List of disasters in the United States by death toll

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List of United States disasters by death toll is a list of notable disasters which occurred in the United States or involved U.S. citizens, in a definable incident.

Due to inflation, the monetary damage estimates are not comparable. Unless otherwise noted, the year given is the year in which the currency's valuation was calculated.

This list is not comprehensive in general, and epidemics are not included.

More than 400 fatalities[edit]

YearTypeFatalitiesDamage (US$)ArticleLocationComments
1900Tropical cyclone6,000-12,0001900 Galveston hurricaneTexasFatalities estimated. Remains the deadliest natural disaster in North American history.
1906Earthquake and Fire (urban conflagration)3,000-6,0001906 San Francisco EarthquakeSan Francisco, CaliforniaConflagration followed quake; fatalities estimated
1928Tropical cyclone3,000+$800,000,000
1928 Okeechobee hurricaneFlorida

Puerto Rico

4,078+ believed dead total. 2500+ in Florida, 500+ in Puerto Rico.
September 11 attacksNew York City, New York

Arlington, Virginia and Shanksville, Pennsylvania

2,977 victims (mostly U.S.) plus 19 hijackers.
1941Military strike2,466Attack on Pearl HarborPearl Harbor, Hawaii2,402 U.S. victims and 64 Japanese soldiers.
1889Accident - Dam burst2,209Johnstown FloodPennsylvaniaMuch rain, deforestation; dam failed
1893Tropical cyclone2,0001893 Cheniere Caminada HurricaneLouisianaFatalities estimated
2005Tropical cyclone1,836$108,000,000,000Hurricane KatrinaFlorida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, and OhioCostliest natural disaster in U.S. history.
1865Accident - Shipwreck1,700SultanaMemphis, TennesseeSteamboat sank due to boiler explosion; fatalities estimated
1980Heat wave1,7001980 United States heat waveCentral and southern statesOfficial death toll, may have been higher
1912Accident - Shipwreck1,490-1,517Sinking of the RMS TitanicNear Newfoundland

and Nova Scotia, Canada.

En Route to New York City from Queenstown, Ireland.
1871Fire (rural)1,200-2,500Peshtigo FirePeshtigo, Wisconsin

Upper Peninsula of Michigan

Fatalities estimated; most deaths in single fire in U.S. history
1904Accident - Shipwreck1,021PS General SlocumEast River near New York CitySteamship sank due to fire on board
1893Tropical cyclone1,000-2,0001893 Sea Islands HurricaneGeorgia,

South Carolina

Fatalities estimated
1945Direct action (military),

Shark attack, Drowning, Hypothermia

879USS Indianapolis (CA-35)Near Guam
1915Accident - Shipwreck844S.S. EastlandChicago, Illinois
1995Heat wave739Chicago Heat Wave of 1995Chicago, Illinois
Tri-State TornadoMissouri, Illinois and Indiana (Kentucky, Tennessee)Lower number for single 3-state tornado; higher for 5-state outbreak
1903Fire (building)602Iroquois Theatre FireChicago, Illinois
1919Tropical cyclone6001919 Florida Keys HurricaneFlorida


1928Accident - Dam failure600St. Francis DamSanta Clarita, California
1938Tropical cyclone6001938 New England hurricane
1947Accident - Explosion581Texas City DisasterTexas City, TexasAmmonium nitrate onboard ship
1871Fire500 (estimated)Great Michigan FireMichigan
1942Fire (building)492Cocoanut Grove fireBoston, MassachusettsNightclub
1927Exploitation, Silicosis476-1,000+Hawks Nest Tunnel DisasterGauley Bridge, West Virginia178 admitted deaths, 476 with congressional inquiry, 1,000+ by epidemiologists.
1918Fire (rural)453$7,300,0001918 Cloquet FireMinnesota
1936Tornado outbreak436+1936 Tupelo–Gainesville tornado outbreakAlabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina, TennesseeTwo tornadoes in Tupelo, Mississippi and Gainesville, Georgia killed 233 and 203 people respectively
1913Flood4281913 (Ohio) Statewide FloodOhio
1935Tropical cyclone4231935 Labor Day hurricaneFlorida

151 to 400 fatalities[edit]

