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Society & Culture
History

Disaster Area

Updated 2 months ago

Society & Culture
History
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A podcast about disasters throughout history - what caused them, how people survived, and how we've responded to keep those disasters from happening again.

Read more

A podcast about disasters throughout history - what caused them, how people survived, and how we've responded to keep those disasters from happening again.

iTunes Ratings

301 Ratings
Average Ratings
196
31
22
24
28

Love her stories!

By Sweet T 15 - May 20 2020
Read more
Jennifer does a great job finding interesting and historic disasters to cover, many of which I hadn’t heard of. While she may seem relaxed and low key at the start of most episodes, her stories become more passionate the further along she gets. If you like a well researched and intriguing story of a plane crash, earthquake, or some other disaster, this is the podcast to listen to.

Unique topic area

By Spainsmata - May 12 2020
Read more
I was looking for a particular story and in searching found this podcast. I thought I would just listen to that episode and move on. But nope I kept listening. I’m a true crime fan and many of these stories are just a different take on true crime. Can’t wait to catch up on all of the episodes.

iTunes Ratings

301 Ratings
Average Ratings
196
31
22
24
28

Love her stories!

By Sweet T 15 - May 20 2020
Read more
Jennifer does a great job finding interesting and historic disasters to cover, many of which I hadn’t heard of. While she may seem relaxed and low key at the start of most episodes, her stories become more passionate the further along she gets. If you like a well researched and intriguing story of a plane crash, earthquake, or some other disaster, this is the podcast to listen to.

Unique topic area

By Spainsmata - May 12 2020
Read more
I was looking for a particular story and in searching found this podcast. I thought I would just listen to that episode and move on. But nope I kept listening. I’m a true crime fan and many of these stories are just a different take on true crime. Can’t wait to catch up on all of the episodes.
Cover image of Disaster Area

Disaster Area

Latest release on Jul 31, 2020

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A podcast about disasters throughout history - what caused them, how people survived, and how we've responded to keep those disasters from happening again.

Rank #1: Episode 12: The Sinking of the SS Edmund Fitzgerald

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Released in 1976, "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" by Gordon Lightfoot told the tragic story of the sudden loss in a November storm of a freighter hauling iron ore pellets to Detroit. The SS Edmund Fitzgerald went down with a loss of 29 crewmen and left an enduring mystery of what may have really happened in its final moments.

Aug 07 2016

1hr 31mins

Play

Rank #2: Episode 123: Chernobyl - Part One

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Before we get into the story of Chernobyl, we explore a few previous nuclear disasters, learn how radiation and nuclear accidents are measured, and find out just how sick ionizing radiation will make you.

Oct 31 2019

1hr 2mins

Play

Rank #3: Episode 6: The Station Nightclub fire

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Fifteen seconds of sparks given off by pyrotechnic gerbs, two different layers of flammable soundproofing foam, no sprinklers, obstructed exits, and a panicked crowd combined to leave 100 concertgoers dead at the Station Nightclub in West Warwick, RI, on February 20, 2003.

Apr 03 2016

1hr 49mins

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Rank #4: Episode 85: Malaysia Airlines Flight 17

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Four years ago this week, a plane full of innocent people just going about their lives - returning home, heading for vacation in Malaysia, flying to an international AIDS conference in Melbourne - unwillingly became a pawn in a war they played no part in before that day. On July 17, 2014, someone in an Ukrainian war zone looked up and thought they saw enemy military aircraft overhead. So they positioned their Russian-made missile and fired. What happened afterward would be a subject of debate - and a source of international tensions - to this day.

Jul 20 2018

1hr 8mins

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Rank #5: Episode 23: The eruption of Mount St. Helens

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Sunday dawned warm and sunny in the Cascade mountain range. Hikers and fishermen savored the beautiful weather that morning, sure they were far from the danger they knew had been rumbling for weeks now. But at 8:32 AM on May 18, 1980, an earthquake shuddered through Mount St. Helens which triggered the massive volcanic eruption which everyone had been waiting for -- and yet, in at least one major way, almost no one saw coming.

