Disasters from the past due to lack of sleep

Anyone who has had to go to work after a sleepless night knows that there is no more challenging challenge for a sleepy person than trying to focus on an important subject. Bloodshot eyes cannot notice details, a stressed brain is looking for the easiest way or refuses to obey orders at all, and the body only dreams of assuming a horizontal position. This situation may even be a little comical, especially for office workers, but when it comes to responsible professions, there is no time for jokes. Cases when people's lives became the price to be paid for fatigue are far from isolated. We found 10 catastrophes of the recent past that occurred due to banal fatigue.

Exxon Valdez ship wreck

When the tanker Exxon Valdez ran aground off the coast of Alaska in 1989, it caused the second largest oil spill in history. Everything happened due to the fact that before sending on the flight, the management of the transport company decided to cut the staff. Those who stayed had to work a 14-hour shift. One of the captain's mates fell asleep at the workplace and did not report the sailing data on time. As a result, 11, 000, 000 gallons of oil ended up in the open ocean.


Chernobyl became the worst nuclear disaster in history. The explosion in the reactor of the power plant caused technical problems, but the researchers of the tragedy argue that it could have been avoided if the plant personnel had taken measures in time. But it was on the day of the disaster that the in-house engineers worked 13 hours or more and simply did not pay attention to the rising temperature in the reactor.

Three Mile Island

The Three Mile Island nuclear accident was one of the most devastating disasters in North America. The reactor core began to melt at 4 am on March 28, 1979, followed by a leak and explosion. The study showed that all the attendants were asleep at the time of the accident and could not take appropriate safety measures.

Shuttle Challenger crash

The world watched excitedly as the Challenger shuttle lifted off from Cape Canaveral in January 1986. But after a few seconds, joy was replaced by horror - the shuttle exploded in the air, not having time to leave the Earth's atmosphere. All seven crew members were killed in the explosion. And although the accident was recognized by specialists as a consequence of technical flaws, the launch managers worked overtime that day, as did the technicians at the start. Who knows, if they had had enough sleep and were attentive, the disaster could have been avoided.

American Airlines Flight 1420

On June 1, 1999, American Airlines Flight 1420 departed off the runway at Little Rock. As a result of the accident, 11 people were killed and 105 were injured of varying severity. An investigation by the Aviation Safety Committee concluded that the accident was a result of "fatigue-induced impairment in pilot performance."

Crash on the Canadian National Railroad

Two Canadian freight trains crashed into each other on November 15, 2001, spilling 3, 000 liters of diesel. Two crew members on one of the freight trains suffered from sleep apnea, which caused chronic insomnia. Following an investigation, Canada's National Transportation Safety Board introduced mandatory screening for drivers and assistants for sleep disorders.

Air France Flight 447

All 228 people aboard Air France Flight 447 were killed in the crash over the Atlantic Ocean on May 31, 2009. The official report of the crash investigation suggests that the pilot, Marc Dubois, slept only an hour the night before. The moment the plane collided with a tropical storm, the pilot was asleep.

Subway train wreck at Spuyten Duyvil station

The subway train driver fell asleep and stopped at the station at the wrong time. As a result of the uncontrolled acceleration, the train derailed. 4 people were killed and 61 were injured. Later it was found out that the driver suffered from sleep apnea and insomnia.

Train wreck at Salby

The largest train disaster occurred in the UK on 28 February 2001. The high-speed train derailed near the town of Salby due to the fact that the asleep driver did not brake on the slope.

Sleep behind the wheel

Statistics say that about a hundred thousand accidents occur annually due to sleep while driving, 20% of which are fatal.