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Society & Culture
Documentary

Great Disasters

Updated 6 days ago

Society & Culture
Documentary
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Whether natural or man-made, disasters attract a strange mixture of horror and fascination. However, the spectacle of devastation is only ever one part of the story. Take a closer look, and you will find tales of extraordinary human endurance and heroism, stories that veer from the horrific to the oddly humorous, and lessons that can be learned to make our world safer. From the Titanic to the Costa Concordia, the Station nightclub fire to the Pulse nightclub shooting, these extraordinary events – and the people involved – are examined on the Great Disasters podcast, written, researched, recorded and produced by me, Kari Fay. From official reports, first-person accounts, and contemporary media, I delve into the often-appalling details of these events to bring you the full story.

Read more

Whether natural or man-made, disasters attract a strange mixture of horror and fascination. However, the spectacle of devastation is only ever one part of the story. Take a closer look, and you will find tales of extraordinary human endurance and heroism, stories that veer from the horrific to the oddly humorous, and lessons that can be learned to make our world safer. From the Titanic to the Costa Concordia, the Station nightclub fire to the Pulse nightclub shooting, these extraordinary events – and the people involved – are examined on the Great Disasters podcast, written, researched, recorded and produced by me, Kari Fay. From official reports, first-person accounts, and contemporary media, I delve into the often-appalling details of these events to bring you the full story.

iTunes Ratings

64 Ratings
Average Ratings
52
6
3
1
2

Format A+

By matt kirschner - Jun 11 2018
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The show was really informative and I enjoy how the show was structured!

Big Fan, Well Delivered History

By PhilBana - Feb 12 2018
Read more
Engaging episodes, interesting history. Worth a listen.

iTunes Ratings

64 Ratings
Average Ratings
52
6
3
1
2

Format A+

By matt kirschner - Jun 11 2018
Read more
The show was really informative and I enjoy how the show was structured!

Big Fan, Well Delivered History

By PhilBana - Feb 12 2018
Read more
Engaging episodes, interesting history. Worth a listen.
Cover image of Great Disasters

Great Disasters

Latest release on Feb 07, 2020

The Best Episodes Ranked Using User Listens

Updated by OwlTail 6 days ago

Rank #1: Air France 358

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Air France Flight 358 was a transatlantic journey from France to Canada with over three hundred people on board. When it careened off the end of the runway on landing and caught fire, creating a huge blaze that burned for two hours, everyone feared the worst. But the worst didn't come; everyone on board got out alive.

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/greatdisasters)

Dec 29 2017

31mins

Play

Rank #2: Chernobyl Part One

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In April 1986, power plant operators prepared to carry out a planned test which would take less than a minute. Instead, they triggered a disaster with consequences that would last for thousands of years.

Drawing on accounts from eyewitnesses and survivors, as well as contemporary news reports and expert assessments, I'll tell the full story of the horrifying Chernobyl disaster.


Visit www.greatdisasters.co.uk for the full transcript and more.

Check out the Great Disasters Podcast on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram - let me know what you think of the show.


Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/greatdisasters)

Apr 26 2019

39mins

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Rank #3: San Francisco Earthquake 1906

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Shortly after five am on the 18th April 1906, San Francisco was rudely awoken by a major earthquake. It was only the first part of a double tragedy; fire then swept through the city leaving only destruction in its wake.

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/greatdisasters)

Feb 09 2018

27mins

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Rank #4: Air New Zealand Flight 901

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More than 250 people boarded a DC-10 airliner for a luxurious sightseeing trip in one of the most remote parts of the world. Their trip came to an unexpected and tragic end on the side of a mountain.

Using contemporary news reports, the accounts of those involved in the investigation, and the two official reports produced, I'll tell the story of the Erebus Disaster.

Visit www.greatdisasters.co.uk for the full transcript and more.

Check out the Great Disasters Podcast on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram - let me know what you think of the show.

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/greatdisasters)

Nov 15 2019

43mins

Play

Rank #5: Space Shuttle Columbia

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On January 16th, 2003, the Space Shuttle Columbia launched on its 28th mission, a scientific expedition that would see the crew spend sixteen days in orbit carrying out research. All went well - until it was time to come home.

Drawing on contemporary news items, witness accounts, and official reports, I'll tell the full story of the tragic loss of Columbia.


Visit www.greatdisasters.co.uk for the full transcript and more.

Check out the Great Disasters Podcast on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram - let me know what you think of the show.



Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/greatdisasters)

Sep 20 2019

45mins

Play

Rank #6: The Spanish Flu

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The flu pandemic of 1918 was not like other outbreaks of influenza. It attacked the young and healthy, not just the infirm, and swept the globe to create a deadly outbreak of unprecedented proportions. It was called the Spanish Flu, and even in the wake of the Great War which preceded it, it was terrifying.

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/greatdisasters)

Jan 12 2018

22mins

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Rank #7: The Station Nightclub Fire

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On a cold night in February, hundreds of people packed into The Station nightclub to see the band Great White playing. It would be a night none of them would forget - but the band didn't even finish their first song.

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/greatdisasters)

May 04 2018

33mins

Play

Rank #8: Apollo 1

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With America lagging behind the Soviet Union in the space race, JFK made a promise to reach the moon. Three men paid the price on a launch pad at Cape Canaveral. 

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/greatdisasters)

Jul 01 2018

31mins

Play

Rank #9: The Munich Olympics Massacre

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In the early hours of the 5th September, 1972, eight armed gunmen broke into the apartments of sleeping Israeli athletes and coaches, taking them hostage and beginning a series of events which would turn the Olympics of Peace into the Olympics of Horror.

