloaded boat capsized during inclement weather with at least 210 persons aboard, many of them merchants who were transporting commercial goods; at least 140 persons were feared drowned.May 21, Lake Victoria. An overcrowded ferry that was transporting 222 more passengers than its official capacity capsized and sank some 32 km (20 mi) short of its destination, the western town of Mwanza, Tanz.; 549 persons lost their lives.May 24, Jamuna River, Bangladesh. A passenger ferry sank in choppy waters after colliding with another ferry that was carrying cars and trucks; at least 77 persons were feared drowned.June 15, Off the coast of South Korea. A Cyprus-registered cargo ship sank some 32 km southeast of the port city of Pusan after colliding with a Greek freighter in heavy fog; all 26 seamen aboard the cargo ship drowned, but the Greek freighter remained intact.July 27, Off the coast of the Comoros. A ferry that was traveling from Moroni began taking on water and quickly sank as it approached the island of Mwali; of the 69 persons aboard, only 5 were rescued.September 26, Nile River, near Beni Hasan, Al-Minya governorate, Egypt. An overloaded ferry with a capacity of 50 passengers was transporting funeral mourners when it collided with a barge; 56 of the 75 persons aboard the ferry drowned.October 14, Off the coast of Fort Pierce, Fla. A sailboat sank in rough Atlantic waters; the 16 persons aboard the craft had radioed that they were boarding a life raft, but rescuers failed to find them.November 14, Nile River, southern Egypt. A cruise boat carrying Czech and Slovak tourists capsized during a strong wind as the captain tried to dock the vessel; 20 persons drowned.November 14, Off the eastern coast of South Africa. A Panamanian-registered freighter sank in turbulent seas while being buffeted by high winds; all 29 crewmen aboard were lost.December 25, Off the coast of Malta. A small ship that apparently had been stolen from Malta and was carrying illegal immigrants from India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka to Europe sank after colliding with a larger ship that was bound for Greece, from which the immigrants had been transferred; survivors charged that some 280 of their fellow travelers drowned, but authorities were not able to locate the wreckage.Mining and TunnelingJanuary-April, South Africa. A total of 178 miners were killed in accidents during the first four months of the year, and more than 2,400 were injured.May, Hunan province, China. An explosion at the Pindingshan coal mine killed 84 miners.May, Gansu province, China. Flooding at a lead and zinc mine in the northern part of the province killed 33 miners. As a result, the government closed the mine, the second largest complex at Lijiaguo.June, Yunnan province, China. Two landslides in a gold mine resulted in the deaths of at least 227 miners.November 27, Shanxi province, China. A gas explosion in an underground mine entombed some 90 miners.November 27, Free State province, South Africa. A mud slide at a diamond mine trapped 56 miners, 22 of whom were killed.NaturalJanuary 7-8, Northeastern U.S. The punishing Blizzard of '96, which blanketed at least 20 states, dumped record amounts of snow in Philadelphia, which recorded more than 76 cm (30 in); forced a state of emergency to be called in all or parts of Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and Georgia; shut down virtually all means of transportation; closed governments, schools, and businesses; and claimed the lives of at least 100 persons, many of them victims of heart attacks.January 20, Northeastern U.S. An unexpected thaw that melted the snowpack of the Blizzard of '96 caused massive flooding as rivers and streams burst their banks in Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut; at least 15 deaths were attributed to the flooding.February 2-4, U.S. Bitter cold gripped the nation from the Rocky Mountains in the West to the Atlantic coast and into the Deep South as record low temperatures were recorded in Salt Lake City, Utah, -24° C (-12° F); Huntsville, Ala., -14° C (7° F); and Tower, Minn., -60° C (-76° F), the coldest place in the U.S.February 3, Lijiang, Yunnan province, China. A magnitude-7 earthquake demolished the town and leveled as many as 186,000 homes, killed more than 240 persons, and injured some 14,000 others, 3,800 of them seriously; survivors huddled in the open as aftershocks as strong as 6 rocked the region.February 10, Near Sapporo, Japan. A 50,000-ton slab of rock fell on a road tunnel through which a bus and a car were traveling; 19 persons on the bus and one person in the car were crushed to death.February 12-14, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro states, Braz. Some of the heaviest rains in 25 years caused severe flooding, which claimed the lives of at least 50 persons and left thousands of others homeless; many of the dead were killed in mud slides, which entombed them in their hillside shanties.February 17, Biak Island, Indonesia. An earthquake of magnitude 7.9 followed by tidal waves as high as 4 m (13 ft) destroyed more than 5,000 homes and claimed the lives of 108 persons, most of whom were swept out to sea.February 21, Northern Peru. A tidal wave lashed the coast following an earthquake of magnitude 6.7; 10 fishermen were killed.March 16, Kashmir, Pak. An avalanche in the village of Kel claimed the lives of at least 32 persons.March 18, Kashmir. The second avalanche in two days in Kashmir buried seven houses in a tiny village near Muzaffarabad; at least 40 persons were feared dead.March 19, Xinjiang Uygur, China. An earthquake of magnitude 6.9 accompanied by aftershocks as strong as 5.1 toppled some 15,000 structures in the region and claimed the lives of at least 28 persons.March 28, Central Ecuador. An earthquake of magnitude 5.9 struck near Cotopaxi and claimed the lives of at least 19 persons.April, Afghanistan. Heavy rains and melting snow caused massive flooding, the worst in decades, which led to the deaths of at least 100 persons and damage to some 3,000 homes.April 27-28, Salvador, Braz. Driving rainstorms were blamed for the deaths of at least 30 and injuries to 24.Late April, Recife, Braz. Mud slides triggered by heavy rains swept away shanties perched on hillsides in the coastal city; as many as 32 persons were feared dead.May 3, Inner Mongolia, China. A strong earthquake of magnitude 5.9 shook the city of Baotou and the county of Guyang; 18 persons were killed, and some 200,000 were left homeless.May 13, Bangladesh. A tornado that rampaged through the district of Tangail and packed winds of 200 km/h (125 mph) uprooted trees, flattened some 80 villages, killed more than 440 persons, and injured some 32,000.May 31 and June 3, Yunnan province, China. In the space of four days, relentless rains caused two landslides on Laojin Mountain, the site of the Daping gold mine; 100 persons were known dead, 138 were missing, and 77 were injured.Mid-June, India. Two cyclones, one that battered the southeastern coast and another that lashed the west coast states of Gujarat and Maharashtra, claimed the lives of more than 260 persons; in addition, 120 fishermen were lost at sea.Mid-June, Central Yemen. Torrential rains in Shabwa province triggered heavy flooding, which led to the deaths of at least 158 persons and the destruction of some 1,274 homes.June 16-19, Karachi, Pak. A scorching heat wave accompanied by high humidity claimed the lives of 37 persons, including a number of homeless drug addicts who were found dead on the street.Early July, Oklahoma and Texas. A blistering eight-day heat wave with temperatures staying near or above 38° C (100° F) was blamed for the deaths of at least 20 persons; 54 people in Dallas were treated for heat-related illnesses.Early-mid-July, Caribbean and U.S. Hurricane Bertha, which rampaged through the Caribbean and hit Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands before smashing into the east coast of the United States and blasting the states of Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, New York, and New Jersey, claimed the lives of more than 30 persons, 20 of whom drowned after the cruise ship that they were aboard capsized near St. Thomas. The storm inflicted serious property damage on St. Thomas and North Carolina.Mid-late July, Northern Bangladesh and eastern India. Two weeks of relentless monsoon rains caused massive flooding, which claimed the lives of at least 291 persons; 2.2 million persons were left homeless as a result of the deluge.July-August, Southern and central China. Monsoon rains swelled the Chang Jiang (Yangtze River), Huang Ho (Yellow River), and Hai He (Hai River) to dangerous levels and caused flooding of calamitous proportions in nine provinces and areas; some 2,000 persons were feared dead, and damages to property and crops were estimated at $11 billion.July 20-21, Northeastern Quebec. Torrential rains washed out bridges and roads and caused massive flooding that destroyed or damaged between 1,500 and 2,000 homes in the Saguenay region; at least 10 lives were lost as a result of the flooding, which caused damage as high as $1.5 billion.July 26, Near Chorwon, S.Kor. Heavy monsoon rains triggered landslides and floods that claimed the lives of more than 50 persons, including 20 soldiers who were killed when a landslide buried two barracks in which they were sleeping.July 27-28, Colombia, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Mexico. Hurricane Cesar unleashed its fury on Colombia and Costa Rica before losing force and being downgraded and designated Tropical Storm Douglas as it hit Nicaragua and then menaced Mexico; at least 16 persons were known dead, and 21 were missing in Costa Rica.July 31-August 1, Taiwan. Typhoon Herb, the country's most costly storm to date, with more than $507 million in damages to agriculture and fishery operations, brutalized the landscape with high winds and pounding rain; at least 41 persons were killed.August 8, Northern Spain. Flash floods raced through a campground in the Pyrenees after a river burst its banks during a torrential downpour; as many as 70 persons were killed as the raging waters swept away cars, tents, and campers in a torrent of mud and debris.August 14, Off the coast of Vietnam. A fierce storm claimed the lives of about 400 fishermen who were lost at sea when their small wooden boats were shattered.August 17-18, Northwestern Vietnam. A fierce storm caused widespread flooding and led to the deaths of at least 53 persons.August 29, Perak, Malaysia. Torrential rains triggered a landslide in the remote area of Kampar in Perak; 13 persons were known dead, and 37 were missing after their flimsy huts were washed into a jungle river.Late August, Jammu and Kashmir, India. A freak snowstorm interspersed with heavy rains stranded thousands of Hindu pilgrims on the slopes of the Himalayas as they were making an annual pilgrimage to the ancient Amarnath Cave to worship Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction and restoration; 239 persons were known dead, many of them from exposure, and many more were missing.September 2, Omdurman province, The Sudan. Heavy rains caused severe flooding in the areas of Al-Jaili and Umbaddah; 15 persons lost their lives, and more than 1,000 homes were demolished.September 5-7, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia. Hurricane Fran churned winds of up to 195 km/h (120 mph) that toppled power lines, propelled trees into houses, and produced heavy rain, which caused extensive flooding; at least 28 deaths were attributed to the storm, 17 of them in North Carolina, where 34 counties were declared disaster areas. The states of Maryland and Pennsylvania also were soaked by the storm.September 9, Guangdong province, China. Typhoon Sally roared into southern China with punishing winds that smashed more than 200,000 homes and interrupted electricity and water supplies; hardest hit were the cities of Zhanjian and Maoming, where at least 139 persons were killed and 110 were missing.September 10-14, Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic. Hurricane Hortense delivered devastating damages to the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, where at least 22 persons lost their lives and about $100 million in crop damage was sustained, before brushing the Turks and Caicos Islands and roaring past The Bahamas on a northerly course. The storm knocked out power and lashed Nova Scotia before weakening.October-November, Central and northern Vietnam. Monthlong flooding in the Mekong delta followed a series of storms that deluged the country, causing $400 million in damage; at least 162 persons were killed, and thousands of homes were damaged or destroyed.Mid-October, Costa Rica, Cuba, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Hurricane Lili battered the countries with punishing torrential rain that weakened homes, destroyed crops, and killed at least 10 persons.Mid-October, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, India. Five days of relentless rains inundated low-lying coastal districts in both states, causing widespread flooding that killed some 350 persons, left some 100,000 homeless, and caused considerable damage to railway tracks and bridges.November 6, Andhra Pradesh. A cyclone that roared in from the Bay of Bengal annihilated the country's southeastern coast and killed at least 1,000 people; the fate of another 600, many of them Balusutippa fishermen, was unknown.November 12, Southern Peru. A powerful earthquake of magnitude 6.4 shook the tourist town of Nazca, where some 40 miners were trapped in a gold mine; about 95% of the homes there, most made of adobe, were damaged.November 17, Near Brownsville, Texas. Waves about 3 m (10 ft) high consumed a group of men, women, and children who were carrying passports from Pakistan and were apparently attempting to cross the Rio Grande into the U.S.; some 10 persons were feared drowned.November 18-22, Northwestern U.S. Rain in Oregon and snow and ice in Washington knocked out power and unleashed mud slides in Oregon, where a huge sinkhole swallowed one tractor-trailer and damaged another; 12 deaths were attributed to the severe weather.November 24-25, Southern Plains and Mississippi valley, U.S. Ice storms made travel treacherous and contributed to snapping power lines and trees; at least 17 persons lost their lives in traffic accidents—6 in Oklahoma, 6 in Texas, 3 in Wisconsin, and 2 in Missouri.December 3-6, Manam Island, Papua New Guinea. A volcano unleashed a cloud of gas and volcanic ash and a torrent of lava fragments, which swept down its slopes and obliterated the village of Budua; 12 persons were known dead.December 25, Sabah, Malaysia. Tropical Storm Greg roared through the region, leveled houses and thatched huts, and claimed the lives of more than 200 persons, many of whom were washed away in floodwaters; hardest hit was Keningau, where more than 100 corpses were found under debris or floating in rivers.December 26-31, California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. Incessant rain and snowstorms killed at least 29 persons.Late December, Europe. A continentwide deep freeze claimed the lives of at least 150 persons during the last week of the month; in addition, as many as 300 persons in Russia were trapped in a tunnel with their vehicles when avalanches stranded them.RailroadFebruary 16, Near Washington, D.C. A head-on collision between a Chicago-bound Amtrak train and a Maryland commuter train resulted in the deaths of 11 persons, all of them apparently on the commuter train; some of the more than 175 passengers and crew aboard the Amtrak train sustained minor injuries.Early April, Near Mweka, Zaire. A train crash following a derailment left 30 dead and 30 injured.April 7, Near Korogwe, Kenya. A freight train collided with a bus at