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Types of Accidents



Air accidents are by and large of three types; mid-air collisions, forced landings, crash due to technical snags and air-crash in mountainous terrain due to poor visibility. While air accidents can occur at any time and at any place, areas within about 30-40 kms radius of airports are most vulnerable. Experience shows that majority of air accidents occur either during take-off or landing near about major airports where flight paths get congested. In addition, air accidents also take place at remote inaccessible places like forests, hilly and mountainous regions, high seas, etc.


Causes of air accidents are either human failure of pilots, air traffic controllers or technical failures of on board, landing instruments. In rare cases it may also be the result of terrorist activities.

Response Action

In cases where the accident occurs beyond visual contact of the Aerodrome Control Tower, information of such accident is preceded by information of aircraft missing or contact having been lost with the Air Traffic Control. As soon as the aircraft is reported missing beyond its endurance it is presumed to have force landed at a place other than the destination aerodrome or met with an accident. Search and rescue missions are conducted with assistance local administration and military

In case of a mid-air collision or an air crash into mountainous terrain, not much rescue work is possible since most passengers on board would have perished instantaneously. In case of forced landing, some amount of rescue work would still be possible by means of evacuating passengers from the crippled air-craft and moving them to safety. Local inhabitants are generally the first to react in case of such air accidents.



With the old and rich maritime tradition of the country and the increased volume of inland boats and sea fishing, boat capsizing is a distinct possibility. The factors, which contribute to this disaster have been identified as partly due to natural hazards such as cyclones or floods and greater part has been the due to man made causes such as Over loading of the boat, poor quality of equipment in the boat. Poor maintenance and consequent breakdown and of course human error of judgment.

It would be worthwhile considering that for speedy reaction to a boat capsizing situation a rescue boat should be available, suitably equipped and should have communication set up with the controlling authorities. Some selected locations should be earmarked for sending the ambulance vehicles and relief stores to the victims. Further the warning messages in case of natural hazards should be disseminated to all the locations from where the boats operate. Periodic inspections and adherence to the safety regulations must be ensured.

Boat accidents can occur at any place where boats operate on National and State Waterways including small rivers and lakes. Boat accidents are found to occur mainly during the flood season, more so during bad weather and also under conditions of impaired visibility. Boats are more vulnerable during large gatherings such as festivals especially during their opening time when people want to reach early before its start or at closing time when there is a rush of people wanting to return home before night fall. Poor visibility at the time have also contributed to boat accidents especially those cases that take place due to collision.

In many cases large number of boats gather during festivals, resulting in inadequate space for maneuvering the boat. Sometimes it may not be possible for authorities concerned to exercise full control on the river boat traffic due to non availability of adequate security staff, logistic and other problems.


Boat accidents occur mainly due to overloading, overcrowding, unruly behaviour, panic amongst passengers and capsizing. Overloading of the boat results in very low freeboard allowing water to enter the boat easily. Flash-floods and strong currents in the river also result in boat accidents, especially in cases where there are no proper communication available with boat operators regarding the weather.

A major cause for boat accidents is lack safety consciousness on the part of crew, which leads to unsafe situations such as overloading, overcrowding, sailing in adverse weather and collision.

The additional factors, which will contribute towards causing the accident, are as follows:

  • Floods in river/canal.
  • Cyclone.
  • Machinery breakdown.
  • Overloading of boat.
  • Poor quality of equipment used onboard.
  • Poor maintenance of machinery and life saving equipment.
  • (g) Human error.

Response Action

In an accident situation, rescue boat passengers, give first aid and rush to nearby hospitals. Belongings of affected persons and the deceased should be taken care of and should be restored to next of kin for which necessary security arrangements must be made.

In present situation it is not possible to provide rescue, relief operations at short notice over the entire area where riverboats operate. It is therefore necessary that administrative authorities concerned should periodically review logistics and other arrangements that may be required for such operations. For this purpose crucial nodal points are local police stations and district administrative authorities. Since both these organizations are generally far away from locations where boats operate the level of information and extent of control are inadequate for rendering effective rescue, relief operations at short notice covering the entire area where riverboats operate.

Number of crew members on the boat as also the number of life saving equipment by way of life jackets, inflatable rafts etc. are mostly grossly inadequate. As such passengers have either to swim ashore on their own, in case they know swimming, or else wait for some form of rescue team to arrive from close by locations within one minute or so. Under these conditions, the only response possible has to be provided by local people living nearby in immediate viscinity of the waterway.



Today the sea is being a key source of food, fresh water, and minerals including oil and natural gas and renewable energy. The rapid industrial growth in recent years and the tremendous increase in human population are generating huge quantities of waste materials to be disposed off from land. Thus, the use of marine environment as a dumping ground of waste material has been constantly on the increase and this has caused pollution of the marine environment. In addition to industrialization and increase in population, urbanization, deforestation, increase in number and size of ships, demand for oil, oily wastes arising from ships, tankers and offshore installation, chemicals and dangerous goods, dumping of nuclear waste and leakage of under water pipelines is a long list being one of the causes of marine pollution in our coastal waters.

Areas having off shore oil installations, under sea pipelines, sea routes traversed by oil tankers, refineries and under ground pipelines for oil transportation are vulnerable to oil spills.


