red sludge Hungary

Which one was the biggest plane crash, boat crash, railway disaster and industrial accident in Hungary? And do we know today the causes or are there details which have not been cleared even until now? Check the below article for the details.

The biggest plane crash

It happened on 6 August 1961 that a MALÉV HA-TSA plane crashed into a building in Zugló, 14th district of Budapest. The horrific impact caused the death of all the staff (4) and passengers (23) travelling on the plane and three bicycle-repairing youngsters on the yard of the building. They were hit by the tail of the aircraft which broke off after the hit. According to what we know, the crash

happened because of human error:

there were too many passengers on board. Furthermore, apart from the pilots, there were some additional people in the cockpit for which the plane became down by head causing serious problems while doing manoeuvres over the city.

biggest catastrophes Hungary
The yard of the building after the crash.

In fact, though press controlled by the communist party wrote very little about the issue, people were shocked by the crash resulting in a steep shrink of sightseeing plane tours. Many legends took wind because of the crash. For example, many stated that the accident was caused by the low-quality Soviet engines of the plane, but Communist propaganda wanted to protect Moscow; therefore they blamed the pilots. However, the aircraft was made in the United States, and it was captured and confiscated in 1951 after violating Hungarian and Romanian airspace.

The biggest industrial accident

It is widely regarded to have been the Ajka alumina sludge spill on 4 October 2010 in Ajka, Veszprém County, in Western-Hungary. The accident happened when

the dam of a caustic waste reservoir collapsed,

freeing approximately 1 million cubic metres of liquid waste from red mud lakes. The mud flooded nearby settlements Kolontár and Devecser and caused the death of 10 people while 150 people were injured. The spill affected 40 square kilometres (15 sq mi) of land and reached even the Danube.

biggest catastrophy Hungary
The two affected settlements and the reservoir. Photo: commons.wikimedia.org, Jesse Allen – NASA Earth Observatory

As we reported before, a court has found ten people guilty in a retrial of the disaster. In the Győr court’s non-final ruling, eight were sentenced to prison, six of them receiving suspended terms.

The biggest Hungarian boat crash which was a secret for decades

23 people including children died in the biggest boat crash in Hungary which happened on 30 May 1954 when a steam-powered passenger ship, Pajtás, capsized in Lake Balaton. Since it was children’s day, many passengers on board were children. According to reminiscences, the problems started when everybody wanted to see the sailing competition starting in Tihany, so too many people huddled together on one side of the ship. As a result, the ship began to tilt, which caused panic among the passengers who rushed immediately to the other side, causing an even bigger lurch, and finally,

the ship turned upside down.

Fortunately, the steam was emergency released by the boiler room operator, Gyula Vámosi, which cost him his life but prevented many casualties by the explosion of the boiler. Communist state authorities immediately blocked all communication and baulked investigation. Press was not allowed to report the exact number of dead and injured while eye-witnesses were forbidden to say anything about what happened. Today we already know that

23 people died in the accident

including a 7-year-old child while the number of injured reached 56. Today, it is still not known what exactly caused the accident, but experts agree that when the ship’s capacity was expanded from 150 to 200, nobody paid attention to its stability.

biggest catastrophes Hungary
Monument on the Tagore promenade in Balatonfüred commemorating the victims of the accident. Photo: commons.wikimedia.org, Zugló Sipos

The deadliest train accident

It happened at the Herceghalom (Pest county) railway station when on 1 December 1916 at 00:24 an express train ran into a shunting passenger train with a speed of 76 km/h (47 mph). In fact, on 30 November 1916 was the funeral of Emperor Franz Joseph I who was also King of Hungary on which many mourners took part from Hungary. They wanted to return home the next day; however, the station master

miscalculated the arrival time of their delayed express train from Vienna to Budapest

and this is why the deadly collision happened.

biggest catastrophes Hungary
A photo of the collided trains. Photo: commons.wikimedia.org

69 people died in the accident, seven carriages of the passenger train, one saloon car and one first-class passenger car of the express train were destroyed entirely.

Photos: commons.wikimedia.org, limanova.blog.hu

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