a railroad crossing; 33 persons, mostly bus passengers, lost their lives, and 24 were injured.April 18, Northern India. A passenger train collided with a freight train; 20 persons were known dead, and at least 100 were injured.September 18, Japeri, Braz. An out-of-control freight train rear-ended a passenger train stopped at the station; 15 persons lost their lives.September 26, Southern Russia. A train traveling at full speed in dense fog plowed into a school bus at a railroad crossing; at least 21 children were killed, and 20 persons, including the driver and 3 adults, were seriously injured.TrafficJanuary 1, Near Sonoita, Mex. A bus inexplicably crossed into oncoming traffic and collided head-on with another bus; 27 persons were killed, and at least 25 were injured in the crash.February 12, Northern Italy. A chain-reaction pileup involving as many as 300 vehicles occurred on a fog-shrouded highway between Vicenza and Verona; at least 11 persons were killed, and more than 100 were injured.February 24, Pakistan. A crowded bus plunged into a canal after the driver swerved to avoid an oncoming car; at least 23 persons lost their lives as they were carried away in the swift-moving current.February 25, Bolivia. Two buses traveling at high speed during a rainstorm collided head-on some 45 km (28 mi) outside La Paz; at least 35 persons perished, and dozens were injured.February 28, Near Bailén, Spain. A passenger car veered across the centre line and slammed into a charter bus, which burst into flames; 29 persons were killed, and 17 were injured.March 14, Saudi Arabia. A vehicle carrying a group of illegal immigrants, most of them from Yemen, overturned while heading toward the town of Jizan, Saudi Arabia, where the deportees were being sent; 47 persons were killed.July 2, Dniprodzerzhynsk, Ukraine. A streetcar that was barreling down a hill at top speed derailed and slammed into a concrete wall when its brakes failed; at least 32 persons were killed, and 75 were injured.July 15, Central Mexico. A bus plunged off a rain-slickened highway after the driver apparently lost control of the vehicle while speeding down the slippery road; 17 persons lost their lives, and 26 were injured.September 2, Mexico. A bus en route to the town of Cuautla in the state of Morelos hit a truck and fell on its side; at least 20 persons were killed, and some 15 were injured.September 15, Southern Bangladesh. A bus that was racing past a bus station in Comilla hit several bicycle rickshaws; 12 persons were killed, and 11 were injured.October 5, Near Warmbaths, S.Af. A bus collided with a gasoline tanker after attempting to pass another vehicle while traveling through thick smoke emanating from a wildfire; at least 38 persons were killed in the fiery crash, and 12 were seriously injured.October 10, Southern Turkey. A bus carrying about 30 German, Dutch, and Swiss tourists overturned and plunged into a ravine while barreling down a slick road; 11 persons were killed, and 19 were injured.November 10, Near Tbilisi, Georgia. A bus that was traveling on the narrow mountain road between Tskhaltubo and Ambrulauri plummeted over a precipice into a river; at least 23 persons were killed.December 25, Southern Philippines. A minibus traveling between the towns of Tipo-tipo and Maluso crashed and erupted in flames after the driver of the overloaded vehicle was unable to maneuver down a steep descent; 17 persons burned to death, and 12 were injured.December 25, Saudi Arabia. A bus traveling from Jordan to an unknown destination in Saudi Arabia veered off the road and overturned; 17 persons were killed, and at least 40 were injured.MiscellaneousMay 13, Nairobi, Kenya. A supermarket marquee collapsed and crushed 16 persons who had taken shelter under it during a heavy downpour.June 12, Hyderabad, Pak. A four-story building collapsed in the early-morning hours as residents slept inside the 50-year-old structure; because suffocating summer heat had prompted many male occupants to sleep in the street, most of the 21 casualties were women and children.June 20, Salvador, Braz. A newly built cement warehouse collapsed and trapped 25 dock workers, 14 of whom lost their lives.July 15, Ujjain and Hardwar, India. At least 60 worshipers gathered to celebrate a new moon festival were killed, including 39 persons who were trampled in Ujjain as some 200,000 devotees rushed down marble steps to an underground temple, and 21 persons who died when a crowd stampeded across an overcrowded bridge while rushing to bathe in the Ganges River in Hardwar.July 31, Tembisa, S.Af. A stampede at a railway station occurred when private security guards, in an attempt to ensnare fare dodgers, closed exits and began prodding commuters with batons, which some claimed were electrified; 15 persons were trampled to death in the ensuing chaos, many of them as they tried to elude the batons as the crowd surged forward. The incident provoked a rash of stoning and arson.August 7, Bhiwandi, India. Food poisoning was blamed for the deaths of at least 52 persons who dined at a local restaurant and ate rice that was laced with datura, a poisonous weed.September 18, Calcutta. At least 17 men who climbed up into a tree to view a concert free were killed when the branches holding them broke and spilled them onto a live electric wire; 18 persons were injured in the resulting stampede.October 16, Guatemala City, Guat. A stampede by soccer fans entering a stadium to watch a qualifying World Cup match that had been oversold resulted in the deaths of more than 80 persons, who died after a crowd of gate-crashers raced past security guards and trampled them.October 27, Heliopolis, Egypt. A 12-story apartment building in a suburb of Cairo collapsed and killed at least 15 occupants; 60 others were missing in the debris, which covered 5 stories.December, Glasgow, Scot. A food-poisoning outbreak occurred after church parishioners were served tainted meat at a luncheon in November; by December, 15 of the 45 hospitalized persons suffering from the illness blamed on the Escherichia coli bacterium had died.December 20, Guangdong province. A 91-m (100-yd) section of a 160-m (175-yd) bridge that was under construction and nearing completion collapsed and entombed workers under tons of debris; at least 24 workers lost their lives, and 63 were injured.▪ 1996IntroductionThe loss of life and property from disaster in 1995 included the following:AviationJanuary 5, Near Isfahan, Iran. A C-140 JetStar carrying the commander of the Iranian air force and 11 other top military officers, including 4 other generals, crashed on the tarmac when it returned to the airport after experiencing mechanical difficulties; all aboard perished.January 11, Near Cartagena, Colombia. A DC-9 aircraft carrying 53 persons crashed and broke apart in a field, apparently as the pilot attempted to make a crash landing in a nearby swamp; a nine-year-old girl, who was pushed out of the plane by her mother and landed on a soft pile of seaweed some 9 m (30 ft) from the wreckage, was the only survivor.March 31, Near Bucharest, Rom. A Romanian Tarom Airlines Airbus 310 with 60 persons aboard crashed during a sleet storm shortly after takeoff, but investigators blamed a faulty engine mechanism for the crash; there were no survivors.April 28, Jaffna province, Sri Lanka. A military transport plane carrying troops to Colombo crashed moments after takeoff; none of the 38 persons aboard survived.May 24, Near Harrogate, England. A commuter plane with 12 persons aboard crashed in a field during a violent thunderstorm, presumably after being struck by lightning; all aboard the aircraft perished.Late June, Lagos, Nigeria. An airliner making a domestic flight from Kaduna skidded off a rain-soaked runway while attempting to land and burst into flames in a nearby field; of the 80 persons aboard, at least 16 lost their lives.Mid-July, Antananarivo, Madagascar. A military transport plane crashed upon landing at the airport; 34 passengers, including 21 doctors from a humanitarian aid group, were killed.August 9, San Salvador, El Salvador. An airliner making its approach to the airport inexplicably slammed into the side of a volcano; all 65 persons aboard were killed.Early September, Near Jalalabad, Pak. An Afghan airliner with 46 persons aboard crashed; there were no survivors.September 10, Shacklefords, Va. A plane carrying parachutists went into a steep dive before crashing into a house; all 11 persons aboard the craft and one person on the ground were killed. Investigators concluded that the plane had been improperly loaded and had exceeded its maximum takeoff weight.September 13, Near Colombo, Sri Lanka. A military transport plane with 75 persons aboard crashed during a thunderstorm while simultaneously experiencing instrument failure; there were no survivors.September 15, Borneo. A Malaysian airliner carrying 53 persons plowed through a shantytown and exploded near the town of Tawau, where it was attempting to land; 37 persons aboard the plane were killed, and 9 persons on the ground were injured, two critically.September 21, Near Moron, Mongolia. A Mongolian airliner with 41 persons aboard went down after taking off from Ulan Bator; one person survived the crash.September 22, Near Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska. An air force airborne warning and control system jet equipped with one of the world's most sophisticated surveillance systems and carrying 24 crewmen (22 Americans and 2 Canadians) crashed in a forest shortly after takeoff when its left engine suddenly caught on fire; all aboard perished.October 4, Kyrgyzstan. A helicopter that was ferrying workers from a gold mine to the capital crashed in the Tien Shan mountains; all 15 persons aboard perished.November 8, Central Argentina. A military aircraft en route to an aviation school ceremony crashed in a mountainous area during a raging storm; none of the 53 persons aboard survived.December 3, Near Douala, Cameroon. A Cameroon jetliner clipped some trees and crashed into a swamp, apparently after the pilot tried to abort the landing when the right engine began emitting sparks; of the 78 persons aboard the craft, only 6 survived.December 6, Near Nakhichevan, Azerbaijan. A twin-engine plane went down shortly after takeoff, apparently after experiencing engine problems; 49 persons were killed, and 33 were injured.December 7, Russia. A Russian aircraft with 97 persons aboard vanished from radar screens while it was en route from Sakhalin Island to Khabarovsk; the wreckage of the craft was discovered 11 days later, and all aboard were found dead.December 7, Near Belle-Anse, Haiti. A twin-engine plane with 20 persons aboard, 16 of them Haitians bound for repatriation, inexplicably crashed; there were no survivors.December 13, Near Verona, Italy. A Romanian charter plane carrying at least 45 persons crashed shortly after take-off from Villafranca Airport; all aboard perished.December 18, Near Jamba, Angola. A Zairean-based plane that was carrying at least 136 persons went down in a remote area; only 5 persons survived the crash.December 20, Near Buga, Colombia. An American Airlines 757 jet with 164 persons aboard crashed into a mountain shortly before it was due to land in Cali; the accident, which was attributed to pilot error, claimed the lives of 160 and was the deadliest crash involving a U.S. jetliner since 1988.Fires and ExplosionsJanuary 5, Jinan, Shandong province, China. An underground pipeline explosion blasted apart a 2-km (1.25-mi) expanse of pavement and killed at least 10 persons.February 7, Pusan, South Korea. A fire that erupted in the engine room of a cargo ship that was docked for repairs killed 18 persons and seriously injured 7.February 15, T'ai-chung, Taiwan. An explosion touched off a fire in a restaurant/karaoke complex, which was gutted by the blaze; at least 64 patrons were killed, many of them trapped behind iron-barred windows and a locked rear-door exit.Mid-April, Urumqi, Xinjiang Uygur, China. A fire that ripped through a movie theatre and karaoke bar claimed the lives of 51 persons and injured countless others.April 17, Gdansk, Poland. A powerful explosion caused by a ruptured gas main in the basement of an 11-story building obliterated the first 3 floors of the structure and destabilized the remaining 8 levels; 7 persons were killed in the blast, and 20 were missing and presumed dead.April 17, Taiwan. A predawn fire at a nightclub claimed the lives of 11 persons, 10 of whom died after being hospitalized for smoke inhalation; the blaze, which was possibly the work of an arsonist, also injured 13 of the 39 persons on the premises.April 23, Lao Cai province, Vietnam. A jeep crammed with some 20 persons exploded when its cargo of explosives ignited; the vehicle and its passengers were incinerated.April 28, Taegu, South Korea. A thunderous rush-hour explosion that was precipitated by a leaking gas main at a subway construction site hurled huge metal plates serving as a temporary roadway atop cars and buses loaded with schoolchildren, tossed some 100 cars and city buses into the excavation site, and damaged about 70 buildings; 110 persons were believed killed, at least half of them schoolchildren.Late May, Northern India. A fire at a fireworks factory claimed the lives of 23 persons, including 13 women and 6 children.June 23, Belgrade, Yugos. A powerful explosion rocked a chemical factory during the production of a new but unidentified product; 10 persons were killed, and 11 were injured seriously.August 21, Near Seoul, South Korea. A fire in a church-run reformatory for women was deliberately started by prostitutes and runaways who tried to escape; at least 38 women perished behind barred windows and doors.October 27, Near Kosice, Slovakia. A ruptured gas pipeline that was oozing carbon monoxide gas exploded at a steel mill; 11 workers were fatally injured.October 28, Baku, Azerbaijan. A fire that enveloped a subway car as it was traveling between stations claimed the lives of more than 300 persons and injured some 200; most of the victims were felled by carbon monoxide fumes emanating from burning materials, and others were electrocuted as they tried to grasp cables to escape the blazing train.November 3, Córdoba province, Arg. A powerful explosion at an Argentine munitions factory in the town of Río Tercero killed at least 13 persons and left 200 missing; the initial blast, which injured some 330 others, also touched off a fire that threatened to spread to an underground heavy artillery depot.December 7, Shaqlawah, Iraq. A fuel tanker that was taking oil to a UN gasoline station exploded; at least 10 persons, including two UN guards, lost their lives in the blast.December 23, Mandi Dabwali, India. A fire that engulfed a tent that had been erected in a walled courtyard for a school ceremony claimed the lives of more than 500 persons, mostly youths but also some entire families gathered for the occasion, and severely burned hundreds of others; the official cause of the blaze was linked to an electrical short circuit that ignited a fire in the tent's synthetic fabric.MarineEarly January, Constanta, Rom. Two bulk carriers, the Maltese-flagged Paris and the Hong-Kong-registered You Xiu, lost power in heavy seas and a blizzard and sank after hitting the port's breakwater; 54 seamen were feared drowned.February 25, Off the northwestern coast of Australia. Three small fishing boats apparently sank after being battered by ferocious winds; 11 persons were lost at sea.March 2, Off the coast of Angola. A coaster carrying some 227 persons, many of them women and children, ran aground and sank; about 45 persons survived.Late March, South China. An overloaded boat carrying nearly twice its capacity sank; some 42 Buddhist pilgrims lost their lives.Mid-May, Off the coast of the Philippines. An interisland