World History The Worst Car Crashes In History  

Eric Vega
3.8k views 14 items

Automobile accidents are one of the biggest killers in America, and worldwide there are millions of car crash casualties every year. While more advanced safety features increase the likelihood of survival during impact, no one is completely immune to the dangers of the road. Deaths can be caused via injuries accrued in the accident, but crashes that result in explosions often lead to victims burning to death. The damage a single person can do behind the wheel of a car can be catastrophic, and the worst car crashes in history show us just how bad we can screw up. 

Around the world, car crashes occur each year. Oftentimes, accidents are minor, but often people are killed in particularly nasty crashes. While fatal car crashes are common, the deadliest car accidents in history are much more than your average fender bender. They involve deadly explosions, treacherous driving conditions, and a run of bad luck that would put any gambler out of business. This list will expose the horrifying realities of history's deadliest auto accidents, and hopefully shine a light on the dangers of gas siphoning. 

1982 Salang Tunnel Fire is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Worst Car Crashes In History
Photo:  Michal Vogt/WikiMedia Commons/CC BY-SA 2.0

1982 Salang Tunnel Fire

Date: November 3, 1982

Location: Salang Pass, Hindu Kush, Afghanistan

Deaths: 2,700 (estimated) 

An explosion in the Salang Tunnel, a vital connection between northern and southern Afghanistan, left 700 Soviet soldiers and some 2,000 Afghanis dead. The explosion resulted in a fire that consumed all vehicles in the tunnels. Fire, smoke, and carbon monoxide worked in tandem to kill the tunnel's occupants. Some cars, unaware of the explosion, continued to enter the tunnel while the chaos was still occurring. Sources are still unclear whether or not this was an accident or an attack by Afghanistan's Mujahideen. Fearing an attack, Soviet soldiers blocked off the entrances to the tunnel with tanks. The blockade was responsible for further deaths. 

2010 Sange Road Tanker Explosi... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Worst Car Crashes In History
Photo: Bwami/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0

2010 Sange Road Tanker Explosion

Date: July 2, 2010

Location: Sange, South Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Deaths: 230 (estimate) 

During a World Cup match, a tragedy occurred in the village of Sange in the Dominican Republic of Congo. A fuel truck overturned and exploded on a road near the village and sent a fireball tearing through the town. Hundreds of people who had gathered to watch the World Cup died in the disaster. The United Nations sent helicopters to air lift survivors out of the village. Many bodies were never identified as they were charred beyond recognition, so the precise number of victims was never determined. It is believed over 230 people died, however. 

Details are sparse as to the exact causes of the explosion, but reports indicate that the truck had tipped over after driving over crumbling terrain due to poor road conditions. The fuel tank had sprung a leak and eventually ignited. 

2017 Bahawalpur Explosion is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Worst Car Crashes In History
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2017 Bahawalpur Explosion

Date: June 25, 2017

Location: Bahawalpur, Pakistan

Deaths: 219

An overturned oil tanker became the site of mass destruction after an explosion killed hundreds of people. The accident occurred in Pakistan's Bahawalpur District when the truck's driver attempted to make a sharp turn at high speeds. The driver was killed in the initial accident, but many of those killed were local residents drawn to the scene by the prospect of siphoning gas from the overturned vehicle. Reports indicate that someone on the scene had lit a cigarette just prior to the fire's ignition. The tanker was carrying roughly 40,000 liters of fuel at the time of the explosion. 

1978 Los Alfaques Disaster is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Worst Car Crashes In History
Photo: order_242/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 2.0

1978 Los Alfaques Disaster

Date: July 11, 1978

Location: Tarragona, Spain

Deaths: 217

A tanker truck caused hundreds of deaths after it crashed into a ditch near a campsite in the Catalan city of Tarragona. It is unclear as to why the truck crashed, but the ignition of the truck's propane supply created a cloud of gas, which led to a massive explosion. More than 200 did not survive, either dying on site or succumbing to their wounds. Rescue operations and emergency services were not equipped to deal with the level of destruction, and it took hours for all the survivors to be treated for their wounds.