YearTypeFatalitiesDamage (US$)ArticleLocationComments
1860Accident - Shipwreck400PS Lady ElginChicago, Illinois
1888Blizzard400Great Blizzard of 1888NortheastFatalities estimated
1857Shipwreck400SS Central America, 1857Off the coast of GeorgiaFatalities estimated
1894Fire (rural)400Great Hinckley FireHinckley, Minnesota and vicinity
1937Flood385$5,000,000,000Ohio River flood of 1937Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois
1907Accident - Coal mine362Monongah Mining disasterMonongah, West Virginia
1913Flood361Great Dayton FloodDayton, OhioFlood was created by a series of three winter storms that hit the region in March, 1913
Great Appalachian Storm of November 1950Eastern US States
2011Tornado outbreak348~$11,000,000,000
April 25–28, 2011 tornado outbreakMidwestern United States, Southern United States, Eastern United States, Southern Ontario355 tornadoes, with one of the deadliest in Tuscaloosa and Birmingham, Alabama. 324 tornadic deaths, with another 24 from related weather.
1930Fire (building)322Ohio PenitentiaryColumbus, Ohio
1944Accident - Explosion320Port Chicago disasterPort Chicago, CaliforniaWWII ammunition ignited
1974Tornado outbreak319$3,500,000,000
Super OutbreakOntario, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia and New York148 tornadoes
1993Cyclonic Blizzard310$6,650,000,000
1993 Storm of the CenturyOntario, Quebec, Eastern United States, Cuba
1865Accident - Explosion300Mobile magazine explosionMobile, AlabamaCivil War ammunition
1937Accident - Explosion296-319$13,000,000
New London School explosionNew London, TexasGas leak
1881Fire (rural)282$2,347,000Thumb FireMichigan
1898Explosion274USS MaineHavana, CubaA major event that precipitated the Spanish–American War. Exact cause remains unknown.
1979Accident - Aircraft273American Airlines Flight 191Chicago, IllinoisDeadliest single-aircraft accident in US history
1965Tornado outbreak271Palm Sunday Tornado OutbreakIowa, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana78 tornadoes
1999Heat wave271Midwest and Northeast
2001Accident - Aircraft265American Airlines Flight 587Queens, New York
1913Accident - Coal mine263Dawson, New Mexico
1909Accident - Coal mine259Cherry Mine DisasterCherry, Illinois
1937Accident - Coal mine257Grundy, Virginia
1969Tropical cyclone256Hurricane CamilleMississippi,

Alabama, and Virginia

St. Louis-East St. Louis TornadoMissouri
Great Lakes Storm of 1913Great Lakes regionFatalities estimated
1953Tornado outbreak sequence247Flint-Worcester tornado outbreak sequenceMichigan

Ohio, Nebraska and Massachusetts

116 Deaths in Flint, Michigan, 94 in Worcester, Massachusetts.
1927Flood246$400,000,000Great Mississippi Flood of 1927Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee
1972 Rapid City FloodRapid City, South DakotaAverage rainfall over area of 60 mi² measured at 10-15 inches (380 mm), over 6 hours in middle of night June 9–10, 1972.
1996Accident - Aircraft230TWA Flight 800Long Island, New York
1997Accident - Aircraft228Korean Air Flight 801Nimitz Hill, Guam
1998Terrorism2231998 United States embassy bombingsTanzania


4,000+ injured
1999Accident - Aircraft217EgyptAir Flight 990Atlantic Ocean near Nantucket, Massachusetts
1940Fire (building)209Rhythm Club FireNatchez, Mississippi
1871Fire (urban conflagration)200-300Great Chicago fireChicago, IllinoisFatalities estimated; 125 bodies recovered
1900Accident - Coal mine200Scofield mine disasterScofield, Utah
1898Accident - Shipwreck192The PortlandGloucester, Massachusetts
1863Mass Murder, Military Operation185-200Lawrence MassacreLawrence, Kansas
1947Tornado1811947 Glazier–Higgins–Woodward tornadoesOklahoma (especially Woodward), Texas (including Glazier and Higgins), Kansas
1890Mass Murder, Military Operation178Wounded Knee MassacreWounded Knee Creek, South Dakota
1908Fire (building)174Collinwood school fireCleveland, Ohio
1908Fire (building)171Rhoads Opera HouseBoyertown, PennsylvaniaSources conflict on number of fatalities: 170 or 171.
1995Terrorism168Oklahoma City bombingOklahoma City, Oklahoma
1944Fire (building)168Hartford circus fireHartford, Connecticut
1917Fire (mine)168Speculator Mine disasterButte, Montana
1977Fire (building)165Beverly Hills Supper Club fireSouthgate, Kentucky
1946Tsunami and Earthquake165Aleutian Island earthquakeAlaska


