Car accidents can happen any time and any place. We all hope that we can avoid them or at least walk away with minor injuries. Current safety technology certainly decreases the probability of injury, but you can see from the list below that safety used to be a luxury and not a standard.
1. Salang Tunnel Fire November 3, 1982, Pakistan: Known as possibly one of the worst accidents in history, few concrete details are known about the deadly fire. The Salang tunnel was crafted by Soviet engineers and the Soviet army isn’t keen on releasing the facts of a failure. Most agree there was a Soviet convoy passing through. Some accounts say there was an explosion, others say the idling engines from a traffic jam as a result of a collision caused carbon monoxide poisoning in the tunnel. Death reports vary, but range as high as 2,000.
2. Los Alfaques Disaster July 11, 1978 Spain: A tanker carrying liquefied propylene at four tons over capacity on a smaller road to avoid tolls was disabled near a campsite. The tanker was apparently leaking and a vapor cloud floated off the road until it was ignited. The tanker exploded and destroyed everything within a 300 meter radius. 215 people were killed in the campsite, road and neighboring disco.
3. Truck Accident in Village June 12, 1965 Sotouba, Togo: Two trucks collide in a crowd of dancers in the village of Sotouba in Togo, western Africa. 125 people are reported dead, but little else is known about the details of the crash.
4. Tour Bus Accident August 18, 1968 Gifu Prefecture, Japan: Two tour buses were swept off the road by a landslide. The buses landed in the Hida River. 104 passengers were killed, including some women and children.
5. Bus Accident June 29, 1980 Kashmir, Pakistan: A bus filled with 100 women and children crashed into a canal near Upper Jhelam, Kashmir. At least 90 people were drowned as a result of the accident.
6. Gillingham Bus Disaster December 4, 1951 United Kingdom: The worst accident in British history, 24 Royal Marines Volunteer cadets were killed and another 18 injured when the platoons of young boys were hit by a bus. The boys were between 10 and 13-years-old and marching back from a boxing tournament. The side of the street was poorly lit and a speeding bus plowed into them. Reportedly, the driver was unaware he hit people and only stopped when he heard screams.
7. Black Saturday July 31, 1982 Beaune, France: In France, the last Saturday in July is referred to as Black Saturday because the traffic from people returning from the summer holiday is the worst. On one such day, a bus collided with cars in traffic near Beaune. 56 people were killed, 46 of them being children on the bus. This lead to a ban of large groups of children traveling together on Black Saturday.
8. Les Eboulements (St. Joseph Bus Accident) October 13, 1997 Canada: A bus carrying senior citizens returning from a “leaf-peeping” trip lost control when coming down a steep hill and into a curve. The bus went through the guardrail and into a ravine. Of the 48 people aboard the bus, 44 died. All were seniors except for the 29-year-old bus driver. A similar crash occurred in the same spot 1974.
9. Train Crossing Accident September 12, 1982 Zurich, Switzerland: A bus crossing train tracks near Zurich was hit by a train, killing 39 people. The bus was filled with German tourists. The driver wasn’t at fault because the barriers to the tracks weren’t closed. An operator had pressed the wrong button. It is the worst accident in Swiss history.
10. Yuba City Bus Disaster May 21, 1976 Yuba City, California: In the deadliest crash in United States history, an a capella choir on the way to an event was killed. The bus veered off the exit ramp, fell 30 feet and landed on its roof, crushing the top of the bus down to the bottom of the windows. The 28 students and one teacher inside were killed.
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