Dec 17 2016

1hr 25mins

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Rank #6: Episode 88: The 2013 Moore tornado

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Moore, Oklahoma, had the worst luck. Over the course of fifteen years, the Oklahoma City suburb would have five major tornados blow through the area, causing billions of dollars in damage. One in particular which struck on May 20, 2013, caused another tragic kind of damage, heading straight for two of the town's elementary schools.

Aug 20 2018

1hr 5mins

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Rank #7: Episode 2: The Hillsborough Disaster

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On April 15, 1989, thousands of British football fans flocked to Sheffield to see the F.A. Cup semi-final game between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest. Ninety-six never made it home.

Jan 20 2016

1hr 12mins

Play

Rank #8: Episode 72: The Twilight Zone disaster

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One can only imagine how scary the scene might be for two small children. The village they hid in was being destroyed by explosions and gunfire. A strange man swore he would protect them and carry them to safety. As he attempted to take them away, the enemy's helicopter hovered overhead, men firing off guns from both sides. Luckily, it was all fake. The terrifying scene was a sequence being filmed for "Twilight Zone: The Movie." Everything was perfectly safe ... until it wasn't.

Apr 08 2018

1hr 13mins

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Rank #9: Episode 110: American Airlines Flight 191

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There are certain things you don't want to see out the window when you're sitting on a plane that's taking off. Seeing pieces of the plane fall off - like, say, the engine - are pretty high up on the list. Passengers sitting on American Airlines Flight 191 as it took off from O'Hare International Airport on May 25, 1979, were horrified to look out their windows and see exactly that happen to the engine on the left wing. They would only be horrifed for another thirty-one seconds.

Apr 12 2019

52mins

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Rank #10: Episode 62: The Tenerife disaster

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Until September 11, 2001, one aviation accident between two 747s was the deadliest aircraft crash by far, and only one of the planes just barely managed to make it off the ground. On March 27, 1977, everything that could go wrong did go wrong, one after another, leading to a deadly crash which left one group of prospective vacationers scrambling to escape a burning wreck.

Nov 26 2017

1hr 22mins

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Rank #11: Episode 74: Aloha Airlines Flight 243

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Some plane crashes may make you terrified any plane you get one will crash. Only one may scare you into worrying the roof of your airplane may rip right off in midflight.

Apr 24 2018

52mins

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Rank #12: Episode 95: The Sunshine Skyway bridge collapse

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The Sunshine Skyway bridge was a well-known piece of Florida architecture, carrying vehicles back and forth across Tampa Bay and allowing ships to pass underneath in the bay's busy shipping channel. But on May 9, 1980, a sudden and ferocious storm brought all three - the ships, the bridge, and the cars - to a tragic shared end.

Oct 30 2018

1hr 18mins

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Rank #13: Episode 65: The Piper Alpha disaster

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Working on an oil rig in the North Sea has its frustrations, its problems, and its dangers. In July of 1988, employees on the Piper Alpha platform were looking forward to having to work around construction as problem areas in the rig were updated - paint to be applied, sprinkler heads to be unclogged, and a broken safety valve to be fixed and replaced. In the end, a series of lapses and mistakes would lead to the deadliest oil rig disaster in history.

Dec 31 2017

1hr 19mins

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Rank #14: Episode 7: The Jonestown Massacre

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Over nine hundred men, women, and children died in 1978 in a small settlement in Guyana established by the People Temple, a church which presented itself as representing the ideals of racial equality, social justice, support of the elderly and children, and other seemingly positive issues. But behind the scenes, the machinations of "Father" Jim Jones led to sexual assault, violence, manipulation, and ultimately mass suicide.

Apr 28 2016

2hr 22mins

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Rank #15: Episode 39: The San Ysidro McDonald's Massacre

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It was always busy at the McDonald's restaurant on San Ysidro Boulevard. Kids invaded the play area whether or not they'd eaten in the restaurant, and for people arriving from the Tijuana border crossing only a mile south, the golden arches were like a welcome friends greeting them hello as they arrived in America. But on July 18, 1984, a stranger walked into the restaurant armed to the teeth, ready to finally end the battle in his mind.

May 31 2017

1hr 3mins

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Rank #16: Episode 116: The 1986 Mount Hood incident

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It's time for the yearly school trip - no, not to Washington, DC, or the Grand Canyon or New Orleans. In 1986, as every year before it, the kids in the Basecamp program at Oregon Episcopal School participated in a special trip - a climb up Mount Hood in the Cascade mountain range. But when the group left the school late on the night of May 11th, 1986, to head to Mount Hood for the opportunity of a lifetime, they had no idea nine of them would not be coming back alive.

