Tuesday, September 08, 2015

A ghoulish addiction

Am I ghoulish?

It began at work when for some reason during a training course when we were shown a video of a fire at an old soccer stadium in Bradford, England . It was completely irrelevant to my work and I have no idea what the point of showing us the video was. This was in the very early days of the internet and the short piece was displayed by a video recorder tape. Some years later as the internet became very useful, I looked for the same piece, and sure enough, it was online. It was quite horrific and many people were killed.

Some years later a new enquiry was opened into the police outrage at the crowd crush at Hillsborough, Sheffield soccer stadium. Ah, I can see that online too.

Ah, Belgium, Heysel soccer disaster, plenty to see about that.

The ghoulish beast in me died and I stopped watching disaster videos on You Tube.

Well, I pretty well stopped watching them. There may have been a landslide, an ice collapse, a hurricane, a tornado, a tsunami, multiple train crashes, car crashes, chairlift disasters, crane collapses, building demolitions gone wrong and assorted other frailties of human endeavour.  But this was only occasionally.

I blame Canada. After our visit there, for a post yet to be published, I was checking train disaster statistics and I came across videos on You Tube called Seconds From Disaster, made I think by the National Geographic television station. The video was of a train crash in the Rocky Mountains, where we had been. It was a while ago and while it seems the crew of three had all fallen asleep and were deemed responsible for the crash, what was really the cause was appalling rostering practices by Canadian National, the employer of the staff. The two drivers had only a few hours sleep between shifts.

Next up was the Lac Megantic rail disaster in Quebec, the more recent train crash in Spain, another train crash in Paris, an air crash in Amsterdam, a runaway train in San Bernardino, more plane crashes, dam wall failures, a building collapse in Singapore, a bad train crash in Paddington, London. Floods, yes, the Mystery of the Mont Blanc Glacier Flood.

The re-enactments can be a bit tedious and melodramatic but I find the investigations and reasons why things go wrong to be compelling and so often it is the human element to blame. However, improvements in processes by management and improvements with technology can often reduce or even remove human errors, as much as some people dislike a loss of personal control.

This was going to be a separate post, but I may as well included it here. This is not a proper study of statistics, but I thought 441 people killed in ten train crashes in Canada's railway history was alarming. I had a look at Australian statistics, and I worked it out to about 326, not greatly less especially if the steep and rugged Canadian terrain is taken into account. One obvious matter can not be denied. In both countries rail travel has become increasingly safer and there is no comparison in the stats between death by train than death by motor car. Trains are just so much safer than motor cars and in my opinion, more relaxing.

28 comments:

  1. andrew, your addiction is strange, but world is full of disasters and death so we are all ghoulish..,.

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    1. True Gosia. I like to why my plane is going to crash.

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  2. I can't cope with those programs/videos. So much pain, so much suffering. My partner feels as you do, that there are lessons to be learnt.
    And train travel IS more relaxing, and safer than cars. Much.

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    1. EC, I haven't even worked out the safest seat on a plane yet, but I may do.

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  3. Terrible shows but the beer fairy likes them, I just go away and do something else, maybe it's a male thing..
    Merle...............

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    1. Merle, R does not like them either, so that is why I watch them in my bedroom on the tablet.

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  4. I don't think it is ghoulish - I think it is natural for humans to want to understand disasters and how to avoid them happening again. :)

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    1. Snoskred, that is what I would argue, if it is at all logical.

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  5. I am still travelling everywhere by car, ship and train, but these days I have a long hard think before getting on a plane.

    Mind you I hesitate every time before going over the West Gate Bridge and the film footage of that disaster came out in 1970!!! Visual nightmares don't fade

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    1. Hels, I used to think the same about the Bridge, but I am quite used to it now.

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  6. I used to enjoy the endless "fail" videos on youtube. But then the bone breaking injuries, don't seem funny anymore, because I can feel that pain and know what those kids (mostly) will face down the road from those injuries because they come back to haunt in older age. I've not seen a lot of train wreck videos. Public transport in our area isn't much, and the one public train that travels through, north and south, Amtrak, is very expensive and often mostly empty.

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    1. Strayer, I really don't like those sort of vids where kids and animals get hurt. Amtrak, the train nobody uses because is lousy, the train no one used because no one will spend money to improve it.

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  7. I always watch "Aircraft Investigations" to make sure I remember why I don't fly anywhere. When I was very young (compared to now) girlfriend and I would catch the sleeper train to Sydney on Friday after work and catch the first plane back on Monday morning. Great days.

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    1. Jah Teh, you do still love me after all. What, pray tell, did you get up to in Sydney? Do we really want to hear?

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    2. Of course we want to hear. We're nosy and love to laugh. Please tell....

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  8. The only train crash I ever think about is the Granville one in Sydney back in 1976 I think. My husband was supposed to be on that train that morning, but he missed it. I remember thanking all the gods in all the heavens when he rang home later to say he'd been on a bus instead.

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    1. River, Granville is very well planted in most Australian minds. I also remember the bad one at Violet Town in Victoria quite a few years earlier. Yes, you have reminded me that you mentioned about your husband before, but I had forgotten.

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  9. I don't use YouTube very much...if I do I'm looking for singers sometimes. I must look more when I get home..

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    1. Margaret, there is so much to see on YouTube, including lots of tv shows.

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  10. The expression "It's like watching a train wreck" comes to mind. Maybe funny home videos would relieve he stress.

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    1. No Mitchell, I don't like the shows with kiddies and critters being hurt. Give me mass extinction in plane crash any day.

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  11. Well it does seem a wee bit ghoulish Andrew :) best thing to do (for me) is abandon plane travel and use the train when we visit Sydney.. It only takes three days to cross the Nullabor :)

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    1. Grace, a Perth based former Prime Minister used to travel by train to and from Canberra! But yeah, too long.

      Paris will remain a wonderful memory for you then.

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  12. P.s. I WILL miss Paris :(

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  13. Once you watch something, you can't unwatch it. ... Real life horror films.

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    1. Carol, horror films don't worry me much. They often seem corny.

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  14. Andrew, dearest, the Fleet was in.

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    1. Kind of thought it wouldn't be Mardi Gras. MG would not so satisfying.

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