Seconds from Disaster

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – Monday 24 December, 10.30pm

In the midst of the Falklands War, a low level bomb attack from Argentinian jets capsizes the HMS Coventry within 20 minutes – why did the ship fall so quickly?

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – Monday 17 December, 10.30pm

The use of the atomic bombs in World War II still excites controversy, particularly the necessity for the second bomb on Nagasaki. Could the war have been ended another way?

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – Monday 10 December, 10.30pm

A commuter train is leaving one of Paris’s busiest train stations when a runaway train slams into it, killing 56 people in France’s worst train crash.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – Monday 3 December, 10.30pm

When a Boeing 747 crashes into a remote mountain-side resulting in the deadliest single-aircraft accident in aviation history, investigators are baffled… until a devastating truth is revealed.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – Monday 16 July, 7.30pm

A lone gunman emerges from a west Norwegian suburb to set an explosion in Oslo and slaughter dozens of teenagers at a youth camp in 2011. In the bloody aftermath, officials must determine how and why this man caused one of the worst atrocities in recent European history.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – Monday 30 April, 8.30pm

The Deepwater Horizon rig finishes drilling the Macondo Well for BP in the Gulf of Mexico. The well, in water 1,500 metres deep, extends to a depth of 4,000 metres. The crew test the well to ensure it is safely sealed so the Deepwater Horizon rig can move on before another rig starts oil extraction. But just hours after passing its safety test, flammable gas and crude oil shoot out of the well, enveloping the rig in flames and killing 11 workers. What decisions and failings led to the world’s biggest accidental marine oil spill?

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – Monday 23 April, 8.30pm

On February 28, 1993 the US Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms raids a compound belonging to a religious cult called the Branch Davidians. A gunfight breaks out that leaves six Branch Davidians and four ATF agents dead. The FBI arrives to take control but the situation escalates into one of America’s longest sieges. After a fifty-one day standoff, the FBI launches a dawn assault. Using military tanks they inject tear gas through the walls and windows in an attempt to force the Branch Davidians out. Besieged cult members refuse to surrender and a disastrous fire engulfs their compound in less than twenty minutes. Nearly 80 people, including twenty-eight children, were killed during the fire. Were the Branch Davidians led to their deaths by charismatic cult leader David Koresh? Or killed by murderous Federal agents?

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – Monday 16 April, 8.30pm

In 1960, construction of Europe’s tallest dam is completed in Northern Italy – the jewel in the crown of an ambitious hydro-electric generation scheme. But as the new reservoir fills, a vast section of mountainside is dislodged and creeps toward the lake. The power company knows the landslide has the potential to cause a devastating tsunami if it hits the water at speed, so they develop a plan to ease the landslide down by adjusting the level of the lake. For three years there are no problems, but in October 1963, the landslide suddenly accelerates – and slams into the reservoir as fast as a formula one car. A 200 metre high tsunami overtops the dam and swamps the valley below killing more than 2,000 people. Count down the systematic errors that led to tragedy and unlock the landslide mechanism that has intrigued scientists for half a century.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – Monday 9 April, 9.30pm

The Royal Navy’s battle with Bismarck proved to be a pivotal point in WWII – if Bismarck had succeeded in attacking the British convoy system it’s likely Britain would have been forced to surrender, leaving no bridgehead for an Anglo-American liberation of Europe. In losing Bismarck, the Germans lost their opportunity to defeat Britain and turn the tide of war. Naval historian Andrew Lambert reveals the reason for Bismarck’s fate and the errors that impacted both sides.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – Monday 2 April, 8.30pm

For the 45 schoolchildren who boarded the Bashkirian Airlines flight from Moscow to Barcelona it was going to be the trip of a lifetime, a reward for their academic success. But more than two and a half hours into the flight their plane collided with a Boeing 757 cargo plane, sending all aboard to a horrifying death. With both aircraft equipped with collision avoidance systems and being monitored by Zurich’s flight control centre, how was it possible for such an accident to occur? Count down to the moment of impact and the perfect storm of failures leading to a tragedy that continued to claim lives many years later.