October 2001 Disasters
- Oct. 4, Black Sea, off the coast of Russia: Siberian Airlines jet en route from Tel Aviv, Israel, to Novosibirsk in Siberia exploded and plunged into the Black Sea. All 76 aboard, including scores of Jewish holiday celebrants, were killed. According to American officials, the plane was brought down by antiaircraft missiles fired by the Ukrainian military during a training exercise, a theory Ukrainian and Russian officials disputed.
- Oct. 4–7, central Alaska: Some 285,600 gallons of crude oil spilled from the trans-Alaska pipeline, contaminating the area around the pipeline about 70 mi north of Fairbanks. The oil leaked through a bullet hole, which was made by a gun fired by a drunken resident of a nearby town.
- Oct. 8, Milan, Italy: Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS) jet bound for Copenhagen hit a Cessna aircraft during takeoff in a heavy fog at Milan's Linate airport. The SAS MD-87 then spun out of control and hit 2 airport buildings before crashing into a baggage handling hangar and bursting into flames. All 104 passengers and 6 crew aboard the airliner, as well as the four people in the smaller plane and four airport workers, were killed in what is one of Italy's worst air disasters.
- Oct. 8, near Big Creek village, Belize: Hurricane Iris roared onto the coast of southern Belize, killing an estimated 25 people. The dead included 17 Americans from a diving club in Richmond, Va., whose boat capsized during the storm.
- early October, central and southern United States: A record 83 tornadoes swept through portions of the U.S. in the first half of October, the highest number of twisters ever recorded for that time period. The states most affected were Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas. The previous record for the first 2 weeks of October was 47 confirmed tornadoes, set in 1998.
- Oct. 24, St. Gotthard Tunnel, Switzerland: 2 trucks collided near the tunnel's southern entrance and burst into flames, causing dense black smoke to billow from the tunnel. At least 11 people died as a result, but tens more were missing. The fire continued to rage for 2 days. The accident was Switzerland's worst road tunnel crash.
See also Recent Volcanic Activity