West Virginia April 27, 2015
The 7 Worst Disasters To Ever Happen In West Virginia
These beautiful mountains have seen their fair share of tragedy over the years. Many of these disasters and accidents have taken lives, all of which are still remembered today.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1) 1927 Hawks Nest Tunnel Disaster
The Hawks Nest Tunnel Disaster is considered to be one of the worst industrial disasters in American history. In 1927, workers found the mineral silica and so they began to mine it. The workers were given no masks or breathing equipments, and they ended up developing silicosis, which is a lung disease. A majority of the workers that developed silicosis died from it, some within a year of getting it. While there is not a definite number of how many deaths were actually a result of this, a Congressional hearing placed the death toll at 476 of the 3000 workers.
2) 1967 Silver Bridge Collapse
The Silver Bridge, which connected Point Pleasant, WV and Gallipolis, OH, collapsed on December 15, 1967. The bridge had a lot of traffic on that day, and 46 people ended up losing their lives. Two of those victims were never actually found. Pictured above is the Silver Memorial Bridge, which was completed two years after the collapse.
3) Mount Carbon Trail Derailment
During a huge winter storm earlier this year, a train derailed in Mount Carbon, West Virginia. It was on Februrary 16 that 26 cars, all of which were carrying crude oil, left the tracks. 14 of those railcars caught on fire, and one of them went into the Kanawha River.
4) The Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster
The Upper Big Branch Mine disaster happened on April 5, 2010. It occurred in Raleigh County at Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch coal mine. 29 of the 31 coal miners at the site were killed, making this accident the worse in America since 1970. Investigators later came to the conclusion that Massey Energy was directly responsible for the blast. Pictured above is a memorial of the Upper Big Branch miners that were lost that day.
5) 2014 Water Crisis - a.k.a. the Aqua-pocalypse.
On January 9, 2014,a chemical was released from the Freedom Industries plant into the Elk River. The spill occurred right up the river from the major West Virginia American Water intake, treatment, and distribution center. Needless to say, 300,000 residents in nine counties of WV were without water. It took a couple weeks for the water ban to be completely lifted, so that water would be safe to use. Until then, we only really had bottled water. Communities really came together, though. My church, for one, was giving out free cases of bottled water every day. But if you went to the stores in search of water for your pets, children, and homes - you almost always came out empty-handed.
6) Yeager Airport Landslide
In March 2015, a landslide happened at Yeager Airport, in Charleston WV. The landslide slipped into the valley below and destroyed part of the emergency overrun at the end of the runway, several buildings, and several homes in a neighborhood. The neighborhood was evacuated during the landslide but the runway was not affected.
7) 1970 Marshall University Plane Crash
On November 14, 1970, an airplane carrying 75 people crashed into a hill near Ceredo, WV, killing all 75 people on board. That plane was carrying 37 Marshall football team players, eight members of the coaching staff, 25 boosters, and 5 flight crew. This disaster the deadliest sports-related tragedy in American history.
All of these tragedies have affected us all, in some way or another. All of the lives that have been lost as a result of these disasters will forever be remembered.
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