Jun 27 2019

1hr 7mins

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Rank #17: Episode 4: The Kansas City Hyatt Regency skywalk collapse

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When the Kansas City Hyatt Regency opened in 1980, its beautiful atrium with walkways which appeared to float on air impressed the entire city. But in July of 1981, the skywalk's fine reputation came crashing down - literally.

Feb 17 2016

59mins

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Rank #18: Episode 16: The Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire

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At first, people who wandered over from Washington Square Park thought someone was throwing sack of shirtwaists out of the ninth floor windows of the Asch Building. But it quickly became apparent to the watching New Yorkers that these weren't bags of the Triangle Factory's finished products -- they were women. These young women had no other option, caught between the raging inferno blowing through the factory on March 25, 1911, and the ninth-story drop in front of them.

Oct 09 2016

2hr 7mins

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Rank #19: Episode 5: Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571

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"Rugby players eat their dead." Spotting this bumper sticker encouraged director Frank Marshall to take on the film version of "Alive," the book by Piers Paul Read about the crash of Flight 571. After the plane went down in the Andes on Friday the 13th of October, 1972, the members and supporters of the Old Christians rugby club who survived faced an impossible choice: whether or not to eat the only food available, the bodies of their dead friends. (TW: Discussion of cannibalism.)

Mar 16 2016

2hr 21mins

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Rank #20: Episode 3: The SS Eastland disaster

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Every year, Western Electric contracted excursion boats to take employees to the annual picnic, from Chicago to Michigan City, IN. In July of 1915, one ship would never leave the wharf.

Jan 31 2016

1hr 7mins

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Episode 142: The sinking of the Marchioness

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It was just supposed a late-night birthday party on the Thames - a little drinking, a little dancing, and a lot of fun with all their friends. But in the early morning hours of August 20th, 1989, the 131 people onboard the pleasure boat Marchioness found themselves at the mercy of a ship three times her size.

Jul 31 2020

1hr 22mins

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Episode 141: The eruption of Mount Pelee

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It spewed smoke and ash that destroyed crops and killed livestock, and yet they stayed. It caused earthquakes that damaged buildings and mudslide which killed hundreds, and yet they stayed. It sent insects and venomous snakes fleeing down into the town, and yet the people of Saint Pierre on the island of Martinique - or more specifically, some of their political leaders - refused to listen to the wordless threats issued by Mount Pelee. 

Jul 19 2020

1hr 34mins

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Episode 140: The 1918 influenza epidemic

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It came out of nowhere, flowing in waves throughout the world during a time of great international upheaval. Some did what they could to fight it. Some were struck down, and tragically lost so quickly it was hard to believe they were gone. Some were careless about the whole thing, refusing to wear masks or continuing to gather together for parades and parties. But in the end, what mattered was the virus, and the damage it wrecked.

Jul 01 2020

1hr 43mins

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Episode 139: The Elaine massacre

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The gathering was just a union meeting, the Black sharecroppers of Phillips County, Arkansas, banding together and trying to get a fair pay for their work in the cotton fields. But when the night ended in bloodshed, the county's white citizens thought it was something more. Then the posse formed, and all Hell broke loose.

Jun 19 2020

1hr 15mins

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Episode 138: The sinking of the Estonia

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It should have just have been a rough-and-tumble overnight ride across the sea, enjoying a good beer or a meal as the waves crashed outside. But then, early in the morning of September 28th, 1994, a loud noise rattled through the ferry Estonia, and the countdown to the ship's quick death began. 

May 16 2020

1hr 23mins

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Episode 137: The story of Tsutomu Yamaguchi

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All of us are in the middle of trying to survive a disaster. Tsutomu Yamaguchi managed to do so twice in one week.

Apr 24 2020

54mins

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Episode 136: The story of Mauro Prosperi

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It all started when the sandstorm kicked up. Hours later when the winds died down, Marathon des Sables entrant Mauro Prosperi found himself alone in the Moroccan desert, unable to locate the rest of the runners. Nine days later, surprising everyone, he would be found alive.

