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Humanity has long been accustomed to the vagaries of nature. It is impossible to fight them, because they do not even fit into the framework of typical catastrophes, familiar to a person.
Invasion of snakes in Saint Pierre. A bald mountain towered over this town on the island of Martinique. Its volcanic activity was so low that few people paid attention to the appearance there of fresh outlets with steam and a slight tremor of the earth in April 1902. But soon, in May, an incessant rain of ash began, the air clearly smelled of sulfur. Soon more than a hundred pit vipers left their shelters, which had become unusable, located on the slopes of the awakened volcano. Snakes literally filled one of the city blocks inhabited by mulattoes. Poisonous vipers reached 2 meters in length, as a result they killed about fifty people and many animals. Only big street cats helped to cope with them. However, the disaster was just beginning. Already on May 5, a huge mass of seething mud rolled into the sea, causing a tsunami. The waves killed several hundred townspeople, and three days later the volcano erupted. In its course, white-hot lava fell on the unfortunate city. Just minutes later, Saint Pierre ceased to exist. Before the tragedy, there were 30 thousand people in it, and only two survived.
Panic at Shiloh Baptist Church. In the same 1902, September 19, in Alabama, Birmingham Shiloh Baptist Church, two thousand blacks at once crowded into the building to listen to the address of Booker T. Washington. The brick building was built quite recently. From the front door to the chanting platform, there was a flight of stairs enclosed in brick. After the preacher's speech, a quarrel began over the occupied positions. In the squabble, the word "fight" flew out, but many heard it as "fire". As a result, panic arose. The parishioners, as if on cue, jumped up from their seats and rushed to the only staircase. Those who managed to reach it were the first to be pushed from behind - people began to fall down. And from above, more and more unfortunates fell on them. As a result, a three-meter pile formed from the screaming victims, which completely blocked the passage. Unsuccessfully, Washington himself, together with the ministers of the church, tried to call to order. They could only watch as men and women in panic either suffocate or are trampled by the same madmen. The hardest part was, of course, for women. As a result, 115 people died in the room, in which there was no fire or even a fight.
Stream of molasses in Boston. It was an ordinary day, January 15, 1919. Then the residents and workers of the northern part of Boston went outside to bask in the rays of the not winter-warm sun. They were mainly Italians and Irish. But then there was a short, low rumble - the cast-iron tank of the Purity Distilling company burst. A two-story wave of black molasses hit Commercial Street. An unusual stream swept over the areas adjacent to the port. Neither passers-by nor even horse-drawn carriages could escape such a fast wave. As a result, two million gallons of molasses, which were to be used to make rum, swept 21 people to death. The death of these unfortunates, including children, was due to suffocation. Another 150 townspeople received various injuries. The black wave even destroyed several buildings and brought down the railway overpass. Several horses that did not drown in the molasses were trapped so badly that they had to be shot. Onlookers gathered to look at the chaos, who immediately got dirty in a sticky liquid. Is it any wonder that molasses soon spread throughout the city? For a whole week, the whole of Boston retained a specific smell, and the port remained brown for another six months.
Explosion of a gas tank in Pittsburgh. This city in Pennsylvania once had the largest gas reservoir, it was cylindrical in 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 an open flame blowtorch for this. Obviously, at about 10 am the leak was found, and the townspeople saw how the container with 5 million cubic feet of natural gas just flew into the air like a balloon, immediately exploding. Pieces of metal scattered all over the area, and some of them weighed tens of kilograms! Within a square mile, a wave of hot air and fire destroyed everything. In the course of the tragedy, twenty-eight people died, the number of injured was measured in hundreds.
Demonstration performances by firefighters in Gillingham. Every year, firefighters in the town of Gillingham, in the English county of Kent, actively participate in a celebration held in a local park. For this they hold demonstration performances. An impromptu building is being constructed from canvas and wood. Several boys are selected from the crowd to participate in the performance every year. No hang-up from those who wish! And so it was on July 11, 1929. Then nine boys aged 10 to 14 and 6 firefighters, dressed in full dress, climbed to the third floor of the building. According to the plan, firefighters were supposed to light a smoke bomb at the bottom, and then rescue the children with ladders and ropes. After the evacuation, the empty house was set on fire, showing the brave work with fire hoses. But this time everything went wrong - the real fire was lit first. The audience thought that the burning bodies were special mannequins, so the action caused applause and cheers. Only the firefighters understood the true essence of what was happening. It was not possible to put out the fire quickly, and all 15 people who were in the house were burned to death.
