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National Geographic
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  • ULTIMATE DISASTER

DESCRIPTION

Using archive footage, computer animation and expert interviews, the characteristics of natural disasters are analysed.

Tornadoes are spectacular to watch, but their destructive power is immense. Visit laboratories at the cutting edge of tornado science to see what is behind them.

Volcanic eruptions are dramatic reminders that our world is a living planet. Can a mega-eruption change the world as we know it?

One of the most unpredictable and destructive forces in nature, an earthquake can transform a busy city into a scene of devastation and chaos in a few earth-shattering seconds.

Combining huge mass and terrifying velocity, Tsunamis are giant waves that can cross entire oceans, unleashing their destructive energy on coasts thousands of kilometres from their source.

Some of the world’s leading experts on each natural phenomenon provide analysis and insight into how planet Earth’s titanic upheavals can result in death and destruction. See people who have stared these ultimate disasters in the eye and live to tell the tale. Using archive footage, computer animation, and expert interviews, the killer characteristics of natural disasters are exposed.

EPISODE GUIDE

  • Ultimate Disaster: IC 814 Air Hijack
    Indian Airlines Flight IC 814 takes off from Kathmandu on its way to New Delhi, India. En route the flight is hijacked by five masked men who have managed to smuggle onboard, guns, knives and grenades.
  • Ultimate Disaster: Mauled By the Lions
    It's feeding time at the Wellington Zoo in New Zealand. Robert Bennett, who usually tends to the camels and giraffes, decides to help out with the lions because of a staff shortage that day. He enters the cage and places the meat at the lions' feeding spot. But in a split second, this routine feeding ritual goes horribly wrong. Two young male lions appear right behind him and leap onto him, dragging Robert down. The lions attack with their paws and jaws, hooking their teeth into Robert's neck. Robert is rushed to the hospital. Despite the injuries, Robert survives with no major damage. An experienced trainer re-enacts the scenario using dummies to better understand what actually triggered the attack. And we'll examine a predator's attack method: biting the neck and head of prey first to kill instantly. So why did Robert survive? Could the lions have been playing instead of hunting?
  • Ultimate Disaster: Crushed by an SUV
    Dayton, Ohio. May 23rd, 2004. It starts as a typical spring day for Dayton resident Scott Tegtmeyer who is strolling toward downtown. Suddenly, a horrific scene unfolds. Two drivers collide in an intersection sending one vehicle flying right towards Scott. With no time to escape, Scott becomes the human target of a three thousand pound airborne SUV and gets crushed to the ground. Witnesses are convinced the devastating impact cost his life. The entire terrifying scene is caught on tape by a red light enforcement camera. The video leaves no doubt; any survival would be against all odds. With a team of crash experts and scientists, we apply the most sophisticated tools to answer the question: How could any person survive that? We investigate the most jaw dropping crash survivals that were caught on tape from around the world; recreating lethal scenarios in full scale crash tests and use cutting edge technology to determine how Scott Tegtmeyer survived.
  • Ultimate Disaster: Tsunami
    The island of La Palma, off the northwest coast of Africa, is the picture of tranquility. La Palma's beauty however belies a hidden danger -- a secret threat that two scientists suspect could forever change the world. Investigators Simon Day and Steven Ward believe that the island of La Palma may someday trigger a tsunami the likes of which no human has ever seen - a mega-tsunami. It's a controversial theory, but Day and Ward stand by their research. Follow them as they gather evidence to support their case on the island of La Palma - from caves harboring cryptic clues to dramatic craters and computer models. According to their research, under the worst-case scenario, a massive chunk of La Palma could break free and plunge into the sea-spawning waves that could rip across the Atlantic at staggering speeds and destroy coasts from Canada through the United States, the Caribbean and all the way down to Brazil.
  • Ultimate Disaster: The Indestructibles- Mauled by the Lions
    It's feeding time at the Wellington Zoo in New Zealand. Robert Bennett, who usually tends to the camels and giraffes, decides to help out with the lions because of a staff shortage that day. He enters the cage and places the meat at the lions' feeding spot. But in a split second, this routine feeding ritual goes horribly wrong. Two young male lions appear right behind him and leap onto him, dragging Robert down. The lions attack with their paws and jaws, hooking their teeth into Robert's neck. Robert is rushed to the hospital. Despite the injuries, Robert survives with no major damage. An experienced trainer re-enacts the scenario using dummies to better understand what actually triggered the attack. And we'll examine a predator's attack method: biting the neck and head of prey first to kill instantly. So why did Robert survive? Could the lions have been playing instead of hunting?