ferry erupted in flames, causing panicked passengers to jump into the sea without their life jackets; 42 persons drowned, and 23 others were missing.Late May, Central India. Three boats carrying festival revelers capsized in the Narmada River; 22 persons drowned, and 100 suffered injuries.Early June, Zambezia province, Mozambique. A boat sank in the Ligonha River; 12 of the craft's occupants were killed by crocodiles, and several others were missing.Mid-June, Bangkok, Thailand. A floating pier that was loaded with commuters capsized on the Chao Phraya River; at least 20 persons lost their lives, and as many as 80 were injured.Early July, Gulf of Guinea. A passenger boat traveling between Cameroon and Nigeria sank in choppy waters; at least 100 persons were feared drowned.Mid-August, Western Bangladesh. A ferryboat capsized on the Chitra River; about 150 persons were believed drowned.August 17, Southeastern Venezuela. A tourist boat plummeted over a 91.5-m (300-ft) waterfall; 11 children and a priest who was accompanying them were killed.August 18, Off the coast of Yemen. A strong tide upended a boat carrying Eritreans sailing to Yemen; at least 92 persons lost their lives when the craft sank.Early September, Bihar state, India. A boat capsized after slamming into a bridge on the rain-swollen Ganges River; at least 40 of the 150 persons aboard perished.October 29, Near Patna, India. A boat brimming with a group of Hindu pilgrims capsized while attempting to cross the Ganges River; at least 60 persons drowned.November 8, Off the coast of Oregon. A charter fishing boat en route to Alaska was missing after experiencing engine problems during a spell of bad weather; the fate of the 11 persons aboard was unknown.November 10, Off the coast of Bangladesh. A fierce storm battered fishing boats in the Bay of Bengal; at least 21 trawlers and nearly 200 fishermen were missing.Mining and TunnelingJanuary 1-March 15, China. A total of 92 mining accidents killed 573 persons during the 10-week period.February 26, Near Quetta, Pak. A methane gas explosion in a coal mine caused part of the mine to collapse; more than 27 workers were buried alive.March 13, Yunnan province, China. A gas explosion in a poorly ventilated mine killed 32 workers and injured 12; the mine, which had operated in violation of safety regulations, was closed by the government.March 26, Sorgun, Turkey. An explosion trapped at least 40 miners and injured 5.March 30-31, Near Vorkuta, Russia. Two separate gas explosions that occurred in the same mine on successive days resulted in the deaths of a total of 15 persons.May 10, Near Johannesburg, South Africa. A runaway underground locomotive at the Vaal Reefs gold mine plowed through a safety mechanism, plunged down a mine shaft, and crushed more than 100 miners who were descending in a cage; all were killed.August 31, Mieres, Spain. A gas explosion in a deep coal mine killed 14 miners.September 4, Kemerovo, Russia. A planned explosion in a coal mine, where 81 miners were working, claimed the lives of 15 miners who were killed when the cage in which they were riding collapsed as a result of the blast.Late September, Near Jos, Nigeria. A cave-in buried 80 persons who were illegally mining for tin; the dead were mostly teenagers and farmers in need of employment.September 27, Near Dhanbad, India. Two coal mines were flooded with water that surged into the shaft after a river overflowed; at least 70 miners drowned.NaturalEarly January, Northern Bangladesh. A bitter cold snap, the worst in 30 years, killed at least 120 persons.Early-mid-January, California. A series of violent storms deluged much of the state, claimed at least 11 lives, and caused some $300 million in damages to crops, homes, businesses, and roads; 34 rain-drenched counties were declared disaster areas, and the community of Rio Linda, just north of Sacramento, was one of the worst affected after a channel named Dry Creek burgeoned into a lake and inundated hundreds of homes.January 16, Súdhavík, Iceland. A predawn avalanche roared down upon a sleeping fishing village during a raging storm accompanied by gale-force winds; 14 persons were entombed in their homes.January 16-19, Kashmir, India. A thundering Himalayan avalanche trapped more than 5,000 motorists in their vehicles on the Jammu-Srinagar highway; more than 200 persons were known dead, 400 were taking temporary refuge in a tunnel, and 5,000 were rescued.January 17, Kobe, Japan. The Great Hanshin Earthquake, a cataclysmic temblor of magnitude 7.2, devastated the city, claimed some 6,000 lives, injured more than 30,000 persons, left some 300,000 persons homeless, and temporarily closed the world's busiest port. Hundreds of streets buckled or caved in, nearly 200,000 buildings were destroyed or badly damaged, and kilometres of train tracks were mangled. It was estimated that the reconstruction of Kobe would cost around $120 billion, which would make the quake the costliest natural disaster in history.Late January-early February, Belgium, France, Germany, The Netherlands. Torrential rains and melting snow caused massive flooding as overflowing rivers, notably the Rhine, Main, Mosel, Meuse, Waal, and Nahe, unleashed their waters and submerged surrounding towns; the northern half of France was almost completely under water, German city dwellers navigated by boat, and The Netherlands, which was hardest hit of all, fortified stressed earthen dikes that were protecting low-lying farmlands with some 15,000 sandbags while more than 250,000 residents evacuated the already saturated areas. Some 30 deaths were attributed to the flooding, which inflicted damages in excess of $2 billion.February 8, Pereira, Colombia. An earthquake of magnitude 6.4 rocked the area, toppled cement and brick structures, and claimed at least 38 lives; 230 persons were injured, and at least 3,000 were left homeless after some 700 homes were destroyed.Early March, California. Record-setting relentless rains pummeled the state, destabilized twin Interstate 5 bridges, which collapsed and resulted in the closure of a 290-km (180-mi) stretch of highway, closed other roads, and isolated the communities around Monterey, which resembled a soggy bog. The storm also disrupted electrical and telephone services, submerged vineyards in the Napa and Sonoma valleys, and destroyed crops in some of the nation's most fertile farmlands. At least 12 fatalities were attributed to the violent weather.March 27, Kalluq, Afghanistan. Heavy rains triggered a mud slide that obliterated a remote mountain village; 354 persons were killed, and 64 were injured.Early May, Northern Sumatra, Indon. Floods and landslides caused by heavy rains killed at least 55 persons and left some 17,500 homeless.May 5, Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas. A string of drenching storms packing high winds and accompanied by hailstones the size of softballs pounded the northern part of the state and claimed the lives of 17 persons.May 17, Southeastern Bangladesh. A vicious rainstorm and a tidal surge claimed the lives of nearly 100 persons; some 10,000 shanties were destroyed, and at least 120 passengers aboard two boats were spilled into the waters after the crafts capsized.May 28, Sakhalin Island, Russia. An earthquake of magnitude 7.5 nearly wiped out the town of Neftegorsk, where only 1,208 persons out of some 3,200 survived.Late May, Central Angola. Torrential rains washed away a feeding centre; 25 children were among the 33 fatalities.Early June, Northern and central India. A sweltering heat wave with temperatures in excess of 46° C (115° F) tormented residents in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar, and Madhya Pradesh; though the official death toll was placed at 550, more than 1,200 corpses were prepared for burial.Early-mid-June, Bangladesh and Nepal. Heavy premonsoon rains produced severe flooding and landslides; at least 50 deaths were reported in Bangladesh, 60 persons were confirmed dead in Nepal, and 35 were missing.Early June-early July, Hunan, Hubei, and Jiangxi provinces, China. Severe rains touched off massive flooding and swelled the Chang Jiang (Yangtze River) to a dangerously high level; at least 1,200 persons perished in the flooding, some 5.6 million were stranded, and 1.3 million were relocated after some 900,000 homes were destroyed and some 4 million damaged.June 3, Puerto Lempira, Honduras. An electrical storm claimed the lives of at least 17 soccer fans who were struck by a bolt of lightning as they sought protection in a nearby shelter.June 15, Egion, Greece. An earthquake of magnitude 6.1 reduced an apartment building and a hotel to heaps of rubble; at least 17 persons were killed, 59 were injured seriously, and some 500 buildings were damaged.June 30, Near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. A landslide buried more than 15 cars and 2 buses traveling on a highway leading to a resort; at least 20 persons lost their lives, and 23 were injured.July, U.S. A scorching heat wave that stalled over the Midwest and then gripped the East with suffocating temperatures hovering around 38° C (100° F) claimed the lives of nearly 1,000 persons nationwide; Chicago reported a record 733 heat-related deaths, while the other fatalities were scattered across the nation.July 13, Western Turkey. Flash floods triggered massive mud slides that descended on the town of Senirkent; at least 50 persons perished, and some 200 homes were destroyed.Mid-July, Bangladesh. Chest-deep floodwaters inundated at least 27 districts and claimed the lives of more than 150 persons.Mid-July, Pakistan. Relentless monsoon rains touched off severe flooding; nearly 600 persons perished.Mid-July, Southwestern China. Weeks of heavy rains triggered a landslide that buried a sleeping village; 26 deaths were reported.Mid-July, South Korea. Typhoon Faye lashed the country with heavy rain and high winds; at least 16 persons were known dead, and 25 were missing.Mid-July, Spain. A stifling heat wave, with temperatures soaring to 44° C (111° F), was blamed for the deaths of 10 persons.August 17, Morocco. A downpour in the drought-stricken Atlas Mountains triggered flash flooding and landslides, which swept away homes and cars carrying vacationers; more than 230 persons were killed, and some 500 were missing.Early September, Northern India. Heavy monsoon rains were blamed for the deaths of at least 40 villagers.Early September, Morocco. A new round of flooding killed 31 persons.September 4-6, Northeastern Caribbean islands. Hurricane Luis, one of the most powerful storms of the 20th century and packing winds of 225 km/h (140 mph), brutalized Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis, the Dutch and French island of St. Martin, Dominica, Montserrat, Anguilla, Saint-Barthélemy, and Guadeloupe before grazing the northern coast of Puerto Rico and losing force; though Antigua was hardest hit, the other islands sustained heavy damage, and at least 15 persons, 9 of them on St. Martin, lost their lives.September 6, Southern Philippines. Waist-high floodwaters descended on towns in Cotabato province after the rim of Parker Volcano collapsed, causing the crater's lake waters to overflow; 26 persons were killed, and more than 100 were missing and feared dead.September 14, Mexico. Hurricane Ismael hammered the northwestern Pacific states and claimed the lives of at least 107 persons, many of them fishermen caught at sea.Mid-September, Thailand. Extensive flooding affected 52 of the country's 76 provinces and claimed the lives of at least 62 persons.September 15-16, U.S. Virgin Islands and eastern Puerto Rico. Hurricane Marilyn unleashed its fury on St. Thomas with winds in excess of 160 km/h (100 mph) and destroyed 80% of its buildings, battered St. John and ripped off 60% of the roofs there, and bashed St. Croix before destroying 50 homes and damaging some 200 others on Puerto Rico; at least nine fatalities were attributed to the storm, which caused some $875 million in damages.Late September-early October, Bangladesh. Five days of heavy rains created severe flooding that trapped more than one million persons in their homes and claimed the lives of more than 100.October 1, Western Turkey. An earthquake of magnitude 6 rocked the area and reduced to rubble more than 60% of the buildings in Dinar; at least 84 persons were known dead, dozens of others were buried under debris and feared dead, and more than 190 were injured.October 1, The Philippines. Tropical storm Sybil ravaged at least 29 provinces and 27 cities and helped unleash floods, landslides, and volcanic mudflows; more than 100 fatalities were reported, and 100 were missing and feared dead.October 4, Florida, North Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama. Hurricane Opal pummeled the Florida panhandle along a 195-km (120-mi) stretch of land with wind gusts of up to 200 km/h (125 mph), ruptured sewer and water lines, caused $50 million in damages to recreational boats, inflicted at least $1.8 billion in property damages, and claimed the lives of at least 19 persons.October 7, Sumatra, Indon. An earthquake of magnitude 7 claimed the lives of at least 100 persons and injured at least 700.October 9, Mexico. An earthquake of magnitude 7.6 rocked the country's Pacific coast, toppling two hotels (one in the resort town of Manzanillo, Colima state, and the other in Jalisco state); the temblor claimed the lives of more than 65 persons and injured scores of others.October 24, Yunnan province. An earthquake of magnitude 6.5 struck during a torrential downpour, demolished hundreds of buildings and homes, killed at least 40 persons, and injured at least 70.October 26, Flateyri, Iceland. A massive predawn snowslide, preceded by days of blizzards and storms, engulfed 19 homes and claimed the lives of 20 persons in the fishing village.Late October, The Philippines. Tropical storm Zack roared through the country and forced at least 60,000 persons to flee their homes; the brutal storm claimed at least 100 lives.November 3, The Philippines. Typhoon Angela, with punishing winds of 225 km/h (140 mph), blasted the northern part of the country and left a trail of destruction that included $77 million in damages to crops, roads, and bridges; the death toll of more than 700 was expected to rise, as many persons remained missing.November 11-12, Nepal. Heavy snow in the Himalayas triggered a series of snowslides and mudflows that killed at least 49 persons and trapped scores of others; more than 500 persons were rescued.November 22, Middle East. A powerful earthquake shook Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia and claimed at least 10 lives across the region.December 25, KwaZulu/Natal province, South Africa. Flash floods caused by incessant rains killed at least 130 persons, many of them swept away in their corrugated iron shacks.Late December, Europe and Asia. A series of blizzards and spells of extreme cold that stretched from the U.K. to Kazakhstan and Bangladesh took the lives of over 350 people, many of whom froze to death in Moscow while intoxicated.Late December, Brazil. Severe rains and attendant flooding resulted in the deaths of some 60 people.RailroadJanuary 13, Near Hilli, Bangladesh. A speeding passenger train collided with a stationary passenger train; more than 150 lives were lost, and at least 300 were injured in the high-speed crash.April 2, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Thailand. A 10-ton truck slammed into the locomotive of a passenger train at an unmarked railroad crossing, causing the train to derail; 14 persons were killed, including the truck driver, the train engineer, a mechanic, and 11 passengers, and at least 109 were injured.Mid-May, Tamil Nadu, India. A freight train collided head-on with an express passenger train near the town of Salem after barreling