The Tangiwai Disaster

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by shsglog8
Last updated 6 years ago

Social Studies
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The Tangiwai Disaster

At 10:25pm on christmas eve 1953 the wellington-auckland night express plunged into the Whangaehu River 10 km west of Waiōuru Of the 285 passengers and crew on board, 151 died New Zealand’s population at two million, many people knew someone involved in the tragedy.

The Tangiwai Disaster


The people who died in the fatal incedent in their coffins

The Tangiwai DisasterBreaking News

The Tangiwai Disaster

Rows of dead people

The cause was lahar from Mt Ruapehu sending a wave down Whangaehu River minutes before the express approached the bridge. the Engine driver applied the brakes several hundred metres before the bridge. it was too late to prevent the locomotive, and first five second-class carriages plunging off the bridge into the torrent. The leading first-class carriage toppled in moments Three first-class cars and two vans remained on track. it made headlines around the globe.The nation was stunned.

Almost everyone killed was in a second-class carriage 148 out of 151.located at the front, these were affected by noise, smoke, coal dust and fumes of the locomotive, something first class paid to avoid. In head-on collision second-class passengers were at greater risk of death or injury.28 of the 170 second-class passengers first-class passenger was lost, along with the driver and fireman. Most of the passengers in the final three (first-class) carriages didn't know what had happened to their train.

Lahars are recurring natural event with Mt Ruapehu.In the investigation following the tragedy,it was discovered a lahar had weakened the bridge at Tangiwai in 1925. A warning from geologists the state of the crater wall was reason for concern ignored by the authorities. In 1954 a board of inquiry assisted by James Healy, one of the geologists at Geological Survey, DSIR, found no one was to blame.The police found no evidence that legal blame could be attached to anybody, and there were no prosecutions. The board recommended installation of a warning system upstream on the River.A lahar that flowed down the river in March 2007 caused little damage and no injuries, thanks to a monitoring and alarm system.

The QuestionsDescribe what happened during The Tangiwai Disaster?Why was The Tangiwai Disaster such a significant disaster in N.Z?How was N.Z affected by The Tangiwai Disaster?What changes to people's lives have been introduced after The Tangiwai Disaster?


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