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.