through a stop signal; at least 50 fatalities and some 200 injuries were reported.August 20, Firozabad, India. An express train that hit a cow and came to a complete stop after its braking system was damaged was rammed from behind by another express train when signaling problems developed; the worst rail accident in the country's history killed 348 persons and injured scores of others.October 24, Near Tasikmalaya, Indon. A passenger train carrying between 300 and 400 persons left the tracks and tumbled into an area filled with ravines and volcanic mountains; at least 17 persons were killed, and 100 were injured.December 21, Near Cairo. A commuter train traveling at high speed in thick fog rammed into the rear of a passenger train, propelling one car of the passenger train atop another of its cars and derailing two other cars; the official toll was placed at 75 dead and 76 injured, but eyewitnesses reported that many more were killed.TrafficJanuary 3, Near Echague, Phil. A bus that was racing with another bus fell off a bridge into a ravine; 31 persons were killed, and 38 were injured.January 7, Hao Binh province, Vietnam. A passenger bus, which experienced brake problems while the driver's son was at the wheel, left the road and plunged into a ravine; 21 passengers were killed, but the boy survived the crash.February 3, Near Jhumsa, Nepal. A bus rolled off a mountain road and fell some 100 m (330 ft); 43 persons lost their lives in the accident.March 12, Near Madras, India. An oil truck collided with a bus after attempting to pass a tractor-trailer filled with wedding guests; at least 110 persons were killed when all three vehicles burst into flames.Early March, Côte d'Ivoire. A bus traveling on the Abidjan-Touba coastal route left the roadway and plowed into a village; 14 persons were killed, and 54 were injured.April 9, Near Bowie, Ariz. A swirling dust storm blinded motorists traveling on Interstate 10 and resulted in a 24-car pileup; 10 persons were killed in the crash.April 17, India. A bus filled with Buddhist pilgrims was traveling on a mountain road when it fell off a cliff on Adam's Peak; 14 persons were killed, and 34 were injured.April 25, Southern India. A truck veered off a road and dived into a deep irrigation ditch; at least 29 Hindu pilgrims aboard the vehicle were killed.Early May, Near Chongqing, China. A bus collided with a truck and fell into a river; 12 persons lost their lives.Mid-May, Eastern Spain. A bus carrying some 40 senior citizens collided head-on with a tractor-trailer truck; 13 passengers were killed.May 23, Near Bristol, England. A bus carrying British Legion members spun off the M4 roadway, landed in a culvert, and burst into flames, apparently after the driver swerved to avoid wooden pallets strewn across the pavement; 12 retirees were killed in the crash.Early June, Near Kalubathan, India. An express train collided with a freight train; 48 persons perished, and 76 were injured.June 4, Maharashtra, India. A truck overturned and plunged into a deep valley near Kohlapur; 23 persons perished, and 10 were injured.July 10, Near Roquemaure, France. A bus transporting Spanish students from Amsterdam to Barcelona, Spain, swerved wildly and rolled over several times after the bus driver apparently dozed off; at least 22 persons were killed and 32 injured when the driver, who was abruptly awakened after the vehicle's side mirror scraped a truck, tried frantically to steer the bus back on course.MiscellaneousJanuary 2, Tajikistan. Locally brewed champagne mixed with cyanide claimed the lives of 10 revelers celebrating the New Year.Mid-January, Laghouat, Alg. A perfume that was laced with a toxic substance killed at least 27 persons, including 10 victims who blended wine with the scent, and hospitalized some 40 others; it was not known if all of those afflicted had drunk the adulterated concoction or if some merely had worn it.February 24, Rasht, Iran. A stampede at a mosque on the last Friday of the Muslim month of Ramadan claimed the lives of 14 persons; additional details of the tragedy were not made available.March 16, Kigali, Rwanda. At least 22 of the 74 Hutu prisoners being held on suspicion of genocide suffocated after being incarcerated in a cramped cell built to hold between 5 and 10 inmates.April 28, South Island, New Zealand. A viewing platform above a spectacular cavern in the Paparoa National Park, built to support 10 persons, collapsed under the weight of 18 visitors; of the 14 persons who were hurled to their deaths on the rocks below, 13 were students.June 29, Seoul, South Korea. A five-story department store collapsed in a heap of rubble, causing a fire in an underground parking garage where cars crushed by falling debris leaked gasoline, which ignited and sent acrid smoke billowing through the complex; more than 500 shoppers were killed, and 400 were missing amid tons of concrete and metal debris. Investigators attributed the tragedy to shoddy construction.July 15, Near Gyor, Hung. An abandoned truck that had a faulty ventilation system became a death chamber for 18 Sri Lankan Tamils, who suffocated when the driver disappeared without opening the sealed trailer.▪ 1995IntroductionThe loss of life and property from disaster in 1994 included the following:AviationJanuary 3, Near Irkutsk, Siberia. A TU-154 Russian jetliner with one of its three engines ablaze plowed through farm buildings and power lines before crashing in a field and bursting into flames moments after takeoff; all 120 persons aboard perished, and another fatality was reported on the ground.January 5, Florida. A twin-engine plane crashed on a rural road in the Orlando area after experiencing engine trouble shortly after takeoff; 10 persons were killed, including a newlywed couple and a number of their relatives.January 12, Cuzco, Peru. A helicopter with 15 military personnel aboard crashed on the airport runway; all aboard were killed.February 25, Near Carpish Pass, Peru. The wreckage of a passenger plane carrying 29 persons was discovered in a remote, cloud-shrouded area of the eastern Andes a day after it lost radio contact and disappeared; there were no survivors of the crash.March 14, Off the coast of Kenya. A U.S. Air Force AC-130 gunship carrying weapons to support the international effort in Mogadishu, Somalia, crashed some 20 m (66 ft) from the shoreline; 11 of the 14 crew members aboard were killed.March 17, Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan. An Iranian transport plane carrying the families of diplomats home from Moscow to Tehran to celebrate the Muslim New Year went down in the disputed, heavily Armenian enclave; the craft, which carried 32 persons, mostly women and children, reportedly lost cabin pressure before it crashed, claiming the lives of all aboard.March 23, Near Novokuznetsk, Siberia. A Russian A-310 Airbus slammed into a snow-covered hillside and exploded after disappearing from radar tracking screens. The pilot, who had apparently turned over the cockpit controls to his teenage son and daughter while he and the co-pilot visited with the passengers, was unable to reach the controls in time to steer the plummeting aircraft out of a fatal nosedive, which resulted in the deaths of all 75 persons aboard the half-empty plane.March 23, Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina. Two air force planes, one an F-16 Fighting Falcon and the other a C-130 Hercules transport plane, collided in midair when both attempted to land simultaneously; the two fighter pilots ejected to safety and the C-130 cargo plane was able to land safely with its crew, but the F-16 exploded, crashed, skidded down the tarmac in the form of a giant fireball, and slammed into a C-141 Star-Lifter transport plane with hundreds of paratroopers on board. The death toll on the ground was 23, and 85 were badly injured, most of them with severe burns.April 1, Near Djanet, Alg. A helicopter crashed with 14 persons aboard; there were no survivors.April 26, Nagoya, Japan. A China Airlines A-300 Airbus crash-landed and exploded on the tarmac shortly after an inexperienced copilot at the controls struggled to land the jet as its computerized controls tried to abort the landing and gain altitude; only 7 of the 271 persons aboard survived the fiery explosion. In early May it was also revealed that the copilot had a blood level of alcohol that was in excess of Japan's standards for drunken driving.Late April, West Kalimantan, Indon. A plane crash claimed the lives of 10 persons, but a lone survivor was found crawling through the bush five days later.May 6/7, Near Kinshasa, Zaire. A twin-engine plane carrying at least nine officials from Zaire, Tunisia, and Uganda crashed in a swamp; besides the various government officials, an unspecified number of passengers were on the flight; apparently all perished.June 2, Western Scotland. A helicopter carrying high-ranking MI-5 officers and senior members of the special branch of the Royal Ulster Constabulary to a security conference exploded in a fireball before crashing in heavy fog on the tip of the Mull of Kintyre; none of the 29 persons aboard survived.June 6, Near Xian (Sian), China. A Chinese jetliner en route to Guangzhou (Canton) crashed moments after takeoff; all 160 persons aboard perished.June 7, Near Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire. An Air Ivoire Fokker F-27 crashed on its approach to the capital; 17 persons were killed.June 18, Near Washington, D.C. A plane carrying Mexican fans to a World Cup soccer match between Mexico and Norway crashed in the woods in heavy fog while making its final approach to Dulles Airport outside Washington, D.C.; all 12 persons aboard the aircraft were killed.July 1, Tidjikya, Mauritania. An Air Mauritania passenger plane crashed while attempting to land during a sandstorm; 94 of the 101 persons aboard lost their lives.July 2, Charlotte, N.C. A USAir DC-9 jetliner with 57 persons aboard crashed during a thunderstorm while making its approach to the Charlotte-Douglas International Airport; 37 persons were killed despite the pilots' desperate efforts to reverse the aircraft's downward spiral. Experts believed that wind shear was a possible cause of the crash.July 19, Near Colón, Panama. A plane carrying 21 persons exploded and crashed shortly after takeoff; all aboard perished, and investigators were concerned that a bomb may have been aboard the aircraft.August 5, Bada, Siberia. A Russian military transport plane crashed upon landing at the Bada airport; 47 persons perished.August 21, Near Agadir, Morocco. A Royal Air Maroc passenger plane crashed in the Atlas Mountains; all 44 persons aboard the aircraft were killed, including 16 foreign tourists and a Kuwaiti prince and his wife. Government allegations that the pilot was suicidal could not be proved.September 8, Near Aliquippa, Pa. A USAir Boeing 737 inexplicably nose-dived to the ground and exploded while approaching the Greater Pittsburgh International Airport, a scheduled stop en route to its final destination in Florida; all 132 persons aboard were killed.September 26, Near Vanavara, Siberia. A Russian Yak-40 plane carrying 26 persons crashed while preparing for an emergency landing during a storm; there were no survivors.October 12, Central Iran. A commuter plane crashed in the Karkas Mountains; all 66 persons aboard perished.October 29, Near Irkutsk. A four-engine Russian plane crashed; 21 persons were killed.October 31, Near Roselawn, Ind. A Chicago-bound commuter plane carrying 68 persons crashed and burned in a cornfield after descending from 3,050 m (10,000 ft) to 2,440 m (8,000 ft) during a torrential downpour; no one survived the crash, which investigators believed was probably caused by ice buildup on the aircraft's wings.November 1, Off the coast of Cozumel, Mexico. A helicopter carrying 14 persons plunged into the Caribbean Sea shortly after its pilot had reportedly experienced mechanical failure; all aboard were killed.December 13, Near Morrisville, N.C. A commuter plane crashed in a heavily wooded area while preparing to land at the Raleigh-Durham Airport; of the 20 persons aboard the craft, 15 were killed when the plane plummeted to the ground in fog and rain, apparently after experiencing an engine flameout.December 29, Near Van, Turkey. An aircraft whose pilot had aborted two landings crashed during a third attempt in a blinding snowstorm; of the 76 persons aboard the aircraft, which was severed into three parts, 54 persons were killed and 22 were injured.Fires and ExplosionsJanuary 16, Tetouan, Morocco. A fire that swept through a steam bath claimed the lives of 24 persons; 15 persons were treated for smoke inhalation.Mid-February, Yuanshi (Yuan-shih) county, Hubei (Hupeh) province, China. Several crates of firecrackers exploded at a market; 16 persons were killed and 7 were injured in the blast.March 20, Dhaka, Bangladesh. A gas cylinder belonging to a balloon vendor exploded near a tap where women and children were waiting in line to collect water; more than 18 persons were killed, and 15 were seriously injured.March 29, Kashmir, India. An explosion tore through an army explosives depot; at least 15 military personnel were killed in the inferno.March 30, Idil, Sirnak province, Turkey. A passenger minibus traveling on a country road struck a mine planted on a bridge by separatist Kurdish guerrillas; 15 persons were killed, and one was wounded.Late April, Near Galashki, Russia. An apparent engine defect caused a bus to erupt in flames; at least 31 persons lost their lives, and 27 were injured.July 1, Vitória, Brazil. A fireworks stall exploded at an outdoor antique market and touched off other fires in adjacent buildings and in cars passing through the marketplace; at least 30 persons were killed, and some 40 were injured.July 3-10, Southern and eastern Spain. The worst wildfires in 20 years, resulting from extraordinarily dry weather coupled with torrid temperatures, incinerated more than 150,000 ha (370,500 ac) of pine and eucalyptus forest and claimed the lives of 14 firefighters and 7 others.July 6, Near Glenwood Springs, Colo. A firestorm on Storm King Mountain claimed the lives of 14 of 52 smoke jumpers who were trapped when the relatively contained wildfire exploded into a major conflagration as it was fueled by 80-km/h (50-mph) winds.July 18, Buenos Aires, Arg. An explosion in a Jewish community centre claimed the lives of nearly 100 persons; authorities believed that a bomb planted by terrorists had triggered the blast.Mid-August, Seoul, South Korea. A fire swept through a hostess bar; 14 persons were killed.September 7, Moscow. At least three explosions ripped through a two-story building that housed a sports club, a municipal maintenance office, and the passport division of a neighbouring police station; the unexplained blast killed as many as 10 persons and injured 27.Early October, Uttar Pradesh, India. An explosion in a fireworks factory claimed the lives of 26 persons and critically injured 27; many of the victims were children.October 24, Chungju Lake, South Korea. A fire swept through a pleasure boat, and the vessel was engulfed in flames; at least 20 persons were killed, and 12 were missing.October 26, Bihar, India. A fire that raced through one coach of a train claimed the lives of at least 28 persons.November 2, Durunkah, Egypt. A raging fire broke out at a fuel-storage complex when torrential rains caused the main bridge to the complex to collapse on an oil depot. Floodwaters spread blazing fuel from the damaged depot on the village; more than 500 persons were killed, and at least 200 homes were incinerated.November 27, Liaoning (Liao-ning) province, China. A blazing fire swept through a dance hall in Fuxin (Fu-hsin) filled with students from a local technical school; 233 students perished, and only 16 escaped from