  • Ultimate Disaster: The Indestructibles- Crushed by an SUV
    Dayton, Ohio. May 23rd, 2004. It starts as a typical spring day for Dayton resident Scott Tegtmeyer who is strolling toward downtown. Suddenly, a horrific scene unfolds. Two drivers collide in an intersection sending one vehicle flying right towards Scott. With no time to escape, Scott becomes the human target of a three thousand pound airborne SUV and gets crushed to the ground. Witnesses are convinced the devastating impact cost his life. The entire terrifying scene is caught on tape by a red light enforcement camera. The video leaves no doubt; any survival would be against all odds. With a team of crash experts and scientists, we apply the most sophisticated tools to answer the question: How could any person survive that? We investigate the most jaw dropping crash survivals that were caught on tape from around the world; recreating lethal scenarios in full scale crash tests and use cutting edge technology to determine how Scott Tegtmeyer survived.
  • Ultimate Disaster: Earthquake
    We've all heard the warning: it's only a matter of time before a devastating earthquake hits a major American city and wipes it off the map. Scientists now believe that day could be sooner than we thought. And it's not Los Angeles or San Francisco that's in danger. But Seattle, Washington, the crown jewel of a region called Cascadia in America's Pacific Northwest. Scientists fear Cascadia could suffer a catastrophe of global proportions: a megathrust earthquake. It is the largest earthquake the planet can create. A megathrust near Indonesia in 2004 triggered a tsunami that killed more than a quarter million people. What is Cascadia doing to prepare? And what will happen when the mega-thrust strikes?
  • Ultimate Disaster: Mount St.Helen Eruption
  • Ultimate Disaster: Titanic
  • Ultimate Disaster: Asian Tsunami
  • Ultimate Disaster: Mumbai Massacre
  • Ultimate Disaster: Drug Deal Revenge
  • Ultimate Disaster: Mount St. Helen Eruption
  • Ultimate Disaster: 9\11
  • Ultimate Disaster: Mount St Helen Eruption
  • Ultimate Disaster: The Plane That Flew Too High
    West Caribbean Airways Flight #708 McDonnell Douglas DC-9-82 (MD-82) August 16th, 2005 - Hours behind schedule, West Caribbean Airways Flight #708 finally takes off from Panama City en route to Martinique. The aircraft flies toward weather so severe that the pilots must divert to avoid it. In addition to the turbulence, the pilots have another problem; their engines are not providing enough thrust. To solve this issue the pilots drop down to a lower altitude, but before they can reach it a Stall Warning fills the cockpit. The plane is flying too slowly to remain airborne. Before the pilots can figure out what has caused the problem, the aircraft drops from the sky and crashes on a remote Venezuelan farm. By far the worst aviation disaster in the country's history, a small team of Venezuelan investigators must now determine what brought down one of the safest airplanes in the world.
  • Ultimate Disaster: Split Decision
    Arrow Air Flight #1285 DC-8 December 12th, 1985 - After a six-month peace-keeping mission in the Middle East, 248 elite American soldiers are on their way home for the holidays. Destined for Fort Campbell, Kentucky, they are travelling on Arrow Air Flight #1285, a charter air carrier contracted by the military to transport troops. En route from Cairo, the DC-8 eventually touches down for a routine refueling stop in Gander, Newfoundland. But just seconds after taking off again for the last leg of its journey, the plane loses airspeed and altitude and crashes into a heavily wooded area just south of the runway. An unprecedented disaster, it is one of the deadliest aviation accidents of all time and the resulting investigation ignites a storm of controversy that continues to this day.
  • Ultimate Disaster: Disaster Runway
    TAM Airlines Flight #3054 Airbus A320 July 17th, 2007 - TAM Airlines Flight #3054 is on its final approach to Sao Paulo's notorious Congonhas Airport. Runway 35-L at Congonhas is one of the most treacherous in the world. It's built on a hilltop, surrounded by tall buildings. The crew of Flight #3054 gets a report that the runway is wet and slippery. Captain Henrique Stephanini brings his Airbus A-320 down at the foot of the 1,945 meter long runway, activates the one working thrust reverser and applies the brakes, but his plane doesn't slow down. It hurtles down the runway at top speed, crosses a highway and slams into a building and adjacent gas station. No one on the plane survives. 12 people on the ground are also killed. This is the worst aviation disaster in South American history. Investigators are under enormous pressure to figure out what went wrong on one of Brazil's busiest runways, before it claims any more lives.
  • Ultimate Disaster: Silent Killer
    September 8, 1989 - On a charter trip from Oslo to Hamburg, Partnair Flight 94 is cruising at 22,000 feet -- when it suddenly begins diving toward the sea. The aging propeller plane crashes into the water. All 55 people on board are killed. It is the biggest airline disaster in Norwegian history. As investigators piece together what happened, they uncover a problem so serious, it sends shock waves through the industry. How had a single bolt caused the plane to fall out of the sky? And why is it a potential problem for every passenger plane in the world?