Apr 14 2020

1hr 14mins

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Episode 135: The Royal National Lifeboat Institution

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Founded in 1824, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution provided the British Isles with a standing organization of trained volunteers ready and willing to save those in peril in the surrounding waters on a moment's notice.

Mar 06 2020

50mins

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Episode 134: Valujet Flight 592

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The images were striking - the faint outline in the marshland of the Everglades where a DC-9 struck the ground, killing all 110 people on board. But what killed all those people within only minutes of takeoff from Miami?

Feb 29 2020

50mins

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Episode 133: The 1909 Cherry mine disaster

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You're working down in the mine several hundred feet below the surface when you start to smell smoke. It's growing thicker with every passing minute, and it's coming from between you and the only way out of the mine. 

Feb 25 2020

1hr 35mins

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Episode 132: DashCon

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In our first commercial disaster, it was supposed to be the first Tumblr convention, a safe place for fans to share their joy in things like Sherlock, Welcome to Night Vale, anime, and other interests. But what was supposed to be a good time ended up being a prolonged dumpster fire, complete with a bouncy house and a ball pit.

Feb 12 2020

1hr 6mins

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Episode 131: The 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting

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It was the last night of the Route 91 Harvest Festival and people were eager to see country star Jason Aldean take the stage. Twenty-five minutes into his performance, he stepped up to the mike ... only to make a run for it off the stage. Soon, everyone else in the audience would be running for cover as well.

Jan 31 2020

1hr 22mins

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Episode 130: The shipwreck of the Empress of Ireland

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It was one of the most respected ships on the sea, a luxurious way to travel from Canada to Europe. But one foggy night was all it would take to send the Empress of Ireland to the bottom of the St. Lawrence River in a mere fourteen minutes.

Jan 22 2020

1hr 10mins

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Episode 129: The story of Samantha Smith

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Would the United States and the Soviet Union nuke each other out of existence? In the 1980s, no one could be sure. So in 1982, a little girl named Samantha Smith just went ahead and asked -- the leader of the Soviet Union, that is.

Jan 01 2020

1hr 14mins

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Episode 128: Chernobyl - Part Six

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In this final episode of our Chernobyl series, we look at how Pripyat has fared in the years since it was evacuated, among other things.

Dec 25 2019

1hr 1min

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Episode 127: Chernobyl - Part Five

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In the penultimate episode of our Chernobyl series, we look at the investigation into the causes of the accident and the failures behind the scenes which led to the disaster.

Dec 20 2019

55mins

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Episode 126: Chernobyl - Part Four

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The break is over and it's back to Chernobyl, where everything is covered with radioactive dust and the remains of reactor #4 are a continuing danger to everyone - both in the immediate vicinity, and quite possibly to all of those in western Europe.

Dec 13 2019

1hr 17mins

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Episode 125: Chernobyl - Part Three

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In this part of our Chernobyl series, we reach the moment of truth - the day when all of Chernobyl's underlying problems rose to the surface and led to the worst nuclear power disaster in history.

Nov 12 2019

1hr 18mins

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Episode 124: Chernobyl - Part Two

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In this episode, we see Chernobyl's beginnings, and just where cracks begin to form underneath the surface.

Nov 06 2019

45mins

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Episode 123: Chernobyl - Part One

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Before we get into the story of Chernobyl, we explore a few previous nuclear disasters, learn how radiation and nuclear accidents are measured, and find out just how sick ionizing radiation will make you.

Oct 31 2019

1hr 2mins

Play

iTunes Ratings

301 Ratings
Average Ratings
196
31
22
24
28

Love her stories!

By Sweet T 15 - May 20 2020
Read more
Jennifer does a great job finding interesting and historic disasters to cover, many of which I hadn’t heard of. While she may seem relaxed and low key at the start of most episodes, her stories become more passionate the further along she gets. If you like a well researched and intriguing story of a plane crash, earthquake, or some other disaster, this is the podcast to listen to.

Unique topic area

By Spainsmata - May 12 2020
Read more
I was looking for a particular story and in searching found this podcast. I thought I would just listen to that episode and move on. But nope I kept listening. I’m a true crime fan and many of these stories are just a different take on true crime. Can’t wait to catch up on all of the episodes.