the structure, which had one small entrance door and small, out-of-reach windows.November 30, Shantung (Shan-tung) province, China. A raging hotel fire claimed the lives of 38 persons and injured 11; it took nearly 100 firefighters to bring the conflagration under control.December 8, Karamay (K'o-la-ma-i), Xinjiang Uygur (Sinkiang Uighur) Autonomous Region, China. A movie theatre filled with more than 800 persons, at least 500 of them schoolchildren and their teachers, was engulfed in flames as patrons watched a cultural performance; at least 300 persons, most of them children, lost their lives.MarineJanuary 1, Mid-North Atlantic Ocean. A mammoth cargo ship sank during a fierce storm; rescuers found empty life rafts and concluded that all 36 persons aboard the vessel had drowned.January 15, Near Chimagurhi, India. Two passenger ferries carrying Hindu pilgrims collided in thick fog in the Bay of Bengal; one boat was severed in two, and at least 100 passengers from that vessel were feared drowned.Late January, South China Sea. An oil tanker with 10 crewmen aboard inexplicably exploded and tore in two; all crew members were feared dead.February 3, Off the coast of Land's End, England. A bulk carrier sank during a violent storm packing hurricane-force winds after reporting that it was taking on huge amounts of water through a damaged hold; the 27 crewmen aboard the vessel were lost at sea.Mid-February, Off the coast of Ramong, Thailand. A boat that may have been overloaded capsized; more than 200 Burmese workers were feared drowned.February 21, Off the coast of The Bahamas. An overcrowded boat carrying illegal Haitian migrants sank in shark-infested waters; some 24 passengers were feared dead.March 7, Lake Victoria, Kenya. An overloaded ferry carrying passengers, timber, and corn (maize) capsized and sank during a storm; at least 40 persons were missing and believed drowned.March 13, Bosporus, Turkey. The collision of an oil tanker and a dry cargo ship in the busy waterway resulted in an oil spill and a raging fire aboard the tanker; at least 17 crewmen were killed, and 16 were missing.March 20, Off the coast of Masirah, Oman. A supertanker filled with millions of gallons of oil exploded and caught fire at sea; as the vessel with 18 dead crewmen aboard tried to dock, various states refused to allow it into port because of fears of pollution.March 30, Off the coast of Toulon, France. A submerged French nuclear submarine, powered by a pressurized, water-cooled nuclear reactor, limped back to port after a pipe burst and released superheated steam into the vessel's turbine compartment; 10 sailors conducting routine inspections were burned to death or asphyxiated.April 8, Central Philippines. A wooden boat carrying 15 fishermen sank after being swamped by Typhoon Owen; only one person survived.April 22, Off the coast of al-Basit, Syria. An overloaded fishing boat carrying elementary schoolchildren and teachers capsized; of the 55 persons aboard the vessel, 36 children and 5 teachers perished.April 29, Off the coast of Mombasa, Kenya. A ferry packed with commuters capsized and sank when panic-stricken upper-deck passengers ran to one side of the boat after the helmsman experienced difficulty steering; at least 272 persons were killed in what was the country's worst ferry disaster to date.May 17, Near Libreville, Gabon. A canoe carrying illegal immigrants capsized off the coast during a storm; some 50 persons perished.May 24, Off the coast of the Dominican Republic. A small boat carrying more than 100 illegal immigrants to Puerto Rico capsized in the Mona Passage; at least 40 persons drowned.June 12, Off the coast of Somalia. A dhow filled with refugees from Yemen capsized off the northern coast of Somalia; at least 50 persons were feared drowned.June 20, Off the coast of South Africa. The Chinese tanker Apollo Sea sank off the Cape of Good Hope and produced a massive oil spill near Dassen Island, the breeding grounds of the endangered jackass penguin; 37 crew members were killed, and some 1,600 jackass penguins drowned after being coated with oil.Early July, Off the coast of Haiti. Hundreds of boats containing some 5,000 Haitian refugees set sail for the U.S.; the massive exodus in overcrowded, rickety boats resulted in the deaths of at least 200 persons in numerous tragedies at sea.July 9, China. A bus that was being ferried across the Yangtze River (Chang Jiang) slid off the boat and plunged into the water; at least 50 persons drowned.July 13, Off the coast of Havana. A stolen wooden tugboat with 63 refugees aboard sank; the leaking vessel was submerged after a pursuing vessel struck its stern; 31 persons, mostly women and children, drowned.August 20, Chandpur, Bangladesh. A ferry carrying some 250 passengers overturned in strong currents and was drawn underwater by a whirlpool while it prepared to dock; more than 200 persons were feared drowned.Early September, Off the coast of Cape Town. An iron-ore carrier, the Iron Antonis, apparently sustained a crack during a storm and sank in the Atlantic Ocean; all 24 crewmen abandoned the vessel and drowned.September 28, Off the coast of Turku, Fin. The Estonia, a massive passenger-and-car ferry, rapidly sank in the Baltic Sea during a roaring storm accompanied by high winds of up to 100 km/h (62 mph) and choppy seas as high as 10 m (33 ft); the roll-on, roll-off vessel apparently began taking on water when the large hydraulic loading door in the bow was ripped off during the pounding storm. While many of the passengers slept below, the ferry heaved to its port side and sank, stern first, in the chilly (10° C [50° F]) water; of the more than 1,040 passengers believed aboard, only about 140 survived.October 16, Near Madarbari Island, Bangladesh. A ferry carrying nearly 200 persons, 165 of them members of a wedding party, capsized and sank in choppy waters; more than 100 persons were feared drowned.November 11, Off the coast of Johore, Malaysia. A small boat packed with Indonesian illegal workers was swamped by waves and capsized; 37 of the 87 persons aboard the craft drowned.December 2, Near Rosario, Phil. A ferry and a freight tanker collided near the mouth of Manila Bay; 34 persons aboard the ferry were known dead, and 113 were missing and presumed drowned.December 9, North Atlantic Sea. A Ukrainian cargo ship sank after being battered by huge waves and fierce winds; 2 of the 31 seamen aboard the boat were rescued, but rescuers were unable to save others clinging to life rafts because of the turbulent waters.Mining and TunnelingJanuary 24, Heilongjiang (Heilungkiang) province, China. A powerful gas explosion at the Xiji (Hsi-chi) coal mine claimed the lives of 47 miners and left 32 missing and presumed dead.January 25, West Bengal, India. Lethal carbon monoxide emissions from a fire that was caused by a short circuit killed 55 miners at a coal mine near Asansol.January 27, Newkenda, India. A fire in a coal mine trapped 55 miners for two days; all perished.March 6, Jilin (Kirin) province, China. A predawn explosion at the Liaowang coal and gas field claimed the lives of 12 miners.April, China. Several gas explosions during the first three months of the year reportedly killed at least 700 Chinese coal miners despite the closing in February of some 2,000 mines in Heilongjiang province for safety reasons.Mid-May, Jiangxi (Kiangsi) province, China. A powerful gas explosion killed 38 coal miners in underground tunnels.Early August, Queensland, Australia. A series of gas explosions trapped 11 miners underground; all succumbed to the toxic fumes.August 29, Mindanao Island, Philippines. A powerful gas explosion ripped through the country's largest coal mine near Malangas; 90 of the 170 miners working underground were killed.Early September, Slov'yanoserbsk, Ukraine. An explosion in a coal mine claimed the lives of 24 miners and injured 15; methane gas was suspected as a cause of the blast.NaturalJanuary 7, Bicol, Phil. A violent storm lashed the area, causing landslides and flooding; at least 23 fatalities were attributed to the weather system, which hit the town of Manito hardest, leaving 15 persons known dead and 30 missing.Mid-January, U.S. A bitter arctic cold wave that stretched from the Midwest to the Eastern Seaboard paralyzed the regions with temperatures that plummeted to record-breaking lows, notably in such cities as Pittsburgh, Pa. (-30° C [-22° F]); Akron, Ohio, and Clarksburg, W.Va. (-32° C [-25° F]); and Indianapolis, Ind. (-33° C [-27° F]); more than 140 deaths were attributed to the deep freeze.Mid-January, Northern and northwestern Bangladesh. A severe cold snap killed 29 persons, mostly destitute children and elderly people living in slums.January 17, Los Angeles. A strong predawn earthquake of magnitude 6.8 violently shook the area, claimed the lives of 61 persons, injured more than 9,000, and resulted in $13 billion-$20 billion in damages; the temblor caused sections of the Santa Monica, Golden State, Antelope Valley, and Simi Valley freeways to collapse; multiple fires resulting from gas leaks, including those that destroyed some 70 homes in Sylmar; the derailment of a 64-car train between Northridge and Chatsworth; and the collapse of offices, plants, and apartment buildings, notably a three-story apartment in Northridge (close to the epicentre in the San Fernando Valley), where 16 persons were killed when the building crumpled. Many of the 25,000 left homeless camped in parks and shelters as powerful aftershocks reverberated.January 21, Halmahera, Indonesia. A strong earthquake of magnitude 6.8 jolted the Moluccan island, reduced some of the buildings to rubble, and claimed the lives of at least seven persons.Early February, Southwestern Colombia. Heavy rains produced flooding that destroyed some 1,400 homes and claimed the lives of at least 19 persons; hard hit was the town of Florida, which was ravaged by the floodwaters.February 2-4, Madagascar. Cyclone Geralda, which was billed as the "cyclone of the century," lashed the island with torrential rains and winds of up to 350 km/h (220 mph); the brutal storm killed at least 70 persons; left some 500,000 homeless, including 80,000 in the worst-hit town of Toamasina; sank seven ships; flooded 70% of the farmlands; and devastated 95% of the main commercial port.February 4, Virginia, South Africa. The wall of a gold-treatment dam collapsed and unleashed a huge wave of toxic mine refuse; at least 12 persons were known dead, and 82 were missing and presumed dead.Mid-February, Peru. Torrential rains caused severe flooding and mud slides; at least 50 persons were killed, and more than 5,000 families were left homeless.February 16, Sumatra, Indonesia. A powerful earthquake of magnitude 7.2 violently shook Lampung province and devastated 75% of the mountain town of Liwa, which was beset by thundering landslides; the temblor claimed the lives of at least 215 persons.March, Kyrgyzstan. A series of landslides killed nearly 100 persons during the month.March 27, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. A series of violent thunderstorms and ferocious tornadoes wreaked widespread destruction across the five states and claimed the lives of at least 42 persons; hardest hit were the town of Piedmont, Ala., where a tornado killed at least 19 Palm Sunday worshipers at the Goshen Methodist Church, and the Georgia counties of Bartow, Pickens, Lumpkin, White, and Habersham, where at least 13 persons lost their lives.Late March, Nampula province, Mozambique. A brutal cyclone lashed the northern province with punishing winds that claimed the lives of at least 34 persons, destroyed thousands of homes and farmlands, and left some 1.5 million persons homeless.Mid-April, Brazil. A thundering landslide killed at least 19 miners at an Amazon tin mine.April 17, Bangladesh. Tropical storms accompanied by gale-force winds crushed homes, uprooted trees, and claimed the lives of at least 29 persons near the coast of the Bay of Bengal; 200 fishermen in the town of Cox's Bazar were also missing and feared drowned.May 2, Southeastern Bangladesh. A roaring cyclone whipped up winds of up to 290 km/h (180 mph), rampaged through the islands of Kutubdia, Maheshkhali, Ukhia, and St. Martin, and claimed the lives of 233 persons; a new storm-warning system aided early evacuation and was credited with keeping the death toll to a relatively low number, although the figure was expected to rise after destruction in remote areas had been assessed.May 27, Sabaragamuva province, India. A huge landslide triggered by incessant rains entombed at least 15 persons.Late-May, Northern India. A record-breaking heat wave gripped New Delhi and the western state of Rajasthan; at least 161 deaths were attributed to the searing temperature, which reached 49° C (120° F).June 3, Eastern Java, Indonesia. Two predawn earthquakes caused a series of tidal waves to lash the island; hardest hit was Banyuwangi, where more than 200 sleeping residents were killed.June 6, Southwestern Colombia. An earthquake followed by a massive avalanche of rocks, ice, and mud buried dozens of villages in the departments of Cauca and Huila; though the official death toll was placed at 269, other reports estimated that as many as 1,000 persons, many of them Páez and Guambiano Indians, succumbed.Mid-June, Southern China. Torrential summer rains produced massive flooding in Guangdong (Kwangtung) and Guangxi (Kwangsi); as many as 400 persons were believed dead, and housing, industry, and agriculture sustained sizable damages.Late June-mid-July, India. Torrential monsoon rains caused massive flooding; some 500 lives were lost, and precious crops were destroyed.Early July, Georgia, Alabama, and Florida. Tropical Storm Alberto stalled over the Southern states and dumped as much as 61 cm (24 in) of rain in some areas of Georgia, where at least 32 persons lost their lives. At least one person died in Alabama, and 31 deluged counties across the three states were declared federal disaster areas.Early July, Philippines. Relentless rains triggered heavy flooding in nine provinces, where 68 persons were killed. The government pledged relief funds of $2.8 million to assuage the calamitous devastation.Early August, Taiwan. A ferocious typhoon packing winds of up to 137 km/h (85 mph) claimed the lives of 10 persons, injured 41, severed power lines, and blew down hundreds of trees.Mid-August, Beijing (Peking). A suffocating heat wave claimed the lives of at least 104 persons.August 18, Northern Algeria. A strong earthquake of magnitude 5.6 killed at least 171 persons, left some 15,500 persons homeless, and reduced mud-brick homes to rubble in the Mascara region.August 20-21, Zhejiang (Chekiang) province, China. Typhoon Fred assaulted the eastern province with driving rain, which pounded the area for 43 consecutive hours; the brutal storm killed some 1,000 persons and caused damages in excess of $1.1 billion.August 26, Baluchistan province, Pak. Rampaging floodwaters swept away a minibus carrying 24 persons, including 16 children; all drowned.August 27-28, Central Moldova. Several days of torrential rains triggered severe flooding; at least 50 persons lost their lives in the central Hincesti region, which was declared a disaster area.Late August, Niger. Severe flooding led to the deaths of 40 persons and prompted some 30,000 to abandon their homes.September 23, Algeria. Floods caused by torrential rains claimed the lives of at least 29 persons.Late September, Pampanga province, Phil. Heavy rains caused the Mt. Pinatubo volcano to unleash an avalanche of mud and rocks that killed 23 persons and buried more than 1,300 homes in the Porac and Bacolor districts; some 10,000 persons fled high-risk areas.October 4, Kuril Islands. An earthquake of magnitude 8.2 struck the sparsely populated chain of islands and claimed the lives of 