Collision with the Empire State Building. The war was already drawing to a close when on July 18, 1945, early Saturday morning, a veteran pilot in a B-25 light bomber flew from Bedford, Massachusetts to New York. In addition to the co-pilot, there was a passenger on board - a young sailor. There was a thick fog in the sky, which greatly reduced visibility. An hour later, passers-by in downtown Manhattan suddenly heard a growing rumble, and then saw a bomber rushing out of the clouds. The plane circled several skyscrapers, but crashed into the wall of the Empire State Building. Numerous debris of a building and a bomber fell on the people from above. A huge hole has formed on the 78th floor of the skyscraper. One of the aircraft's engines hit seven walls and flew out the other side of the building. Another motor flew into the elevator shaft, where it cut the cables. As a result, the elevator car collapsed into the basement. The plane's fuel tank exploded and the flames spread over 6 floors. The effect of the picture was given by burning gasoline flowing down the walls of the building. Fortunately, the incident happened on a day off, the offices were practically empty. Then only 11 people died, of which three were in the plane itself. The story of the plane collision with skyscrapers, apparently, attracted the Arab terrorists, who acted in a similar way, only on purpose, on September 11, 2001.
The incident on the Tunguska river. Meteorites fall to the ground quite often. But most of them lose their mass by burning up in the atmosphere. So the fall of a large meteorite is always a big event. This time, on June 30, 1908, not far from the Podkamennaya Tunguska River on the territory of the present Krasnoyarsk Territory, a powerful explosion occurred. The version with the fall of a meteorite or comet is now considered the main one. The celestial body reached 20 meters in diameter. Most likely, the meteorite exploded before hitting the surface, but today the event is regarded as a blow to the ground. The power of the explosion that took place was from 10 to 20 megatons in TNT equivalent. This is 1000 times the impact of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. In the United States, only the most powerful bomb detonated in the country, Castle Bravo, is comparable in power to the Tunguska body. As a result of the explosion, 80 million trees were felled in an area of 2,150 square kilometers! Until now, pictures of destruction are visible on satellite photographs.
A series of Texas explosions. On April 15, 1947, the French freighter "Grandcamp" moored in the port of Texas City. 1,400 tons of ammonium nitrate-based were lifted on board the cargo ship. At night, a fire broke out in the hold of the dry cargo ship. In the morning, the thick smoke raised concerns among port officials, as the Monsato chemical plant was nearby. A crowd of onlookers gathered in the port and docks, and tugs prepared to drag the dangerous ship into the open sea. But suddenly he turned into a ball of fire. For many people this sight was the last in their life. A wave of fire and blazing debris quickly covered the city. A few minutes later, a chemical plant also exploded. Those who survived the first explosion were hit from the other side. Almost the entire business district was destroyed, the entire coastline was on fire. This was dangerous for other ships, besides, there were containers with butane nearby. After midnight, another ship, loaded with saltpeter, exploded. As a result of a series of explosions, more than 500 people died, and another 1000 were seriously injured.
Poisoning in Basra. In September 1971, an unusual cargo arrived at the Iraqi port of Basra. For sowing, a batch of grain in 90 thousand tons was received. At the same time, both American barley and Mexican wheat were pretreated with methyl mercury to protect the material from spoilage. The grains have been dyed bright pink to indicate their deadly coating. In addition, the sacks bore warning notices in Spanish and English. However, the grain was stolen from the docks before it could reach the farmers. The seeds were quickly resold to the starving population, who happily bought cheap food. The Iraqi government quickly became aware of its criminal negligence, but chose to simply silence the story. Two years later, one American journalist was able to prove that the incident caused 6,530 cases of mercury poisoning. However, official incidents pleaded guilty to only 459 deaths, denying accusations of more than 6,000 other deaths of this nature. But it is still worth talking about 100 thousand people who suffered from the irreversible consequences of poisoning - brain damage, blindness and deafness.
Crazed elephants in the Chandka forest. In the spring of 1972, the Indian Chandka forest, famous for its lack of moisture, was also hit by a wave of drought. As a result, even the former local elephants rebelled - they did not have enough water in the heat. Residents of the surrounding villages appealed to the authorities, saying that they refuse to go to work in the fields due to the difficulties in the behavior of animals. When summer came, the situation became even more complicated. On July 10, a herd of maddened elephants broke loose and swept through 5 villages. The result was great destruction and 24 Indian deaths.