Seconds From Disaster

The WORST episodes of Seconds From Disaster

Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!

Accounts of famous technological disasters and their subsequent investigations.

Last Updated: 4/28/2022Network: National Geographic
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High Speed Train Wreck (Derailment at Eschede)
star
6.55
40 votes

#1 - High Speed Train Wreck (Derailment at Eschede)

Season 1 - Episode 5 - Aired 8/3/2004

June 1998. The new German InterCity Express is a trip from Munich to Hamburg, one of many. Today should be no different. The new train offers the ultimate luxury in high-speed travel. But a terrible accident sets off a chain of events causing the loss of 101 lives when the train derails catastrophically at the town of Eschede. But what caused such a horrible accident?

Puerto Rico Gas Explosion
star
6.56
9 votes

#2 - Puerto Rico Gas Explosion

Season 2 - Episode 13 - Aired 12/13/2005

The Humberto Vidal Shoe Store was just like any other. But one day in Puerto Rico, a gas explosion kills 33 and injures 69 people.

Kursk: Russia's Nuclear Nightmare
star
7.11
70 votes

#3 - Kursk: Russia's Nuclear Nightmare

Season 3 - Episode 3 - Aired 4/18/2006

When a training mission goes horribly wrong, the Russian sumbarine Kursk suffers an explosion. 135 seconds later, it sinks. 23 people survive the blast, out of 118 on board. Will they make it out in time? What caused the sinking of the Kursk?

Hindenburg Airship
star
7.14
7 votes

#4 - Hindenburg Airship

Season 2 - Episode 12 - Aired 11/15/2005

When the zeppelin Hindenburg catches fire at Lakehurst, 35 of the 97 on board and one member of the ground crew are killed. Was the most infamous airship disaster caused by a ticking time bomb smuggled on board? Or was the Hindenburg itself a ticking time bomb?

Watch Now:Amazon
Runaway Train
star
7.14
14 votes

#5 - Runaway Train

Season 6 - Episode 7 - Aired 12/10/2012

On April 25, 2005, a seven-car commuter train came off the tracks and crashed just before Amagasaki Station in Japan causing 107 deaths and 562 injuries.

Sinking The Coventry
star
7.18
39 votes

#6 - Sinking The Coventry

Season 6 - Episode 9 - Aired 12/24/2012

On May 25, 1982, in the Falklands War between the United Kingdom and Argentina a low level bomb attack from the Argentinian jets capsizes the HMS Coventry within 20 minutes - why did the ship sink so quickly?

Everglades Plane Crash
star
7.22
69 votes

#7 - Everglades Plane Crash

Season 3 - Episode 6 - Aired 7/11/2006

On May 1996, what started out as a normal flight from Miami, Florida, to Atlanta, Georgia, when ValuJet Flight 592, a DC-9 with 110 people on board goes down in the Everglades when a fire starts in the cabin and cockpit. The aircraft is swallowed by the swamp and harsh conditions make the rescue operation impossible. Soon there are no survivors. What happened to ValuJet 592 is a one of a kind accident.

Munich Olympic Massacre
star
7.30
10 votes

#8 - Munich Olympic Massacre

Season 3 - Episode 10 - Aired 9/13/2006

During the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, 11 Israeli athletes are been held hostage by Palestinian terrorists. They demand the list of Palestine prisoners in exchange for the release of the ahtletes. But at Furstenfeldbruck Airfield, a rescue attempt goes wrong and soon 17 people are dead.

Crash Landing in Sioux City
star
7.46
13 votes

#9 - Crash Landing in Sioux City

Season 2 - Episode 7 - Aired 9/13/2005

On 19 July 1989, the pilots of United Airlines Flight 232 are shocked to learn they have lost all control of the DC-10 after an engine failure and make an emergency landing at Sioux City, Iowa, but in a dramatic crash, the aircraft breaks apart and catches fire with 111 lives lost out of the 285 on board. Why did the engine fail?

Motorway Plane Crash
star
7.56
9 votes

#10 - Motorway Plane Crash

Season 2 - Episode 3 - Aired 7/12/2005

January 1989. British Midland Airways Flight 092, a Boeing 737, is landing at Kegworth, United Kingdom, when it crashes on the M1 motorway, killing 47 people. What went wrong? The B-737 is the most widely-used airliner in the world. Could mechanical failure be to blame? Perhaps human error? Or even sabotage?

Titanic
star
7.56
70 votes

#11 - Titanic

Season 3 - Episode 7 - Aired 7/25/2006

It was known as the "unsinkable ship." The RMS Titanic, on its maiden voyage from Southhampton to New York with over 2,000 people on board strikes an iceberg, and within two hours and forty minutes, sinks taking with it 1,500 lives. Now, Seconds from Disaster re-examines the sinking of the Titanic to find out who-or-what was to blame.

Watch Now:Amazon
Pentagon 9/11
star
7.57
14 votes

#12 - Pentagon 9/11

Season 1 - Episode 13 - Aired 10/26/2004

September 11, 2001 is one of the worst days in history. In Washington, D.C, the workers at the Pentagon have only just heard of the chaos going on at the New York World Trade Centre, but are unaware that they themselves have become a target. American Airlines Flight 77, a Boeing 757 aircraft, collides with the Pentagon killing 189. Pentagon 9/11 recreates the events leading up to the explosion at the Pentagon.