16 Russian soldiers stationed there.October 16-19, Houston, Texas. As much as 76 cm (30 in) of rain soaked Houston's San Jacinto River Basin, causing massive flooding that submerged homes and highways and claimed the lives of at least 10 persons.October 23, Manila. Typhoon Teresa battered the main island of Luzon, killing 25 persons, including 16 crewmen from an oil tanker that broke in two during the storm, leaving thousands homeless, and downing trees and power lines.November 4-5, Northern Italy. Torrential rains produced the worst flooding in more than 80 years; in the hardest-hit region of Piedmont, at least 57 persons were killed as the floodwaters obliterated homes and highways and destroyed communications links. Authorities feared the death toll could rise as high as 100 after rescuers reached and searched villages isolated by the storm.November 13-19, Haiti, Cuba, Florida, and North Carolina. Tropical Storm Gordon unleashed its fury on Haiti, where more than 200 persons were killed, before battering Cuba, heading northeast across southern Florida, and crossing into the North Atlantic to briefly threaten North Carolina's Outer Banks before making a U-turn back to Florida and weakening into a tropical depression. The zigzagging storm claimed the lives of at least 537 persons. At least $200 million in damages occurred in Florida alone.Mid-November, Northern Somalia. A cyclone killed at least 30 persons and injured hundreds.November 15, Mindoro, Phil. An earthquake of magnitude 6.7 spawned tidal waves up to 15 m (49 ft) high that subsumed houses in the town of Baco, where the corpses of children were later discovered hanging from trees; at least 60 persons lost their lives, and 130 were injured as more than 700 aftershocks (one of which measured 5.1) reverberated.Late November, Djibouti. Torrential rains forced thousands to evacuate their homes; 20 persons were killed in the southern region of Hol-Hol.November 22, Java. A volcanic eruption on Mt. Merapi killed at least 31 persons and buried dozens who were trapped in homes built on the slopes of the country's most active volcano.Late December, Philippines. Tropical Storm Axel vented its fury on the country and claimed the lives of at least 15 persons and injured some 40.RailroadMarch 8, Near Durban, South Africa. A commuter train that was traveling at an accelerated speed around a sharp turn derailed and fell into a gorge; at least 88 persons were known dead, and more than 350 were injured in Natal province's worst railroad accident.March 21, Shaba, Zaire. A train derailment between Lubumbashi and Lubudi claimed the lives of 43 persons and injured several.April 3, Near Sohawa, Pak. A passenger train traveling to Rawalpindi from Lahore derailed and plunged down a steep hill; at least 13 persons lost their lives, and some 100 were injured.May 15, Near Pinlong township, Myanmar (Burma). A train that was heavily loaded with passengers and rice derailed en route to Kayah state; 25 persons were killed, and 38 were injured.Early August, Southwestern Russia. A commuter train slammed into five freight cars that broke away from a freight train and derailed; 21 persons were killed in the accident, and at least 80 were injured.August 13, Near Tbilisi, Georgia. A passenger train rammed a stationary freight train because of a faulty signal; at least 22 persons were killed, and some 16 were injured.August 21, Tunisia. A collision between two passenger trains between the villages of Kalaa Kebira and Kalaa Seghira resulted in 21 deaths and 89 injuries.Late September, Southern Angola. A train derailment claimed the lives of at least 140 persons, and 80 were injured.October 20, Near Beijing. A freight train plowed into a commuter bus at an unguarded railroad crossing; at least 17 persons were killed, and 30 were injured.December 2, Near Szolnok, Hung. An express train derailed, causing some of its cars to slam into a building; at least 20 persons were entombed under rubble.December 30, Myanmar. A passenger train derailed while crossing a bridge in the northern part of the country; at least 102 persons were killed and 53 were injured when one of the cars plunged into a ravine and another was left dangling from the bridge.TrafficMid-January, Southwestern Hungary. A cable that was securing some six tons of sheet metal to the trailer of a truck became loose, and several metal sheets were released into the pathway of a bus; 11 persons were killed.January 10, Bali, Indonesia. A bus carrying mainly French tourists plunged into a ravine near Kintamali; 10 tourists lost their lives, and 17 were injured.January 14, Bihar, India. A small bus carrying 60 persons careened into a dry riverbed; all 40 passengers inside the vehicle were killed, but the 20 persons riding atop the vehicle survived the crash.January 14, Tak province, Thailand. An 18-wheel truck that was barreling down a dark highway collided head-on with a tour bus; at least 37 persons were killed, and 3 were injured.February 5, Kerala, India. A head-on collision between a bus and a truck carrying inflammable coir resulted in at least 40 fatalities when the fuel tank of the bus exploded on impact.February 10, Sumatra. A bus plunged into a ravine in the village of Gulbong; 36 persons were killed, and 11 were injured when the vehicle left the road during bad weather.March 9, Near Barstow, Calif. A pickup truck carrying 20 persons, including at least 19 Salvadorans, veered off the road and rammed into a culvert after the driver apparently fell asleep; 12 of the Salvadorans were killed in the crash, but the driver survived.March 14, Near Nashik, India. A bus transporting mainly women and children fell off a bridge and plunged into the Kadva River; at least 65 persons were killed, and 11 were injured.March 20, al-'Ayn, Abu Dhabi. A tractor-trailer transporting fertilizer slammed into a passenger pickup in heavy fog; 19 Pakistanis were killed.April 14, Near Karnal, India. A private bus carrying 120 members of a wedding party toppled into a canal; more than 80 persons lost their lives.April 16, Near Dhobi, India. A crowded bus fell into the Moma River after smashing into guardrails; at least 20 persons were killed, and 20 were injured.April 16, Near Bogotá, Colombia. A multi-vehicle accident involving a cargo truck, a car, and a small bus claimed the lives of at least 22 persons who were incinerated in the inferno.Early May, Andhra Pradesh, India. Separate road accidents involving two wedding parties claimed the lives of 48 persons.May 2, Gdansk, Poland. A bus crash killed 30 passengers riding in the vehicle.Mid-May, Near Cairo. A truck that was transporting children who were observing the feast of Eid al-Adha by visiting the graves of their relatives went out of control and careened into an irrigation canal; 18 youngsters lost their lives in the crash.May 23, Western Nepal. A bus traveling on a mountain road veered off the pavement and plunged 300 m (984 ft) down the slope; 22 persons were killed, and 24 were injured.May 26, Eastern Transvaal, South Africa. A bus fell into a reservoir; 32 persons drowned.May 29, Central Kenya. An overcrowded bus carrying more than 70 passengers overturned; 18 schoolchildren and a teacher were killed.Late June, Mirerswarai, Bangladesh. Two buses collided head-on; 22 persons were killed, most of them members of a bridal party, and 80 were injured, 12 of them seriously.July 3, Weatherford, Texas. An 18-wheel tractor-trailer rear-ended a van, causing the van to burst into flames; 14 persons in the van were killed, and 5 were injured, including the truck driver.July 3, Near Snyder, Texas. A tractor-trailer plowed into a pickup truck carrying three adults and 12 children, who were seated in the bed of the vehicle; 11 persons were killed in the crash.Early August, Near Umzimkulu, South Africa. A bus transporting high-school students slammed into a rock formation; 10 persons were killed, and 78 were injured.August 21, Near Wenatchee, Wash. A car crossing into another lane rammed into acar; 11 persons died in the collision.August 26, Near Silvan, Turkey. A crowded bus crashed into a military vehicle and exploded; 30 persons, many of them women and children on the bus, lost their lives, and 25 were injured.September 25, Near Presidente Prudente, Brazil. A bus transporting 45 persons to a political rally in São Paulo plowed through a bridge guardrail after the driver lost control of the vehicle on a steep descent; 31 persons were killed when the bus plunged into the river, and 14 were injured.December 13, Northeastern Brazil. A bus full of Christmas shoppers collided with a tanker truck; 13 persons lost their lives, and 29 were injured.December 25, Côte d'Ivoire. A bus carrying schoolchildren home for Christmas skidded off a coastal road and plunged into a ravine after swerving to avoid a parked vehicle; the accident, which occurred in heavy fog, killed 21 persons and injured 49.December 28, Near Maturín, Venezuela. A speeding passenger bus rammed a bus that had stopped to assist yet another bus disabled along the roadside. The bus that was struck was shoved into an oil pipeline, which exploded on impact; at least 30 persons aboard that vehicle were incinerated, and 15 were injured.MiscellaneousJanuary 26, Nice, France. The concrete roof of a supermarket collapsed on shoppers and sales staff; at least 10 persons were killed, and some 90 were injured.Late January, Near Delhi, India. Some 13 villagers, who stole what they thought was liquor but was actually a poisonous chemical from a disabled tanker, succumbed to the toxic substance after drinking it; 37 were hospitalized.February 15, Hunan province, China. A throng of passengers changing trains in the crowded railway station at Hengyang (Heng-yang) stampeded in a rush to return to the city of Guangzhou (Canton) following the Chinese New Year holiday; more than 40 persons died in the crush.May 23, Mina, Saudi Arabia. Pilgrims attending the annual hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca) stampeded during a symbolic ritual that involved throwing stones at three piles of rocks to cast out the devil; some 270 persons were trampled to death in the melee.July 14, Motta Visconti, Italy. A home for the elderly was leveled after a gas explosion ripped through the concrete structure and claimed the lives of 27 residents; the blast occurred while workers were repairing sewage pipes.July 14, Bombay. Heavy rains saturated a five-story building, which collapsed; 14 persons were killed, and 13 were injured.Mid-July, Near Khartoum, The Sudan. At least 22 passengers stranded in the desert after the bus they were riding in became lost in a sandstorm died of thirst and starvation.August 12, Brazzaville, Congo. A group of Roman Catholics gathered outside a church to witness a claim that a preacher would perform miracles surged, and 142 believers, most of them children, were trampled.Early October, Guangdong (Kwangtung) province, China. A suspension bridge collapsed at an amusement park; at least 38 tourists were hurled to their death in the lake below.October 21, Seoul. A 48-m (157-ft)-long section of a steel-girdered bridge sheared neatly from the main structure the morning after the bridge had undergone repair work. The span floated after falling into the Han River, but at least 10 vehicles were spilled into the water; 32 or more persons were feared dead.Mid-November, Central Nepal. A party of mountain climbers, including nine Germans, a Swiss, and their Nepalese guide, fell to their death while descending from the summit of Mount Pisang; all 11 were roped together and were killed after some members of the group slipped and sent the entire party down the slope and over a sheer drop.Mid-November, Bihar, India. Locally made liquor killed at least 50 persons who drank the spirits.November 18, Turkey. An outbreak of mushroom poisoning killed at least 18 persons and caused illness in 175; government officials banned wild mushroom hunting in the wake of the deaths.November 23, Nagpur, India. A stampede by protesters attempting to force their way through a police cordon guarding a state legislature building killed at least 130 persons who were trampled.Mid-December, Morelos, Mexico. A lethal concoction of mescal and methanol sold as liquor by bootleggers claimed the lives of at least 28 persons who imbibed the deadly brew.Mid-December, Luanda, Angola. Home brew laced with methyl alcohol claimed the lives of at least 50 persons who drank the lethal concoction.▪ 1994IntroductionThe loss of life and property from disaster in 1993 included the following:AviationJanuary 9, Near Surabaya, Indon. A plane carrying 39 passengers and 5 crew members crashed shortly after takeoff; 15 persons were killed, including 4 of the 5 crew.January 27, Zaire. A plane that was carrying £ 100 million for the diamond industry crashed, and 11 passengers were killed; a teenager, apparently belonging to a crowd of looters, was shot dead by a soldier near the scene of the wreck.January 30, Sumatra, Indon. A plane carrying Singaporean salvage workers, who were to study a ruptured supertanker that was crippled off the coast of Sumatra, slammed into a mountain during bad weather; all 16 persons aboard the craft lost their lives in the crash.February 8, Tehran. A passenger plane carrying pilgrims to Meshed crashed shortly after takeoff when a military aircraft sliced into its tail, causing it to explode and plummet to the ground on an empty lot inside Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps' compound; all 132 persons aboard the passenger plane were killed.March 5, Skopje, Macedonia. A newly built Fokker 100 passenger plane fell from the sky a minute after takeoff, crashed, and then exploded; of the 97 persons aboard, at least 77 lost their lives, and some of the survivors suffered severe burns.April 16, Near Pul-i-Khumri, Afghanistan. A helicopter carrying 15 persons, including two American journalists, crashed in a ravine near a mountain village; there were no survivors.April 26, Near Aurangabad, India. A passenger plane carrying 118 persons crashed during takeoff after slamming into a truck on the runway and then striking high-tension wires as it sought to make its ascent; as many as 75 persons were feared dead.April 27, Near Tashkurghan, Afghanistan. A military transport plane carrying 76 persons, including 15 members of an Afghan wrestling team, crashed in heavy fog; all aboard were killed.April 28, Near Libreville, Gabon. A Zambian military plane carrying 30 persons crashed into the Atlantic Ocean and exploded shortly after taking off from a refueling stop; all aboard lost their lives, including most of Zambia's national soccer team, which was en route to a World Cup qualifying match against Senegal.Early May, Nizhny Tagil, Russia. An aircraft failed to make a proper maneuver during a stunt show and crashed into a crowd of spectators; 17 persons lost their lives.May 19, Near Urrau, Colombia. After it had been cleared for landing, a Boeing 727 carrying 132 persons crashed into the slope of a remote Andes mountainside; there were no survivors of the crash, which possibly occurred because radio navigation sites had been blown up by left-wing guerrillas the previous year.July 1, Irian Jaya province, Indon. A domestic airliner with 43 persons aboard crashed on the beach while attempting to land; there were only 3 survivors.July 23, Yinchuan (Yin-ch'uan), Ningxia (Ning-hsia) Hui autonomous region, China. An airliner that was attempting its second takeoff veered off the runway, crashed into a lake, and broke apart; at least 59 of the 113 persons aboard the craft were killed.July 26, Near Haenam, South Korea. A passenger airliner crashed into a mountain in driving wind and rain after attempting, for the third time, to land at Mokpo airport; at least 66 of the some 110 persons aboard the craft were