  • Ultimate Disaster: Crash Course
    November 12th, 1996 - Shortly after take off from New Delhi, Saudi Airways Flight 763 levels off at 14,000 feet. As the crew waits for clearance to climb to their cruising altitude, the plane is hit by a Kazakhstan Airlines jet. The collision cripples both planes. They spiral violently to the ground, killing all 349 people on board. It's the worst mid-air collision in the history of aviation. The two wreckage fields are five miles apart. As investigators comb through the charred debris for evidence, they try and answer troubling questions: Why did the two planes collide? Who's responsible? And can they stop it before it happens again?
  • Ultimate Disaster: Prisoner of Love
    British man David Scott couldn't have been happier when he met Cynthia, a pretty Filipino woman, on the internet. After a holiday together in the Philippines he's delighted when she becomes pregnant but their joy turns to despair when Cynthia's estranged husband starts making trouble. Under the Philippines' adultery laws he has them thrown in jail and the couple face up to 14 years in prison. Worse still, they discover under that their baby legally belongs to her ex-husband and it's up to him what he wants to do with her. With time and money running out they decide to go on the run and escape to Thailand. It's a risky plan. Cynthia is jumping bail and if she's caught will be in even more trouble. When David is stopped at customs they think the game is up but it turns out to be a problem with his visa and once they've paid the excess fee, they are able to fly to safety. Finally, after a months-long ordeal, David Scott arrives back home in Swindon with his baby girl, Janina, and his soulmate, Cynthia.
  • Ultimate Disaster: Mexico Money machine
    When Jeremy Khinoo loses his girlfriend and daughter, he escapes into a world where the size of your muscles means everything and steroids are a way to get there. With a group of guys from the gym, he goes to Mexico to buy illegal prescription drugs - and he pays for them with money he's made himself. The first two times, he gets away with it. But on his third trip, he gets caught spending his fake cash in a roadside store: a car chase ends with a police roadblock, and the drugs and counterfeit cash land him in jail. He's soon addicted to heroin, and before he's released, gets stabbed by another drug addict. Jeremy doesn't just lose his liberty-he nearly loses his life.
  • Ultimate Disaster: Saudi Whisky Run
    Scottish chef Gordon Malloch arrives in Saudi Arabia to start a new life as a catering manager but quickly finds himself a profitable sideline as a bootlegger. His homemade hooch makes him the toast of the ex-pat party scene - and when some fellow Europeans offer him a role in a whiskey smuggling operation he jumps at it. Demand for premium quality whiskey in the strictly teetotal Saudi Arabian kingdom brings Gordon to the attention of the ruling elite and Gordon is soon supplying a local prince and various members of his extended family. After a near fatal car crash in the desert Gordon decides to quit while he is ahead, and he plans one last job before coming home to Britain. But when he is caught red-handed, he is sentenced by the religious police to nearly four years in prison and over 400 lashes.
  • Ultimate Disaster: Alive in the Andes
    A plane crashed into the Andes Mountains. Rescue came 72 days later; learn how 16 out of the 32 survivors cope up with the harsh temperatures.
  • Ultimate Disaster: Drug dealer revenge
    Loving father Robert Pringle is a successful Cape Town company director struggling to cope with a sudden corporate expansion. Exhausted, he begins using cocaine, and when his ex-wife leaves with his son to begin a new life in the Middle East, he spirals into addiction. After losing everything, Pringle goes to rehab, and emerges clean, but penniless and is introduced to a drug smuggler, who persuades him to bring a package of cocaine back from South America for $6,000. Pringle goes to Peru and is duly given a package to put in his suitcase. But he panics, and en route to Lima airport, dumps the drugs by the roadside. When he returns to South Africa empty-handed, the dealer threatens to have his kidneys removed for $50,000 or he will take revenge on Pringle's family. The only other option is for Pringle will return to Peru and bring back the drugs. He reluctantly agrees, but this time he is set up. Forced to wear a ridiculous waistcoat obviously loaded with drugs, he is arrested at Lima Airport, and sentenced to spend seven years in a violent prison.
  • Ultimate Disaster: Kidnapped in Iraq
    September 7, 2004: US forces are about to attack Tal Afar in North West Iraq. Journalists Scott Taylor and Zeynep Tugrul rush to the remote city to report from the frontline. But they are kidnapped by insurgents who think they're American spies. From then on their lives hang in the balance as the American military pound the City and the journalist face execution and torture and witness scenes few westerners have ever survived.
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