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Aired on Jul 15, 2008
Since commercial aviation began, the romance of air travel has been marred by the tragedy of crashes. Today the sky above is safer than ever before--but the ground below has become more perilous. That was tragically proven in March, 1977, on Tenerife, part of the Canary Island chain, where 583 people were killed when two Boeing 747s collided at Los Rodeos Airport. It was the world's--and history's--worst aviation disaster. Though decades have passed, root causes for the tragedy at Tenerife remain with us today. The problem is called "runway incursions," meaning any incorrect presence of aircraft, vehicles or persons on an airfield. For the last decade, the U.S. has seen roughly 300 incursions per year. Most are not serious, but some have been very near misses--and others have taken lives. Unless significant changes continue to be made in airport infrastructure, aviation technology, and professional training, any American airport could be the site of the next tragedy.
Aired on Jun 03, 2008
Modern dams are marvels of engineering but after decades of neglect the U.S. infrastructure is in crisis and by 2020, 85% of U.S. dams may be near their breaking point. When the South Fork Dam near Johnstown, PA gave way in a storm in 1889, killing 2200 people, it was the worst disaster in U.S. history. Today, with millions of Americans living nearby massive dams, the result of a failure could be catastrophic.
Aired on May 20, 2008
In 6,000 B.C., 8,000 years before the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, waves taller than the Statue of Liberty ravaged the coasts of the Mediterranean Sea, devastating ancient villages and killing untold numbers. Watch as a team of scientist's piece together evidence of this mega storm and reveal the face of this ancient tsunami for the first time. 3-D computer generated animation recreates the massive waves that may have changed the course of history.
Aired on May 06, 2008
65 million years ago a massive asteroid crashed into Mexico's Yucatan peninsula. 75% of all life on earth vanished; but could a single asteroid have been the lone killer? Theories about what happened after the impact have been speculated on by the entire scientific community. Ranging from global warming to lethal worldwide firestorms, ideas have been put forth--but none have been proven. Then in 1995 a new theory claimed that a powerful mega storm known as a Hypercane caused the extinction. The Hypercane allegedly reaches 20 miles into the stratosphere and has wind speeds of up to 700 miles per hour. 3-D computer animations will reveal how this storm could have brought down nearly all life on the planet.