killed.July 31, Near Kathmandu, Nepal. A commercial airliner crashed into a hillside; 18 persons lost their lives.August 28, Southern Tajikistan. An overcrowded passenger jetliner went down shortly after takeoff from Khorog and crashed near the country's border with Afghanistan; engine failure was blamed for the crash, which claimed the lives of at least 35 persons.November 20, Near Ohrid, Macedonia. A passenger jet crashed in the rugged mountains and exploded some seven kilometres (four miles) from Ohrid airport; 115 persons were killed, and the lone survivor was seriously injured.November 21, Near Guatemala City, Guatemala. A twin-engine plane slammed into a fog-enshrouded mountain; 13 persons, including U.S., Canadian, and German tourists, were killed in the crash.December 1, Near Hibbing, Minn. A commuter plane carrying 18 persons crashed into the side of a man-made hill while attempting to land in dense fog and freezing rain; all aboard perished.December 13, Near Phong Savan, Laos. A Laotian airliner carrying 17 persons slammed into a mountain while making its landing approach to the airport; there were no survivors.Fires and ExplosionsJanuary 19, Taipei, Taiwan. A predawn fire at a 24-hour restaurant claimed the lives of 30 persons who had access to only one of three emergency fire exits; arson was suspected after authorities found traces of what was believed to be butane gas near the entrance of the establishment.February 14, Tangshan (T'ang-shan), China. A department store fire believed to have been sparked by welders working in the building killed at least 78 persons and injured at least 51.March 16, Chicago. A fast-burning early-morning fire swept through a four-story single-room-occupancy transient hotel and claimed the lives of 19 residents; the roof and several walls of the structure collapsed as a result of the five-alarm fire, the origin of which remained unclear.April 19, Nonsan, South Korea. A predawn fire in a mental hospital housing 45 patients claimed the lives of at least 34 of them, some of whom were chained or shackled to their beds.April 28, Outskirts of Istanbul. A buildup of methane gas caused an explosion at a garbage dump, where a massive avalanche of rotting refuse descended into a valley and engulfed nearby squatter huts; at least 13 persons were known dead, and more than 30 were trapped and feared dead.May 10, Near Bangkok, Thailand. A massive fire in a doll factory sent more than 100 fire trucks racing to the site, where as many as 800 employees tried to flee the blazing four-story structure, which collapsed as workers were evacuating the top floors; at least 187 persons were killed, and 500 were injured in the inferno, which was believed to have been fueled by the materials used to make dolls. The cause of the world's deadliest factory fire was under investigation.June 25, Bruz, France. A fire in a three-story private psychiatric clinic claimed the lives of 16 patients and one nurse, most of whom succumbed to burns and smoke inhalation; the more than 100-year-old structure was not equipped with fire alarms, smoke detectors, or sprinkler systems, and locked exit doors and windows apparently prevented escape for at least some of the medicated patients.August 5, Shenzhen (Shen-chen), Guangdong (Kwangtung) province, China. Two powerful explosions about an hour apart claimed the lives of at least 8 persons and possibly as many as 70 and injured more than 100; the first blast was apparently caused by a leak of nitric acid at a factory warehouse, and the second fire erupted when a nearby storage depot exploded and sent up a fireball of what was believed to be liquid petroleum gas.August 31, Laberinto, Peru. Flames swept through a gold-mining town after a kerosene lamp in a guest house apparently sparked the fire; at least 18 persons were killed, and 7 were injured in the conflagration.Early September, Valparaíso, Chile. A fire in a discotheque claimed the lives of 17 persons.September 28, Near Caracas, Venezuela. A natural gas pipeline exploded beside a highway during rush-hour traffic after a telephone company crew that was laying fibre-optic cables apparently struck the pipeline; the blast ripped through a passenger bus and several cars and claimed the lives of at least 51 persons.November 2, Quang Ninh province, Vietnam. A burst gasoline pipeline ignited in flames as a crowd tried to steal fuel from the ruptured vessel; at least 39 persons were killed, and some 60 others were injured.November 19, Near Shenzhen, Guangdong province, China. A fire in a toy factory in the village of Kuiyong (K'uei-yung) swept through the structure as most of the 240 workers toiled behind locked windows and doors; at least 81 persons lost their lives, many of them trampled in the stampede to escape the inferno.December 13, Fujian (Fukien) province, China. A raging fire swept through a textile factory in Fuzhou (Fu-chou) and claimed the lives of 60 workers.December 20, Near Buenos Aires, Arg. A fire in a discotheque filled with some 500 teenagers celebrating the end of the high-school year claimed the lives of at least 17 persons. The victims were trapped behind padlocked emergency exits. Some of the young revelers initially believed that the smoke was emanating from a special-effects machine, but when the fumes became unbearable, they fled through the main entrance, the only escape.MarineJanuary 14, Off the coast of Germany. A Polish ferryboat carrying at least 60 persons capsized and sank in the Baltic Sea during a storm packing winds of up to 161 km/h (100 mph); at least 54 persons drowned when the hurricane-force winds shifted the vessel's cargo of trucks and railroad cars, causing the boat to keel over.January 25, Off the coast of Trincomalee, Sri Lanka. A civilian ferry carrying some 80 to 85 passengers, double its licensed capacity, capsized in rough waters; 40 persons were killed.February 16, Off the coast of Petit Goave, Haiti. A triple-decker ferry carrying as many as 1,500-2,000 passengers to the capital of Port-au-Prince to sell their goods capsized and sank during a rainstorm; 285 persons survived the stormy seas, some for as long as 30 hours, by clinging to floating objects.February 28, Brazzaville, Congo. A ferry gangplank, by which hundreds of Zairean deportees were boarding, collapsed; as many as 147 persons drowned in the swift-moving Congo River.March 15, Off the coast of Nova Scotia. A Liberian freighter loaded with ore bound for Tampa, Fla., sank while being battered by high waves in hurricane-force winds; the crew of 33 was believed to have abandoned the foundering vessel, but rescue workers recovered only the body of one sailor, an insulated immersion suit, and two damaged life rafts.March 28, Southern Bangladesh. A fierce storm swamped an overcrowded ferry traveling from Barisal to Lalmohan; of the 250 persons aboard, 32 were known dead and at least 100 others were missing and feared drowned. The storm reportedly overwhelmed some 22 other boats, each of them carrying about 10 persons whose fates were unknown.Mid-April, Off the coast of Spain. An Indian cargo ship sank in frigid seas; 12 persons were known dead, and 28 were missing and presumed drowned.May 9, Northern India. A ferryboat sank in the Ganges River near Doriganj; 60 persons were feared drowned.Mid-May, Off the coast of Mombasa, Kenya. A dhow carrying Somali refugees back to their homeland capsized; 7 persons were known drowned, and 47 were missing.Late May, Off the coast of South Africa. A vessel carrying 20 sailors sank in rough seas; all aboard were believed lost at sea.Late May, Off the coast of Myanmar (Burma). A ship with more than 300 persons aboard sank in the Andaman Sea; 17 persons were known dead, and 120 were missing.July 2, Bocaue, Phil. A floating pagoda mounted on three boats and loaded with more than 500 persons participating in a religious festival collapsed in the Bocaue River; of the hundreds of women and children hurled into the murky waters, at least 310 drowned and 40 others were missing.August 11, Vadodara, India. An overcrowded boat carrying some 35 passengers, at least 15 more than its capacity, capsized in the Sur Lake; 30 persons drowned.Mid-August, Central Sudan. A ferryboat capsized in the Nile River; 17 persons drowned.October 10, Off the coast of Puan, South Korea. An overcrowded ferryboat capsized and sank during a fierce storm; of the more than 360 passengers aboard, most of them tourists, only 74 survived.November 20, Off the coast of southern Bangladesh. A ferry carrying Muslim pilgrims, mostly women, to a shrine on the island of Kutubdia sank after being rammed by a trawler; at least 45 persons were feared drowned.December 19, Off the coast of Desaru, Malaysia. Two fishing trawlers, apparently carrying illegal immigrants, collided on the high seas; one boat sank, leaving 49 persons missing and believed drowned, and the other ship dropped its passengers on the beach and sailed away.MiningMay 13, Secunda, South Africa. A methane gas explosion in a coal mine claimed the lives of 50 miners, and 3 were missing and feared dead.MiscellaneousJanuary 1, Hong Kong. Shortly after midnight, New Year's revelers stampeded down a cobblestone hillside that was dampened with beer and party foam; at least 20 persons were trampled to death, and 69 were injured in the melee.January, Tajikistan. A wheat crop, harvested late reportedly because of the civil war in that country, became contaminated with a deadly microorganism; at least 24 persons died when they ate bread made from the poisoned wheat, and as many as 1,600 were hospitalized with bloated stomachs.Early February, Rift Valley, Kenya. A yellow fever epidemic claimed the lives of at least 500 persons.February 14, Near Perm, Russia. A hydroelectric plant released hot water into a river, resulting in the deaths of 15 ice fishermen who drowned when the frozen surface of the water broke apart.Mid-February, Northern India. The roof of a school collapsed; 24 persons were killed, and 23 children were hospitalized with serious injuries.Late February, Near Buenos Aires. Tainted wine that had been laced with methyl alcohol, a lethal colourless liquid, killed at least 24 persons and resulted in the hospitalization of at least 75; the winery that sold the cheap white wine was ordered closed by Pres. Carlos Menem.Late March, Yettambadi, India. Food poisoning killed at least 16 and hospitalized 630 persons who consumed the decomposed meat of animals sacrificed during a Hindu ritual.August 13, Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand. A six-story hotel that was under renovation to add a seventh floor collapsed in a heap of debris; more than 100 persons were killed, some 50 were missing, and 225 were injured. Officials speculated that the top three floors, which were added to the structure in 1990, may have weakened the structure or three huge water-storage tanks positioned on the roof may have contributed to the collapse of the building.August 25-26, Assam, India. A rogue elephant stampeded through the villages of Thelamara, Muslim Char, and Butamari and trampled at least 44 persons; a few weeks later the rampaging pachyderm, which had successfully eluded hunters, killed 6 more persons in the Assam district of Sonitpur.August 27, Qinghai (Ch'ing-hai) province, China. The dam at Gouhou (Kou-hou) reservoir inexplicably burst and unleashed a torrent of water on several villages in the vicinity; the onslaught caused the deaths of more than 1,250 persons and economic losses of more than $27 million.Late November, Near Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India. Fermented liquor adulterated with chemicals to increase its potency was blamed for the deaths of 14 persons.NaturalEarly January, Bangladesh. A brutal one-week cold wave claimed the lives of at least 34 persons, many of them destitute children and the elderly.January 2-3, Fiji. Deadly Cyclone Kina ripped across the islands and caused widespread damage with winds swirling to 185 km/h (115 mph); at least 12 persons were known dead, hundreds of homes were destroyed, and three major bridges were washed away.January 7-20, Southern California and Tijuana, Mexico. Two weeks of relentless pounding rain caused massive mud slides and severe flooding, which led to the deaths of at least 30 persons and left more than 1,000 homeless.January 8, Northeastern Bangladesh. A five-minute tornado ravaged villages in Sylhet and Sunamganj districts, killed 32 persons, and left more than 1,000 injured.January 14, Near Pasto, Colombia. The Galeras volcano erupted and trapped a team of scientists who were inside the crater collecting gas samples; of the some 70 persons believed to have been on the volcano when it erupted, at least 9, including 6 volcanologists, were killed and 7 were injured.January 18, Ozengeli, Turkey. A thundering avalanche entombed half of the village; at least 18 persons were killed, and some 50 were buried under the snow.Late January, Between Russia and Georgia. An avalanche in the Caucasus Mountains blocked the only pass linking the two countries; 18 persons were feared dead.Early February, Java, Indon. Heavy rains precipitated severe flooding, which claimed the lives of at least 60 persons, destroyed thousands of homes, and forced some 250,000 persons to be evacuated.February 2, Near Legaspi, Phil. Mayon Volcano unexpectedly spewed a gigantic plume of ash and sent tons of superheated debris tumbling down its slopes and onto farmers' fields; the minor explosion claimed the lives of 68 persons.Mid-February, Ecuador. A week of relentless rains precipitated severe flooding in the coastal provinces, where dozens of persons were killed, thousands of hectares of banana, soya, and rice crops were destroyed, and landslides made roads impassable.Late February, Iran. Large-scale flooding killed some 500 persons and caused some $1 billion in damages in one of the country's worst natural disasters to date.March 12-15, Eastern U.S. A ferocious storm billed as the Blizzard of '93 produced record-breaking bitter-cold temperatures while dumping tons of snow from Alabama to Maine; spawned tornadoes in Florida, where residents were still recovering from the 1992 destruction caused by Hurricane Andrew; and generated hurricane-force winds that made projectiles of unsecured objects and whipped up tides along coastal areas, causing severe flooding. The violent "nor'easter," a low-pressure system that gained its force when arctic air collided with warm, humid air from the Gulf of Mexico, claimed the lives of at least 238 persons, including 50 in Pennsylvania and 44 in Florida; trapped some 100 hikers and several campers in North Carolina and Tennessee; and spread destruction as far north as Canada (4 deaths) and as far south as Cuba (3 deaths). Damage estimates reached $1 billion.March 15, Northern Pakistan. Avalanches in a remote region of the country buried at least 36 persons, injured 16, crushed adobe homes in two villages, and destroyed cattle herds.Late March, Afghanistan. A thundering avalanche of snow and ice blocked the northern end of the Salang tunnel on the main highway linking Kabul with the northern part of the country; at least 100 persons were reported to have died of exposure, and thousands were trapped on the highway without proper clothing or sufficient food.March 29, Near Cuenca, Ecuador. Rains in a mining region caused a landslide that entombed a small community in the southern part of the country; several hundred persons were killed.April 9, West Bengal, India. A killer tornado leveled five villages in the Murshidabad district and claimed the lives of at least 100 persons.April 26, Northwestern Colombia. Heavy rains caused massive flooding and landslides, which blocked 24 main roads and claimed the lives of as many as 100 persons; the Tapartó River burst its banks, inundated five nearby hamlets, destroyed