Disasters

The General Slocum Disaster

The P.S. General Slocum burned in the East River in New York on June 15, 1904. It had been chartered for a group outing that suddenly became a deadly maritime disaster.

The Sinking of the SS Princess Sophia

The sinking of the SS Princess Sophia was a massive tragedy for both Canada and the United States. But it was also really overshadowed by the end of World War I and the flu pandemic, so it’s been nicknamed the unknown Titanic of the West Coast.

Great Train Wreck of 1918

We’re coming up on the 100th anniversary of one of the worst train wrecks in United States history. More than 100 people died. And even though it’s usually noted as the worst train wreck in American history, it was kind of a run-of-the-mill accident for the time. 

Hurricane San Ciriaco

Hurricane San Ciriaco struck Puerto Rico at a precarious point in its history. The United States had just taken possession of the island, and the 40 or so years leading up to the Spanish-American War had also been particularly tumultuous. 

Unearthed!: The USS Indianapolis

Today, the U.S.S. Indianapolis is most known for its crew’s horrifying wait for rescue after being torpedoed following a secret mission at the end of World War II. But the ship’s history goes back much farther than that.

The Aberfan Disaster

In 1966, a mining disaster in Aberfan, Wales, killed 144 people. It was a completely preventable tragedy, but none of the victims were in the mine itself, and 116 of them were children.

The Sinking of the H.L. Hunley

The story of the H.L. Hunley really begins with the Union blockade of the Confederacy during the Civil War, which was ordered less than a week after the fall of Fort Sumter in South Carolina.

The Eastland Disaster

The Eastland disaster was one of the deadliest maritime disasters in American history. And in this particular case, safety regulations actually made things worse.

Courrières Mine Disaster of 1906

One of the worst mining tragedies in history, the explosion that sent fire through the Courrières mine tunnels claimed more than a thousand lives. It also created awareness of dangerous issues in mines that hadn't received much focus up to that point.

Hartford Circus Fire

In 1944, one of the most disastrous fires in U.S. history broke out during a Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus performance. Dozens of lives were lost and hundreds of people were injured as the largest big top in the country was consumed by flames.