1944Maritime Accident163West Loch DisasterPearl Harbor, HawaiiClassified as top secret until 1960.
2011 Joplin tornadoJoplin, MissouriPart of the May 21–26, 2011 tornado outbreak sequence. 4 additional fatalities resulted indirectly from this tornado.
1987Accident - Aircraft156Northwest Airlines Flight 255Detroit, Michigan
1982Accident - Aircraft153Pan Am Flight 759New Orleans, Louisiana

70 to 150 fatalities[edit]

YearTypeFatalitiesDamage (US$)ArticleLocationComments
1911Fire (building)146Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fireNew York City, New York
1976Flood145Big Thompson Canyon Flood of 1976Colorado
1978Accident - Aircraft144PSA Flight 182San Diego, California
1840Accident - Shipwreck139LexingtonLong Island SoundSteamship sank due to fire on board
1985Accident - Aircraft137Delta Air Lines Flight 191Dallas, Texas
1967Fire134>$72,000,0001967 USS Forrestal fireGulf of Tonkin, Vietnam
1960Accident - Aircraft1341960 New York mid-air collisionNew York City, New York
1994Accident - Aircraft132USAir Flight 427Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
1944Accident - Explosion130$7,000,000-
Cleveland East Ohio Gas ExplosionCleveland, Ohio
1963Accident - Submarine129USS Thresher (SSN-593)Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of MassachusettsDeadliest submarine disaster in history.
1956Accident - Aircraft1281956 Grand Canyon mid-air collisionGrand Canyon, ArizonaParts of wreckage still visible
1915Incident - Maritime128Sinking of the RMS LusitaniaAtlantic Ocean near Kinsale, IrelandShip torpedoed by a German U-boat. 1,198 fatalities resulted overall; 128 of them were Americans.
1972Accident - Dam burst125Buffalo Creek FloodLogan County, West Virginia
2004Tropical cyclone121$18,800,000,000
Hurricane IvanTexas; Florida54 deaths in U.S.; 67 more in the Caribbean and Venezuela
1929Fire (building)123Cleveland Clinic fire of 1929Cleveland, Ohio
2005Tropical cyclone120$12,000,000,000
Hurricane RitaLouisiana
1946Fire (building)119Winecoff HotelAtlanta, Georgia
1899Tornado117>$300,000 ($8,381,000 in today's dollars).New Richmond tornadoNew Richmond, WisconsinTornado hit the same time the circus was in town.
1918Earthquake1161918 San Fermin earthquakePuerto Rico
1938Flood115Los Angeles Flood of 1938Los Angeles, California
1964Tsunami and Earthquake115$1,800,000,000
Good Friday EarthquakeAlaska, Hawaii, Oregon, California, British Columbia
1837Accident - Shipwreck115Wreck of the MexicoLong Beach, New YorkEight people rescued from shore. One hundred fifteen crew and passengers (mostly Irish immigrants, and many of them women and children) froze to death on the deck of the ship just 200 yards from shore. See book: "Water and Ice: The Tragic Wrecks of the Bristol and the Mexico on the South Shore of Long Island" @ The wreck of the Mexico is the subject of Walt Whitman's poem, "Sleepers" in Leaves of Grass.
1953Tornado1141953 Waco tornado outbreakWaco, TexasOther tornadoes in the outbreak caused an additional 30 deaths
1981Accident - collapse114Hyatt Regency walkway collapseKansas City, Missouri
1975Accident - Aircraft113Eastern Air Lines Flight 66New York City, New York
2008Tropical cyclone112$29,500,000,000
Hurricane IkeTexas; Louisiana34 people still missing as of 2013
1904Train wreck111Eden train wreckPueblo, Colorado
1947Accident - Coal mine111Centralia mine disasterCentralia, Illinois
1971Accident - Aircraft111Alaska Airlines Flight 1866Juneau, Alaska
1989Accident - Aircraft111United Airlines Flight 232Sioux City, Iowa
1996Accident - Aircraft110ValuJet Flight 592Florida Everglades
1869Accident - Coal mine108Avondale Mine DisasterPlymouth, Pennsylvania
1918Accident - Railroad101Great train wreck of 1918Nashville, Tennessee
1963Accident - Aircraft101Northwest Orient Airlines Flight 293Near Annette Island, Alaska
1972Accident - Aircraft101Eastern Air Lines Flight 401Miami, Florida
Northeastern United States Blizzard of 1978NortheastFatalities Estimated