Causes of oil spills are invariably leakage somewhere in the pipeline. Leakage in the pipeline in turn can be due to a variety of reasons such as sub standard pipes, corrosion of metal, pipes having outlived their life, poor maintenance etc. factors that contribute to Oil Spills are

  • Collision at sea: Due to transit of number of tankers in the area to transport oil from oil extraction platforms, the eventuality of tanker collision off the coast resulting in spill and turning into major oil spill catastrophe cannot be ruled out.
  • Oil extraction activities: Defect/malfunctioning of oil extension pipe line/oil spill in the vicinity of oil extraction platform is ever present. The chances of these oilrigs coming under the attack of our enemies during the hostility further enhances the chances of oil spill disaster scenario.
  • Grounding: There have been number of instances where due to Navigational errors number of ships have run aground.
  • Tanker routes pumping out of bilges: Due to various oil tankers transiting, accidental discharge on the oil route can not be ruled out. Number of ships also find it convenient to pump out from bilges in Open Ocean and the bilges mostly contains the oil.
  • Danger of spillage while transferring oil from ship to shore facilities: Danger of oil spillage always loom large when the oil is being transferred from the offshore terminal to the ship and from the ship to shore facilities in various ports.

  1. The pollution from the blow out, collision, stranding and other marine accidents can threaten marine life in the inter-tidal zones, fisheries, sea trends recreational beaches and tourism with subsequent loss of revenue.
  2. Oil spills can occur any where and have no respect for national boundaries. A major spill could affect several areas around the coast and likely adverse affect could be
    1. Decrease in fisheries resources or damage to sea birds and marine mammals.
    2. Hazards to man as a result of ingesting contaminated seafood.
    3. Decrease of aesthetic values due to oiled sea beaches

In the coastal waters, the impact of the oil spill may be on inter-tidal fauna, aquaculture, sea weeds, mangroves etc. In the open sea, the possible adverse effects on biota can be on phyto-plankton, zooplankton, benthos, fishery, birds, mammals etc.

Response Action

Once an oil spill is reported, members of response and base team shall be notified and base control room shall be established by the oil company concerned. Contact numbers of base control room should be reported to all concerned for effective co-ordination. On-scene coordinator who should be a senior level executive trained in oil spill management shall immediately take charge of base control room after reporting of spill.

Immediately after the spill, an assessment of quantity of spilled oil shall be carried out observing any one or more of various methods available such as :

  • Visual observation.
  • Arial surveys.
  • Use of imaging techniques.
  • Oil spill mapping.



Railway is the life line of any country particularly amongst the developing countries where infrastructure developments are accorded high priority to boost the nations wealth.

The success of any transport organization is gauged by the parameters such as punctuality, reliability, safety, frequency and adaptability.

The safety of railway operations is becoming all the more imperative in view of the railway endeavor to lift more passengers and freight traffic. Accordingly, high priority is being given to various safety measures to ensure greater safety in rail travel and transportation of goods.

In the course of the working, the railways are confronted with disasters arising out of cyclone, floods, fires, bomb blasts and accidents etc., involving trains.

While a railway accident can occur at any stretch of railway track, experience has shown that portion of railway track having double line sections are particularly vulnerable to serious rail accidents.


Causes in most cases are human failure. Factors that contribute to Rail accidents are:

  • Breaches of tanks due to heavy rains
  • Cyclone/flash floods
  • Human failures
  • Equipment failures
  • Heavy rains leading to washing away of the track / collapse of bridges
  • Land slides
  • Breach of rules on unmanned railway level crossing
  • Sabotage
  • Tampering with track

Consequence of accident related disasters

  • Loss of life and injuries
  • Damages to railway/ other property
  • Disruption to traffic



Highway and Expressways are particularly vulnerable to serious road accidents since it on these stretches that high speed accidents occur. Apart from these, roads in hilly sections are also vulnerable to road accidents.

The problem of Road Traffic Accident has assumed alarming proposition with ever increasing number of motor vehicles competing for the limit paved space. The resultant congestion in traffic is inevitable. The consequences of congestion are road accident. Since the accident factors relate to human as well as physical and technical components of the mobility system they have to be managed, as they cannot be totally avoided. It is observed that loss of life and injuries in road accidents are high in developing countries as compared to the developed countries. It is interesting to note that while there is a reduction of deaths due to road accidents in the developed countries the picture emerging from the developing countries shows an abnormal increase. Road safety, as a problem, has been analysed in many different ways. Prominent amongst them are the four basic elements; 1) Machine Factor, 2) Human Factor, 3) Engineering Factor and 4) Environment Factor.


Causes in most cases are human failures and in a few rare cases these are caused by technical failures such as failure of brakes etc. Road accidents also occur under conditions of impaired visibility, slippery road surface etc.

Response Action

In case of road accidents involving passenger carrying vehicles :

  • Inform the nearest traffic police/Highway Patrol
  • Look for and rescue the injured or those trapped in vehicles.
  • Arrange for transport of the injured to the nearest medical center.
  • Place dead bodies on one side to avoid obstructions.
  • Traffic control should be organized locally using available manpower to avoid traffic jams.
  • Discourage people from crowding near the accident spot.
  • Prevent people from looting goods from the accident involved vehicle.

In case of road accidents involving Hazardous and Toxic Chemicals especially petrol tankers etc.

  • Inform the nearest traffic police, fire brigade through passing vehicles.
  • Do not go anywhere near the accident spot unless the hazardous and toxic chemicals are properly understood and discourage others also since contents may explode or catch fire.
  • Prevent people at the accident site from lighting matches for cigarettes etc.
  • Discourage people from collecting spills from the accident vehicle, as the chemicals might be deceptive and lead to toxic exposure or explosions.
  • Identify the wind direction and move in the opposite direction.
  • Do not allow any traffic congestion near the accident spot. Stop traffic at a sufficient distance (at least half a kilometre) from the accident spot in all directions till the nature of chemicals is properly understood.
  • Chemical accidents may generate a demand for treatment for burns and exposure to poisonous substances, which may mean a specialized service not generally available along highways.

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