The Five Worst Accidents in Boston History

Boston is a city with a rich history that dates back to beyond the American Revolution. With a timeline like that, it’s no surprise that the capital has had its fair share of disasters. From train wrecks and plane crashes to some odd catastrophes in between, the city has seen its fair share of accidents with some tragic results. Here are five of the worst in Boston’s history:

1. Flight 723. On July 31, 1973, Flight 723 was trying to land in the fog at Logan Airport. While on approach, the plane hit the seawall while landing, killing 88 people aboard the Delta Airlines DC-9. The lone survivor died months later in the hospital. Luckily, without knowing of the crash, the two flights that were supposed to land in Logan after Flight 723 abandoned their approaches to land in Providence, RI.

2. The Molasses Flood. One of history’s oddest disasters happened when a tank exploded, causing a flood of molasses and debris to sweep down Commercial Street, killing 21 people. The tank holding the molasses was stretched beyond capacity and burst because of poor adherence to safety precautions. The metal was too thin to hold the 2.3 million gallons of molasses, and repeated stress pushed it to its breaking point. While the deaths were tragic, the flood did lead to improved engineering safety standards in Boston.

3. Summer Street Bridge Disaster. In 1916, there were no rules requiring streetcars to stop at drawbridges. On the night of November 7th, a streetcar loaded with passengers tore through the Summer Street drawbridge gate and fell into the Fort Point Channel. 47 people were killed. The cause of the accident was operator error, as he didn’t come to a halt before the bridge.

4. Bussey Bridge Collapse. As passengers rode in railroad cars across the Bussey Bridge, one end of the bridge started to collapse because of poor design. The last car of the train was dropped into the embankment, followed by most of the subsequent coaches. 37 people were killed, and many others were seriously injured.

5. Cocoanut Grove Fire. As people danced a night away at a night club, a busboy lit a match in the basement while replacing a light bulb. Within ten minutes, the building was engulfed in flames. 492 people perished in the Cocoanut Grove Night Club as it burned. There were flammable decorations in the building, and it was full beyond capacity. Most of the doors were bricked or bolted up because it was originally a speakeasy. Half of the people in the building died that night, but fire safety standards were improved in response to this tragedy.

Celebrating Boston’s history includes acknowledging tragedies like these that occurred along the way. As heartbreaking as the loss of life was for the city, fortunately many of these incidents led to improved safety standards in the future. Nevertheless, accidents do happen. If you or someone you love has been involved in a tragic accident, there are legal options available to you, so be sure to contact an experienced legal team and explore your options.

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