2003Fire (building)100The Station nightclub fireWest Warwick, Rhode Island4th-deadliest nightclub fire in U.S. history, killing 100 people and injuring more than 200.
1890Accident - Shipwreck98Sea Wing disasterLake Pepin near Lake City, MinnesotaStrong winds toppled the excursion vessel.
1922Roof collapse (snow)98Knickerbocker TheatreWashington, District of Columbia
1904Accident - Railroad97Eden train wreckPueblo, Colorado
1910Avalanche96Wellington avalancheWellington, Washington
1962Accident - Aircraft95American Airlines Flight 1New York City, New York
1958Fire (building)95Our Lady of the Angels School FireChicago, Illinois
1954Tropical cyclone95Hurricane HazelNorth Carolina; South CarolinaU.S. victims only
1918Accident - Railroad93Malbone Street WreckBrooklyn, New York
1876Accident - Railroad92Ashtabula River Railroad DisasterAshtabula, Ohio
1974Accident - Aircraft92TWA Flight 514Berryville, Virginia
1973Accident - Aircraft89Delta Air Lines Flight 723Boston, Massachusetts
2000Accident - Aircraft88Alaska Airlines Flight 261Pacific Ocean near Anacapa Island, California
1990Fire (building)87Happy Land FireNew York City, New York
1910Fire (rural)86Great Fire of 1910Washington, Idaho, Montana
1918Accident - Railroad86Hammond Circus Train WreckHammond, Indiana
1993Police raid - Fire86Waco SiegeBranch Davidian Complex, Waco, Texas6 Davidians and 4 police killed in initial raid, 76 Davidians died in assault weeks later when building was set on fire by Davidan leader David Koresh to gain martyrdom.
1968Accident - Aircraft85United Airlines Flight 629Dawson, Texas
1951Accident - Railroad85Woodbridge train wreckWoodbridge, New Jersey
1980Fire (building)84MGM Grand Hotel fireLas Vegas, NV, Nevada
1965Accident - Aircraft84Eastern Air Lines Flight 663New York City, New York
1969Accident - Aircraft83Allegheny Airlines Flight 853Shelby County, IndianaA Piper Cherokee 140, piloted by a student who was a week away from getting his private pilot's license, collided with an Allegheny Airlines DC-9. The flight originated in Boston and had stopped in Baltimore and Cincinnati.[1]
1967Accident - Aircraft82Piedmont Airlines Flight 22Hendersonville, North Carolina
1986Accident - Aircraft821986 Cerritos mid-air collisionCerritos, California
1887Accident - Railroad81-85Great Chatsworth Train WreckChatsworth, Illinois
1963Accident - Aircraft81Pan Am Flight 214Elkton, MarylandLightning strike
1943Accident - Railroad79Frankford Junction train wreckPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania
1982Accident - Aircraft78Air Florida Flight 90District of Columbia
1976Accident - Shipwreck78MV George Prince ferry disasterMississippi River, LouisianaDeadliest ferry disaster in US history
1968Accident - Coal mine78Farmington Mine DisasterFarmington, West Virginia
1961Accident - Aircraft78TWA Flight 529Hinsdale, Illinois
1950Accident - Railroad78Kew Gardens train crashKew Gardens, New York
1961Accident - Aircraft77Imperial Airlines Flight 201/8Richmond, Virginia
1970Accident - Aircraft75Southern Airways Flight 932Ceredo, WVDeadliest sports tragedy in US history
1963Accident - Explosion74Pepsi ColiseumIndianapolis, Indiana
1913Stampede73Italian Hall DisasterCalumet, Michigan
1933Accident - Airship73USS Akron (ZRS-4)Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of New JerseyDeadliest airship disaster in history.
1957Fire (building)72Warrenton Nursing Home FireWarrenton, Missouri
1974Accident - Aircraft72Eastern Air Lines Flight 212Charlotte, North Carolina
1943Accident - Railroad72Rennert railroad accidentRennert, North Carolina
2012Tropical cyclone72$71,400,000,000Hurricane SandyMost of the United States East Coast87 indirect fatalities occurred in the United States. At least 126 additional fatalities (75 direct; 51 indirect) occurred in the Caribbean and the Bahamas; 21 people are still missing in Haiti.
1985Accident - Aircraft70Galaxy Airlines Flight 203Reno, Nevada