Inferno at Guadalajara
star
7.60
15 votes

#13 - Inferno at Guadalajara

Season 1 - Episode 8 - Aired 8/24/2004

April 1992, Guadalajara, Mexico. On the 19th, residents start complaining of a strong gasoline-like smell coming from the sewers. Three days later, on the 22nd, numerous gas explosions in the sewers over a time span of four hours destroy kilometers of housing estate and killing 206 people. But who, if anyone, is to blame? What caused the inferno in Guadalajara?

The Bomb in Oklahoma City
star
7.73
11 votes

#14 - The Bomb in Oklahoma City

Season 1 - Episode 3 - Aired 7/20/2004

One April morning in 1995, at Oklahoma City's Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, Timothy McVeigh parks a truck packed with explosives at the front of the government landmark. At 9:02AM, it explodes and the front of the building collapses with a loss of 168 lives. Survivors recount the terrifying experience as investigators attempt to discover what caused the building to collapse.

Columbia's Last Flight (Space Shuttle Columbia)
star
7.73
98 votes

#15 - Columbia's Last Flight (Space Shuttle Columbia)

Season 2 - Episode 1 - Aired 6/28/2005

June 28 Columbia's Last Flight (Space Shuttle Columbia) Space Shuttle Columbia disaster February 1, 2003 Texas, February 1, 2003. The Space Shuttle Columbia is re-entering orbit. But something goes horribly wrong and Columbia explodes. All 7 astronauts on board perish. When investigators learn of a small fault which occurred during take-off sixteen days earlier, they are convinced they have found a possible suspect.

Watch Now:Amazon
Queens Air Crash
star
7.79
39 votes

#16 - Queens Air Crash

Season 3 - Episode 9 - Aired 9/6/2006

Its been more than two months after 9/11 and the event is still fresh in everyone's mind. At JFK Airport in Queens, American Airlines Flight 587, an Airbus A300, leaves on a three and a half flight to Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. Shortly after take-off it crashes into Rockaway in Queens, New York. This place is home to people affected by 9/11. 257 people die. Was this terrorism again? Or a fault?

Watch Now:Amazon
Tornado Outbreak
star
7.88
8 votes

#17 - Tornado Outbreak

Season 3 - Episode 17 - Aired 1/2/2007

On 3 April 1974, the most violent outbreak of tornadoes in history struck. The well-named "Super Outbreak" produces 148 twisters over 13 American states and in Ontario, Canada destroying thousands of homes and over 5,000 people die. How did a single storm form the 1974 "Super Outbreak" tornadoes?

Watch Now:Amazon
Bismarck
star
7.89
38 votes

#18 - Bismarck

Season 5 - Episode 2 - Aired 3/18/2012

Maritime Historian Andrew Lambert looks at the Royal Navy's battle with the German battleship Bismarck.

Watch Now:Amazon
Alpine Tsunami
star
7.91
11 votes

#19 - Alpine Tsunami

Season 2 - Episode 2 - Aired 7/5/2005

The Alpine village of Galtur, an avalanche buries 57 people in the snow. 31 of them die. But why did the avalanche occur in the first place? Were careless villagers to blame?

Black Hawk Down
star
7.91
11 votes

#20 - Black Hawk Down

Season 6 - Episode 4 - Aired 11/19/2012

On October 3–4, 1993, what should have been a simple snatch and grab operation for the US Army in Somalia turns into a battle that kills 18 US Rangers and around 1,000 Somali civilians.

Nagasaki - The Forgotten Bomb
star
7.92
12 votes

#21 - Nagasaki - The Forgotten Bomb

Season 6 - Episode 8 - Aired 12/17/2012

On August 9, 1945, the United States of America, during the final stages of World War II in 1945 bombed the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki causing a huge death toll.

Into The Death Zone
star
7.93
14 votes

#22 - Into The Death Zone

Season 6 - Episode 5 - Aired 11/26/2012

On May 10–11, 1996 saw the death of nine climbers, including New Zealand climbing veteran Rob Hall. Was it a fierce storm, extreme ambition or something else that caused their demise?

Watch Now:Amazon
Fire Onboard the Star (Fire on the Star)
star
7.95
74 votes

#23 - Fire Onboard the Star (Fire on the Star)

Season 1 - Episode 4 - Aired 7/27/2004

On Easter 1990, a fire breaks out on the Scandinavian Star Ferry. After been towed to Sweden, the fire is eventually put out after 10 hours. Then the worst is revealed. 158 people have lost their lives. But why on Earth did they die? An investigation is immediately started, but the truth will shock them.

Zeebrugge Ferry Disaster
star
7.97
71 votes

#24 - Zeebrugge Ferry Disaster

Season 2 - Episode 5 - Aired 8/16/2005

On March 1987, the British Car Ferry Herald of Free Enterprise capsizes off Zeebrugge killing 193. Why did this happen? Was it just a terrible blunder? Or something worse?

Plane Crash in the Potomac
star
8.02
41 votes

#25 - Plane Crash in the Potomac

Season 3 - Episode 12 - Aired 9/27/2006

On 13 January 1982, Air Florida Flight 90 leaves Ronald Reagan National Airport in Washington DC for Miami with 79 passengers and crew on board. The Boeing 737 is delayed for hours by bad conditions, and only seconds after getting airborne it crashes into the icy Potomac river. Five survivors are pulled out alive but 78-including four motorists-lose their lives.