some 50 houses, and ravaged coffee, banana, and cane crops.Early May, Gansu (Kansu) province, China. A menacing sandstorm that locals dubbed "the black wind" because it ominously darkened the midday skies whipped up sand and dirt and blew residents, most of them children, into water channels and pools; at least 43 fatalities were attributed to the storm.May 3, Santiago, Chile. Heavy rain was blamed for swelling rivers that burst canal banks, unleashing a mass of water and mud that buried poorer neighbourhoods in the capital; at least 11 persons lost their lives.May 9, Ecuador. A landslide roared down a steep slope denuded of trees, pouring thousands of tons of mud and rock on a gold-mining settlement; as many as 200 persons were feared dead.Mid-June-August, U.S. Midwest. A stormy weather front that stagnated over the Midwest for weeks caused some of the worst flooding in U.S. history in the states of Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin when the Missouri and Mississippi rivers overflowed after reaching record crests even though volunteers tried to shore up the banks with some 75 million sandbags. "The Great Flood of '93" claimed the lives of 50 persons; caused an estimated $12 billion in damages, including $200 million to rail lines and bridges and $8 billion in crop damages; and affected additional areas in the states of Arkansas, Kentucky, and Tennessee before subsiding in August.Mid-June, Bangladesh. Fierce storms inundated the capital city of Dhaka, causing rivers to overflow their banks and claiming the lives of nearly 200 persons, who died in the massive flooding.Mid-June, Western El Salvador. Heavy rains precipitated a mud slide at a garbage dump; more than 20 persons were feared dead.Early July, Himachal Pradesh state, India. Four days of relentless monsoon rains caused massive flooding, which led to the deaths of at least 175 persons.Early July, Northeastern U.S. A searing weeklong heat wave with punishing temperatures over 38° C (100°F) claimed dozens of lives—many were elderly persons whose homes had no air-conditioning—including at least 41 in Philadelphia.July 6-7, Mexico. Hurricane Calvin whipped up dangerous winds and seas, pounded seaports and airports in Acapulco, and forced thousands from their homes; at least 28 deaths were attributed to the storm, which pummeled the country's Pacific coast.July 12, Northern Japan. A major earthquake, measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale, and its subsequent deadly tsunamis (seismic sea waves) claimed the lives of at least 185 persons, some of whom either succumbed inside collapsed or burning buildings, were swept away and drowned, or were buried in landslides. The island of Okushiri, which was hit the hardest, was virtually destroyed.Late July-Early August, Bangladesh, India, and Nepal. The worst monsoon rains in 40 years caused water from the Himalayan mountain ranges to burst the banks of rivers draining into low-lying plains and inundate bordering villages; thousands were killed, crops were washed away, and millions of people were affected—many of them marooned—by the massive flooding.Late July, Hunan (Hu-nan) and Sichuan (Szechwan) provinces, China. Torrential rains unleashed massive flooding and landslides that claimed the lives of about 120 persons.Late July-Early August, Southern Japan. Torrential downpours caused flooding and mud slides, which killed at least 40 persons and left an estimated 22 missing.August 8, Venezuela. Tropical Storm Bret, packing ferocious winds and driving rain, caused intense flooding and mud slides, which left thousands homeless and claimed the lives of at least 100 persons, many of them buried in their hillside shanties; the capital city of Caracas was hardest hit, with many streets in slum areas resembling rivers.Early September, Kyushu, Japan. Typhoon Yancy, the worst storm of its type in 30 years, blasted the island with winds in excess of 209 km/h (130 mph) and claimed the lives of at least 41 persons.Early September, T'boli, Phil. A landslide buried 21 miners in their bunkhouses during a storm.Mid-September, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Mexico. Tropical Storm Gert lashed the countries with heavy rains that caused flooding, numerous mud slides, and massive destruction of roads and highways; at least 28 persons were killed in Nicaragua and Honduras, and about 14 lost their lives when the storm ravaged Mexico.September 30, Maharashtra state, India. An earthquake measuring 6.4 on the Richter scale, the worst in India in over 50 years, rocked the region, flattening a dozen villages and killing more than 9,700 persons who were buried when their mud-and-mortar homes entombed them as they slept; the devastation wreaked by the powerful temblor was massive, and only those who had stayed outside to celebrate the Hindu festival honouring Ganesa, the elephant-headed god, were spared. Hardest hit were the towns of Umarga, Latur, and Killari; the tragedy prompted India, for the first time in its independent history, to accept international aid.Early October, China. The waters of the Qiantang (Ch'ien-t'ang) River swept away dozens of persons from a jetty where they had gathered to witness the cresting waves of the river's autumn peak; 19 persons were known dead, and 40 were missing.Early October, Luzon, Phil. Tropical Storm Flo ravaged the country, burying 200 homes under mud flows, destroying over $10 million of crops and property, and killing at least 41 persons; more than 30 were missing and presumed dead.October 8, Kodigama, Sri Lanka. Heavy rains precipitated a landslide, which thundered down a hillside and buried at least eight homes in mud; about 50 persons were feared dead.Mid-Late October, Northern Papua New Guinea. A series of earthquakes during a 12-day period killed at least 65 persons.October 31-November 2, Northern Honduras. Torrential rains inundated the provinces of Yoro and Colón and precipitated massive mud slides, which buried more than 1,000 homes; an estimated 400 persons lost their lives.Late October-Early November, Southern California. A series of wildfires driven by the Santa Ana winds scorched at least 61,500 ha (152,000 ac) and claimed the lives of three persons.November 23, South-central Vietnam. Ferocious Typhoon Kyle battered four provinces, claimed the lives of at least 45 persons, and injured at least 244; hardest hit was the province of Khanh Hoa, where 30 persons were killed, 67 were missing, and more than 1,000 homes were destroyed.Late November-Early December, Moscow. A deep freeze that lasted longer than two weeks claimed the lives of at least 41 persons, caused more than 200 to require treatment for frostbite and exposure, and resulted in limb amputations in more than 60 persons.Early December, Southern India. A cyclone pummeled the country's southern coastal districts and claimed the lives of at least 47 persons.Early December, Great Britain. Hurricane-force winds, among the strongest ever recorded during December, claimed the lives of at least 12 persons, disrupted road and rail travel, and toppled trees and power lines.December 11, Near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. A 12-story luxury apartment building collapsed after a landslide hit the structure; at least 56 persons were killed.December 14, Cairo. A monumental rock broke free from a cliff, thundered down a mountain, and shattered into large boulders as it demolished several buildings; at least 25 persons were killed in the landslide.December 16, Pakistan. An avalanche triggered by a blizzard buried 10 Pakistani soldiers on the Siachen glacier.December 17, Dabeiba, Colombia. Severe rains sent a torrent of water through the town and unleashed a mud slide, which demolished some 25 homes; at least 22 persons were killed, about 35 were injured, and several were missing.December 25, Oran, Alg. Heavy rains triggered mud slides that demolished the shanties of some 130 families; at least 12 persons were known dead, and 46 were injured.December 25-26, Philippines. Typhoon Nell pummeled the islands and claimed the lives of at least 47 persons; the late-season storm was one in a series that killed more than 300 persons during the month.Late December, Northeastern Malaysia. Weeklong rains caused the worst flooding in 13 years as swollen rivers broke their banks; at least 14 deaths were attributed to the flooding, which also damaged homes and crops.Late December, Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain, and The Netherlands. The worst flooding in decades inundated parts of Europe after brutal storms lashed the areas with relentless rains, causing rivers, especially the Rhine, to overflow their banks; at least seven persons were known dead, and property damage was estimated in the hundreds of millions of dollars.RailroadJanuary 16, Near Kanpur, India. The Rajdhani Express train collided with a derailed 16-car freight train; the official death toll was put at 6, but another source claimed that the toll was 15, with at least 27 more injured than the officially reported 38.January 30, Kenya. A train traveling from Mombasa to Nairobi with some 600 passengers aboard was forced off the tracks when a bridge, weakened by floodwaters, collapsed and sent the engine and five cars plummeting into the swollen Ndethia Geithia River; at least 117 persons were known dead, and more than 180 were missing in the country's worst railroad accident to date.Late January, Liaoning (Liao-ning), China. A bus that was trying to speed through a railroad crossing was hit by an oncoming train; 66 of the 94 passengers aboard the bus were killed, and 28 were injured.Mid-February, Southern Hungary. A train slammed into a bus at a crossing where the warning lights were burned out; 10 children were killed, and 20 were injured.March 28, Pusan, South Korea. An overcrowded passenger train derailed when the wet ground beneath the tracks caved in following underground blasting work for an electric-cable tunnel; at least 75 persons were killed, and more than 120 were injured.May 27, Gyumri, Armenia. A passenger train rammed into seven freight cars that had rolled down from a side bank into its path; 30 persons were killed, and 48 were injured.Early August, Mairwa, India. A speeding passenger train derailed as it passed through Mairwa station in eastern India; 22 persons traveling on the roof of the train were killed, and 15 were injured.September 22, Near Mobile, Ala. Amtrak's Sunset Limited, which had launched its Los Angeles-to-Miami route in April, was carrying some 210 persons and was traveling over the wood-and-steel span over Big Bayou Canot at about 3 AM when all three of its locomotives and several of its double-decker coaches plunged into the alligator- and snake-infested swamp as the 84-year-old bridge gave way, presumably because a barge had weakened the structure by unknowingly hitting it in heavy fog. The accident, the deadliest in Amtrak's history, claimed the lives of 47 persons. Rescue efforts were hampered by the fog-enshrouded darkness, but as many as 30 persons were guided to safety by one passenger, and they were then able to swim to shore, even though waters were saturated with diesel fuel and explosions were being set off by a fire emanating from one of the locomotives.September 28, Near Rabat, Morocco. A crowded passenger train erupted in flames after being rammed from behind by a tanker train filled with naphtha, a highly combustible liquid; 14 persons perished, and 80 were injured in the fiery collision.October 13, Near Borivli, India. A speeding train crushed some 49 women to death when, thinking that a compartment of the stationary commuter train they were on was ablaze, they panicked and jumped into the path of an oncoming rush-hour train; some 70 other women from the "Ladies Special" train were injured.November 2, Depok, Indon. During the morning rush hour two passenger trains collided head-on; at least 69 persons were killed, and 75 were injured in the crash.TrafficJanuary 3, Near Cancún, Mexico. A bus carrying 52 tourists on an excursion from Cancún to the Mayan ruins of Chichén Itzá slammed into a high-tension power pole, apparently while traveling too fast on the slippery freeway; 25 tourists lost their lives and more than 25 were injured when a transformer from the pole hit the bus, which then caught fire.January 3, Northern Lima, Peru. A bus traveling down a winding, fog-enshrouded road tumbled off a steep cliff; at least 12 persons were killed, and some 30 were injured.January 9, Near Santo Tomé, Arg. A triple bus crash occurred when one vehicle tried to pass another on a curve and collided head-on with an oncoming Paraguayan bus. The passing bus burst into flames as it ripped the Paraguayan bus in two, and the bus being passed collided with other vehicles; at least 60 persons were killed, and 80 were injured.January 17, Phichit province, Thailand. Two passenger buses collided head-on in the northern province; 18 persons were killed in the crash.January 19, Himachal Pradesh, India. A private bus plunged into a deep ravine near the village of Bathal; at least 19 persons were killed, and 3 were injured.Early February, Lagos, Nigeria. A bus ignited apparently after its engine caught fire; some 80 persons trapped inside were burned to death.April 26, Near Colombo, Sri Lanka. A bus plunged into a river after the bridge it was crossing collapsed; at least 30 persons were feared dead.July 6, Italy. A tour bus carrying senior citizens plunged off a road in the Dolomites; at least 15 persons were killed, and 21 were injured.July 16, Near Lac-Bouchette, Que. A pickup truck and a bus carrying senior citizens from a shrine crashed head-on while traveling on a winding highway; 19 persons were killed in the accident, and one person died later.July 24, Near Avanos, Turkey. The collision of two buses resulted in the deaths of 57 persons and injuries to 34.August 1, Near Urleasca, Rom. A tractor pulling a trailer of field workers was struck by a train when the driver of the tractor disregarded warning lights at the crossing and started to cross the tracks; 12 persons were killed, and 8 were injured in the crash.August 3, Near Hyderabad, India. A passenger bus fell into a swollen river; 37 persons lost their lives.August 11, Near Baldian, India. A passenger bus that swerved to avoid hitting an oncoming car fell into a mountain gorge; at least 17 persons were killed, and 30 were injured in the plunge.September 14, Bihar, India. An overloaded bus carrying more than 100 persons crashed into a ditch near Hajipur; at least 40 persons were killed.November 10, Near Mirambeau, France. A tanker truck traveling on the Paris-to-Bordeaux highway burst into flames after its cargo of flammable methanol was ignited by a burning tire; at least 15 persons were killed, and some 47 were injured when trucks and cars slammed into the blazing truck.November 10, Near Canterbury, England. A tour bus carrying 46 persons skidded off a rain-slicked highway and plunged down an embankment, apparently after hitting a van and spinning out of control; 10 persons lost their lives, and more than 35 were injured.December 11, Maharashtra state, India. A train barreled into a school bus filled with children returning from a picnic; at least 32 students and 4 adults were killed in the crash.December 11, Maharashtra state, India. A truck loaded with farm labourers skidded off a road; 22 persons perished, and 40 were injured.December 27, Near Curitiba, Brazil. A bus and a sports car collided on the "highway of death" after the driver of the car attempted to pass on a curve; 41 persons, including both drivers, were killed, and 84 were injured.Late December, Near Laingsburg, South Africa. An overloaded minibus collided with a truck; 19 persons lost their lives in the crash.
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