30 to 69 fatalities[edit]

YearTypeFatalitiesDamage (US$)ArticleLocationComments
Pittsburgh Flood 1936Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area
Loma Prieta EarthquakeSan Francisco Bay Area, California
1994Accident - Aircraft68American Eagle Flight 4184Roselawn Indiana
1888Accident - Railroad66Mud Run DisasterEastern Pennsylvania
1955Accident - Aircraft66United Airlines Flight 409Medicine Bow Peak, Wyoming
1959Accident - Aircraft65American Airlines Flight 320New York City, New York
1971Earthquake65$500,000,000Sylmar earthquakeGreater Los Angeles, California area
1903Accident - Railroad64Connellsville train wreckConnellsville, Pennsylvania
1983Terrorism641983 United States embassy bombingBeirut, Lebanon
1960Accident - Aircraft63Northwest Orient Airlines Flight 710Tell City, IndianaWing failure resulting from freak vibrations in clear weather turbulence was the probable cause.[1]
1963Fire (building)63Golden Age Nursing Home fireFitchville, Ohio
1960Accident - Aircraft62Eastern Air Lines Flight 375Boston, Massachusetts
1944Military Aircraft, Accident61Freckleton Air DisasterFreckleton, EnglandAn American United States Army Air Forces Consolidated B-24 Liberator heavy bomber crashed into the centre of the village of Freckleton. It crashed into a church, 3 houses, and a pub. 38 children were killed.
Great Chilean EarthquakeHawaii, Alaska2,290 to 6,600 killed and $3,500,000,000 (2005) in damage worldwide. 61 killed in Hilo, Hawaii. $500,000 in U.S. property damage
1864Accident - Railroad60+Shohola train wreckShohola, Pennsylvania
1856Accident - Railroad59-67The Great Train Wreck of 1856Ft. Washington, Pennsylvania
2008Tornado outbreak592008 Super Tuesday tornado outbreakTennessee, Arkansas, Kentucky, Alabama, and Illinois
1950Accident - Aircraft58Northwest Orient Airlines Flight 2501Lake MichiganAirplane wreckage never found
1964Accident - Aircraft58Eastern Air Lines Flight 304Lake Pontchartrain
1965Accident - Aircraft58American Airlines Flight 383Cincinnati, Ohio
1980Volcano571980 eruption of Mount St. HelensWashington State
1994Earthquake57$23,000,000,000Northridge EarthquakeGreater Los Angeles area
1904Accident - Railroad56New Market train wreckNew Market, Tennessee
1949Accident - Aircraft55Eastern Air Lines Flight 537Alexandria, Virginia
1906Accident - Railroad531906 Atlantic City train wreckAtlantic City, New Jersey
1906Accident - Railroad531906 Washington DC train wreckWashington, District of Columbia
1947Accident - Aircraft53Eastern Air Lines Flight 605Near Port Deposit, Maryland
1910Accident Railroad52Green Mountain train wreckGreen Mountain, Iowa
1947Accident - Aircraft52United Airlines Flight 608Bryce Canyon, Utah
1956Accident - Shipwreck51SS Andrea Doria, MS StockholmOff the coast of Nantucket
1978Accident - Construction51Willow Island disasterWillow Island, West VirginiaScaffolding fell 166' with insufficiently cured concrete
1896Accident - Railroad501896 Atlantic City rail crashAtlantic City, New Jersey
1925Accident - Railroad50Rockport train wreckHackettstown, New Jersey
1993Flood50$15,000,000,000Great Flood of 1993Midwest
2009Accident - Aircraft50Colgan Air Flight 3407Clarence Center, New York
1867Accident - Railroad49Angola HorrorAngola, New York
1917Accident - Railroad49Shepherdsville train wreckShepherdsville, Kentucky
1989Tropical cyclone49$7,000,000,000
Hurricane HugoCaribbean and Eastern North America.Damage figure for U.S. only. At least 111 total deaths, with 37 in the continental U.S., as far north as Michigan, and 12 in the U.S. possession of Puerto Rico.
2004Tropical cyclone49$9,000,000,000Hurricane FrancesFlorida
2006Accident - Aircraft49Comair Flight 5191Lexington, Kentucky
1853Accident - Railroad48Norwalk rail accidentNorwalk, Connecticut
1944Accident - Railroad48Bagley train wreckwest of Ogden, Utah
1958Accident - Railroad48Newark Bay, New Jersey rail accidentNewark Bay, New Jersey
1999Tornado outbreak48$1,500,000,000
1999 Oklahoma tornado outbreakOklahoma, Kansas, Texas, Tennessee66 tornadoes
1938Accident - Railroad47Custer Creek train wreckSaugus, Montana
1944Accident - Railroad47Stockton train wreckStockton, Georgia
1993Accident - Railroad47Big Bayou Canot train disasterMobile, AlabamaDeadliest train crash in Amtrak history.
2011Tropical cyclone47$15,800,000,000
Hurricane IreneCaribbean, East Coast of the United States, Eastern Canada47 fatalities in U.S. with 10 additional fatalities elsewhere.
1967Accident - Bridge collapse46Silver Bridge - over the Ohio RiverPoint Pleasant, West Virginia

