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The Worst Sleep Related Accidents

July 31, 2014

The Worst Sleep Related Accidents

We've all had those days that we are so tired that we do something stupid like leaving the morning cup of coffee on top your car or trying to put two contacts into the same eye. But these silly things pale in comparison to the people who caused some of the biggest disasters in the world due to a lack of sleep!

5. The Challenger Explosion

In 1986 the space shuttle Challenger exploded just seconds after liftoff, killing all seven crew members in live television. Later reports emerged that it some of the managers involved in the launch had been working till 1 in the morning and had only had two hours of sleep in the run up to the launch.

4. Air France AF447

In 2009 an Air France plane flying from Brazil to France crashed claiming the lives of all 228 people on board. When the crash was investigated, the in flight recorder revealed that the pilot admitted that he had slept for only an hour the previous night. Unfortunately this isn't an isolated incident with up to 1 in 5 pilots admitting that they were sleep deprived.

3. Exxon Valdez Oil Spill

One of the worst oil spills ever, the Exxon Valdez ran aground in Alaska in 1989. The disaster resulted in billions worth of damage to the environment, countless wild animals killed and more than a quarter of a million barrels of oil leaking into the environment. After investigations it turned out that not only had one of the mates been asleep during the accident, but that many of the crew had been working up to 22 hour shifts.

2. Three Mile Island

Sleep deprivation is thought to be behind the worst nuclear incident in the USA. According to the incident report shift workers were too tired to notice that the plant had lost coolant leading to overheating. While there was minimal radiation leakage from the plant, it was exceptionally close to a serious incident!

1. Chernobyl

In 1986 the Chernobyl nuclear power plant melted down, more than likely in part due to the 13 hour and more shifts that the engineers had been forced to work.

Chernobyl was the world's most devastating nuclear disaster leaving hundreds suffering from radiation poisoning at the time of the event and many of these dying as a result of it. Decades later with people still suffering from the fallout, it is unlikely that we'll ever truly be able to calculate the number of people who died as a result of the accident.

If you are worried that you are not getting enough sleep, read this blog about sleep deprivation.

photo credit: СмdяСояd via photopin cc

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