Mankind has long been used to the quirks of nature. We know what to expect from volcanoes and oceans, we are preparing for earthquakes and hurricanes. Let the strength of the element usually easily overcome a person’s attempts to resist it, but there are some successes. However, nature sometimes presents surprises in the form of rather unusual catastrophes. It is impossible to fight against them, because they do not even fit into the framework of typical disasters common to man.
The invasion of snakes in San Pier.
Above this town, that on the island of Martinique, towered a bald mountain. Its volcanic activity was so low that few people noticed the appearance of fresh air vents with steam and a slight trembling of the earth in April 1902. But soon, in May, there was an unceasing rain from the ashes, in the air there was a distinct smell of sulfur. Soon more than a hundred Yamkogolovyh vipers left their unsuitable shelters, located on the slopes of an awakened volcano. Snakes literally filled one of the city blocks, populated by mulattoes. Poisonous vipers reached 2 meters in length, as a result, they killed about fifty people and many animals. They helped to cope with only large street cats. However, the catastrophe was just beginning. Already on May 5, a huge mass of turbulent mud slipped into the sea, triggering a tsunami. The waves killed several hundred townspeople, and three days later the volcano erupted. In its course the white-hot lava struck the unfortunate city. In a few minutes San Pierre ceased to exist. Before the tragedy there were 30 thousand people in it, and only two survived.
Panic in the Shiloh Baptist Church.
In the same year, 1902, on September 19, in Alabama, the Birmingham Baptist Church of Shiloh, at once two thousand blacks crowded into the building to listen to the address of Booker T. Washington. The building of brick was built quite recently. From the entrance door to the hill for the hymns there was a flight of stairs, enclosed in a brick. After the preacher’s speech, a quarrel began over the occupied places. In a quarrel someone flew the word “fight” (fight), but many heard it as “fire” (fire). As a result, there was a panic. The parishioners, as if on command, jumped up from their seats and rushed to the only staircase. Those who managed to reach it first began to push from behind – people began to fall down. And on top of them fell more and more new unfortunates. As a result, from the screaming victims formed a three-meter heap, which completely blocked the passage. Unsuccessfully, Washington itself, along with the servants of the church, tried to call for order. They could only watch how men and women panic or suffocate, or trampled on by the same madmen. The hardest of all, of course, was for women. As a result, 115 people were killed in a room in which no fire broke out, not even a fight. Flow of molasses in Boston.
There was an ordinary day, January 15, 1919. Then the inhabitants and workers of the northern part of Boston took to the streets to warm themselves under the rays not in a warm winter sun. Mostly it was Italians and Irish. But then a short low rumble was heard – the cast-iron cistern of Purity Distilling broke. On street Commercial Street the wave of black crude treacle in height in two floors has come down. Unusual flow overflowed and neighboring areas of the port. To escape from such a fast wave was beyond the power of either passers-by, or even horse-drawn sledges. As a result, two million gallons of molasses, which were to be used to make rum, were swallowed up by 21 people. The death of these unfortunates, including children, came because of suffocation. Another 150 townspeople suffered various injuries. A black wave destroyed even a few buildings and brought down the railway overpass. A few horses that were not drowned in treacle were so stuck in it that they had to be shot. Look at the chaos gathered gapers who immediately smeared in sticky slime.Is it any wonder that molasses soon spread all over the city? The entire week Boston retained a specific smell, and the port retained a brown color for another half a year. Explosion of a gas reservoir in Pittsburgh.
Once in this city in Pennsylvania was the largest gas reservoir, it was a cylindrical shape. But suddenly a leak was discovered, and on the morning of November 14, 1927 several workers began to look for it. The repairers did not think of anything better than using a soldering torch with an open flame. It is obvious that around 10 am the leak was found, and the townspeople saw how a container with 5 million cubic feet of natural gas simply flew into the air like a balloon, immediately exploding. Pieces of metal scattered around the neighborhood, and in fact some of them were weights of tens of kilograms! Within a square mile, a wave of hot air and fire destroyed everything. During the tragedy, twenty-eight people were killed, the number of wounded was measured by hundreds. Demonstrations by firefighters in Gillingham.
Every year, firefighters in the town of Gillingham, in the English county of Kent, take an active part in a celebration taking place in a local park. For this they conduct demonstrative performances. An impromptu building is built of canvas and wood. To participate in the performance every year from the crowd choose a few boys. From those who wish, there is no release! So everything was July 11, 1929. Then nine boys aged 10 to 14 years and six firemen dressed in a parade uniform, climbed to the third floor of the structure. According to the plan, the firemen had to light the smoke bomb at the bottom, and then save the children with the help of stairs and ropes. After the evacuation, the empty house was set on fire, showing brave work with fire hoses. But this time everything went awry – the first was a real fire. Spectators thought that burning bodies – special mannequins, so the action caused applause and cheers. Only firefighters understood the true essence of what is happening. It was not possible to extinguish the fire quickly, and all 15 people in the house were burned alive.