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/greatdisasters)

Dec 15 2017

29mins

Play

Rank #10: Galveston Hurricane 1900

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People gathered on the beaches to watch the awesome waves, but this was no mere squall coming in from the Gulf. It was a hurricane, and by the following day there would not be a single building in Galveston standing undamaged.

Drawing on eyewitness accounts, official reports and contemporary news reports, I'll tell the full story of the devastating Galveston Hurricane


Visit www.greatdisasters.co.uk for the full transcript and more.

Check out the Great Disasters Podcast on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram - let me know what you think of the show.

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/greatdisasters)

Apr 12 2019

36mins

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Rank #11: The de Havilland Comet

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In this episode, I'm looking at the case of the de Havilland Comet - the first commercial jet airliner. Three crashes within short succession in the 1950's hinted at a deadly flaw in the plane's design, but it would take pioneering investigative techniques to reveal it.

Drawing on official reports and contemporary accounts, I'll tell the full story of what went wrong.

Visit www.greatdisasters.co.uk for the full transcript and more.

Check out the Great Disasters Podcast on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram - let me know what you think of the show.




Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/greatdisasters)

Feb 01 2019

26mins

Play

Rank #12: Chernobyl Part Two

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The people of Pripyat knew something had happened at the nearby power plant - but they only realised how serious it was two days later, when they were ordered to evacuate the city.

Drawing on accounts from eyewitnesses and survivors, as well as contemporary news reports and expert assessments, I'll tell the full story of the horrifying Chernobyl disaster.

This is the second of two episodes on this topic.

Visit www.greatdisasters.co.uk for the full transcript and more.

Check out the Great Disasters Podcast on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram - let me know what you think of the show.


Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/greatdisasters)

May 10 2019

46mins

Play

Rank #13: Seveso Chemical Disaster

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An ordinary summer's day in Italy was disturbed by the sudden appearance of a white cloud. The cloud was vapour that had been released by a local chemical plant, and Seveso would forever be known for its impact.

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/greatdisasters)

Jun 15 2018

33mins

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Rank #14: Piper Alpha

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In this episode of Great Disasters, I'll be looking at the Piper Alpha explosion; the deadliest off-shore oil rig disaster to date.

There were more than two hundred men aboard Piper Alpha that summer night, 120 miles out in the midst of the North Sea. When the platform they called home exploded, they were thrown into a battle for survival between the flames and the waves.

Drawing on official reports and the accounts of witnesses and survivors, I'll tell the full story of what went wrong.

Visit www.greatdisasters.co.uk for the full transcript and more.

Check out the Great Disasters Podcast on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram - let me know what you think of the show.

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/greatdisasters)

Jan 18 2019

27mins

Play

Rank #15: The Great Hunger, Ireland 1845-50

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Also known as "an Gorta Mór" in Irish, or the Irish Potato Famine to those outside the Emerald Isle, the Great Hunger created a dividing line in Irish history. It was triggered by the potato blight, but the true depth of misery that it brought was largely created by the politics of the British government.

Drawing on contemporary news reports and historical research, I'll tell the full story of the Irish Famine.


Visit www.greatdisasters.co.uk for the full transcript and more.

Check out the Great Disasters Podcast on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram - let me know what you think of the show.

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/greatdisasters)

Jun 07 2019

43mins

Play

Rank #16: Pearl Harbor

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In December, 1941, thousands of American servicemen were enjoying themselves on the idyllic Hawaiian island of Oahu, where the Pacific Fleet was in port. Then, on a date that would "live in infamy", they were abruptly and dramatically pulled into the Second World War.

Using eyewitness accounts and contemporary material, I'll tell the story of Pearl Harbor.

Visit www.greatdisasters.co.uk for the full transcript and more.

Check out the Great Disasters Podcast on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram - let me know what you think of the show.



Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/greatdisasters)

Oct 04 2019

43mins

Play

Rank #17: The Carrington Event

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In 1859, a spectacular auroral display astonished people all around the world - it was visible far beyond the usual latitudes for such a sight. At the same time, the nascent telegraph system went haywire, and an English astronomer gazing at the sun spotted the connection. 

Drawing on contemporary news reports and modern research, I'll tell the story of the Carrington Event - and how it could be a warning of future disaster.


Visit www.greatdisasters.co.uk for the full transcript and more.

Check out the Great Disasters Podcast on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram - let me know what you think of the show.

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/greatdisasters)

Sep 06 2019

30mins

Play

Rank #18: 1955 Le Mans Crash

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The 24 Hours of Le Mans is one of the world's most prestigious motor races. Established in 1923, it challenges both man and machine to compete at the very edge of their ability. In 1955, that challenge led to catastrophe.

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/greatdisasters)

Jul 13 2018

31mins

Play

Rank #19: The Sampoong Department Store Collapse

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In the glamorous Gangnam area of Seoul, South Korea, hundreds of shoppers browsed through luxury goods or stopped to grab a couple of things on their way home from work. Then, with a loud bang, the store literally collapsed around them.

Drawing on contemporary news reports and accounts from survivors, witnesses and investigators, I'll tell the full story of the Sampoong Department Store collapse.


Visit www.greatdisasters.co.uk for the full transcript and more.

Check out the Great Disasters Podcast on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram - let me know what you think of the show.

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/greatdisasters)

Jun 21 2019

31mins

Play

Rank #20: 1931 China Floods

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The Yangtze River is the third longest in the world - and when it breaks its banks, its power should not be underestimated.

Using contemporary accounts and modern analysis, I'll tell the story of the 1931 China Floods.

Visit www.greatdisasters.co.uk for the full transcript and more.

Check out the Great Disasters Podcast on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram - let me know what you think of the show.

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/greatdisasters)

Nov 01 2019

31mins

Play