August 2005 Disasters
Updated February 11, 2017 | Infoplease Staff
- Aug. 2, Toronto, Canada: an Air France Airbus A340, Flight 358, skidded off the runway at Toronto's Pearson International Airport in heavy thunderstorms. All of the 309 aboard managed to escape from the aircraft before it went up in flames.
- Aug. 5–9, Pomeroy, Wash: wildfires burned 37,000 acres in southeastern Washington, destroying at least 100 homes and cabins.
- Aug. 6, Palermo, Italy: an ATR-72 aircraft, on a charter flight from Bari to Palermo. crashed in the Mediterranean, killing at least 16 of the 39 aboard.
- Aug. 14, Athens, Greece: Helios Airways Flight 522, a Boeing 737, en route from Cyprus to Athens, crashed into a mountain killing all 121 on board. The suspected cause of the accident was a catastrophic loss of cabin pressure.
- Aug. 16, western Venezuela: a West Caribbean Airways charter flight, an MD-82, en route from Panama to Martinique, crashed in remote western Venezuela, killing all 160 on board.
- Aug. 16, northern Japan: a powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake shook northern Japan, injuring at least 59 people, and creating small tsunami waves on a nearby coast.
- Aug. 12, off the coast of Columbia: a boat overloaded with illegal Ecuadorean immigrants sank more than 200 miles off the coast of Columbia, killing at least 94 people.
- Aug. 23, western Peru: a TANS airline, Boeing 737, en route from Lima to Pucallpa with 98 on board, crashed during an emergency landing just short of the Pucallpa airport, killing at least 31 people. 57 survived and 10 are unaccounted for.
- Aug. 25, Ft. Lauderdale, Fl.: Hurricane Katrina brought heavy rains and winds to southeastern Florida, killing 14.
- Europe: days of heavy rains in Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Romania, and Switzerland inundated rivers and lakes, flooded cities and towns, damaged roads and railways, and killed at least 42 people, 31 of them in Romania.
- Aug. 29–30, La. and Miss.: Hurricane Katrina, a Category 3 hurricane and one of the most powerful and deadliest to hit the U.S., devastated the La. and Miss. coast, landing just east of New Orleans with 127 mph winds. The high winds and massive flooding miles inland left thousands homeless, 2.3 million without electricity, roads and bridges destroyed, and communications inoperable. Storm surges, up to 25 ft, swamped the Miss. Gulf Coast destroying hundreds of homes, roads, and much of the coastal infrastructure. Loss of casinos on the Gulf coast and damage to oil rigs increased the economic devastation to the area and the entire country. The breach of two levees in New Orleans, the day after the storm, submerged 80 percent of the city with flood waters that reached up to 20 ft. greatly increasing the damage from the hurricane, shutting down the entire city, and leaving thousands of New Orleans residents trapped on rooftops and in the evacuation centers without food, water, or other services. Widespread looting occurred and troops were called in to restore order. On Monday, Sept. 5th, the levees were patched and water began to be pumped from the city, a process which took more than a month. The mayor ordered the city evacuated because of the health risk. In all, the Coast Guard evacuated 30,000 people who were stranded by Katrina. The death toll reached an estimated 1,800, with 1,464 in La. and 238 in Miss., making it the third deadliest hurricane in the U.S. Katrina was one the most devastating hurricanes to hit the U.S. with estimates of $100 billion in losses, $34 billion insured losses. The initial local and federal government response to the hurricane was slow and inadequate, leaving thousands, primarily the poor who were unable to evacuate, without water, food, or shelter for days.
See also Hurricane Katrina
- Aug 31, Baghdad, Iraq: rumors of a suicide bomber caused a stampede of Shiite pilgrims as they crossed a bridge over the Tigris, killing more than 950. Thousands had gathered the previous day to mark the anniversary of the death of Imam Musa al-Kadhim, one of Shiite Islam's holiest figures.
See also Recent Volcanic Activity