Collision with the Empire State Building.
The war was already drawing to a close, when on July 18, 1945, on an early Saturday morning, a veteran pilot on a B-25 light bomber flew from Bedford, Massachusetts to New York. On board, in addition to the second pilot was a passenger – a young sailor. In the sky there was a thick fog, which greatly reduced visibility. After an hour passers-by in the center of Manhattan suddenly heard a growing rumble, and then they saw a bomber jumped out of the clouds. The plane skirted several skyscrapers, but crashed into the wall of the Empire State Building. Numerous fragments of a building and a bomber fell on top of people. On the 78th floor of the skyscraper, a huge hole was formed. One of the aircraft’s engines broke through seven walls and flew off the other side of the building. Another engine flew into the elevator shaft, where he cut the cable. As a result, the elevator car collapsed into the basement. The fuel tank of the plane exploded, and the flame spread over 6 floors. Effectiveness of the painting gave burning gas on the walls of the building. Fortunately, the incident occurred on a day off, offices were almost empty. Then only 11 people died, of which three were in the plane itself. The story of the collision of an airplane from skyscrapers apparently appealed to Arab terrorists who acted in a similar way, only deliberately, on September 11, 2001. Occurrence on the Tunguska River.
Meteorites fall to the ground quite often. But most of them lose their mass, burning in the layers of the atmosphere. So the fall of a large meteorite is always a big event. This time on June 30, 1908 near the river Podkamennaya Tunguska in the territory of the present Krasnoyarsk Territory there was a very strong explosion. The version with the fall of a meteorite or comet is now considered the main one. The heavenly body reached 20 meters in diameter.Most likely, the meteorite exploded even before the collision with the surface, but today the event is regarded as a blow to the ground. The power of the explosion occurred from 10 to 20 megatons in TNT equivalent. This is 1000 times the impact of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. In the US, only the most powerful bomb of all exploded in the country, Castle Bravo, is comparable in power to the Tunguska body. As a result of the explosion in the area of 2150 square kilometers 80 million trees were felled! Until now, pictures of destruction are visible on satellite photos.
A series of Texas explosions.
April 15, 1947 in the port of Texas City moored the French cargo ship “Grandcamp”. On board the cargo ship was raised 1,400 tons based on ammonium nitrate. At night, in the hold of the dry cargo ship, a fire broke out. In the morning, dense smoke aroused the concern of the port’s leaders, because nearby was the chemical plant Monsato. A crowd of onlookers gathered in the port and docks, and the tugs prepared to drag the dangerous ship into the open sea. But suddenly he turned into a fireball. For many people this spectacle was the last in their life. A wave of fire and flaming debris quickly covered the city. A few minutes later a chemical plant exploded. Those who survived after the first explosion received a blow from another side. Almost the entire business area was destroyed, the entire coast line burned. This was dangerous for other ships, besides there were containers with butane nearby. After midnight, another vessel, loaded with saltpetre, exploded. As a result of the succession of explosions, more than 500 people were killed and 1,000 more were seriously injured.
Poisoning in Basra.
In September 1971 an unusual cargo arrived in the Iraqi port of Basra. For the sowing the party of grain in 90 thousand tons has arrived. At the same time both American barley and Mexican wheat were pretreated with methyl mercury in order to protect the material from spoilage. The grains were painted brightly pink in color to indicate thereby on their deadly coating. On the bags, in addition, warning signs were written, although in Spanish and English. However, the grain was stolen from the docks, and not having time to get to the farmers. Seeds quickly resold the starving population, who gladly bought cheap food. The Government of Iraq quickly realized its criminal negligence, but preferred to simply silence this story. Two years later, an American journalist was able to prove that this incident caused 6530 cases of mercury poisoning. However, official cases found their guilt in only 459 deaths, rejecting accusations of more than 6,000 other deaths of this kind. But still it is worth talking about 100 thousand people who suffered from irreversible consequences of poisoning – brain damage, blindness and deafness.
The mad elephants in the Chandka forest.
In the spring of 1972, the Indian Chandka forest, famous for its lack of moisture, also fell under the wave of drought. As a result, even lenient, local elephants once rebelled – they lacked water in conditions of heat. Residents of the surrounding villages appealed to the authorities, saying that they refused to go to work in the fields because of the difficulties in the behavior of animals. When summer came, the situation became even more complicated. On July 10, a herd of mad elephants flew from its place and swept through five villages. The result was great destruction and 24 dead Indians.