Gallipolis, Ohio

1927Mass murder45Bath School DisasterBath Township, Michigan
1972Accident - Railroad451972 Chicago commuter rail crashChicago, Illinois
1972Accident - Aircraft45United Airlines Flight 553Chicago, Illinois
1955Accident - Aircraft44United Airlines Flight 629Longmont, Colorado
1940Accident - Railroad43Doodlebug DisasterCuyahoga Falls, Ohio
1963Accident - Aircraft43Northwest Orient Airlines Flight 705Everglades, Florida
1987Accident - Aircraft43PSA Flight 1771Near Cayucos, California
2011Tornado outbreak43April 14–16, 2011 tornado outbreakOklahoma, Texas, Kansas, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Missouri, Louisiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania162 tornadoes
2014Mudflow432014 Oso mudslideOso, Washington
1989Accident - Bridge collapse42Cypress Street viaductOakland, California
1859Bridge washout41Springbrook Bridge washoutSouth Bend, Indiana
1968Natural Gas Explosion41Richmond, Indiana explosionRichmond, Indiana
2001Tropical cyclone41$5,500,000,000Tropical Storm AllisonTexas,

Louisiana, and Pennsylvania

1912Accident - Railroad39Corning train wreckCorning, New York
1977Accident - Dam failure39Kelly Barnes DamToccoa, Georgia
1997Mass suicide39Heaven's Gate (religious group)San Diego, CaliforniaCult Leaders Marshall Applewhite and Bonnie Nettles convinced followers they would join Comet Hale-Bopp to take them to another planet by swallowing poison.
1969Accident - Aircraft38United Airlines Flight 266Santa Monica Bay, California
1883Tornado37$700,000 (1883)1883 Rochester TornadoRochester, MinnesotaF5 tornado killed 37 and injured hundreds more. It led to the creation of the Mayo Clinic.
1937Accident - airship36Hindenburg disasterManchester, New JerseyHydrogen-filled zeppelin
1969Accident - aircraft35Hawthorne Nevada Airlines Flight 708Lone Pine, California
1980Ship collision35Sunshine Skyway BridgeSt. Petersburg, Florida
1967Accident - Aircraft34Mohawk Airlines Flight 40Blossburg, Pennsylvania
2007Mass murder - School shooting33Virginia Tech massacreBlacksburg, VirginiaArmed with two semi-automatic handguns, student Seung-Hui Cho shot to death 32 people in two separate attacks on the campus of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. 23 other people were wounded, 17 by gunfire. Cho committed suicide.[2]
1973Fire (building)32UpStairs Lounge arson attackNew Orleans, LouisianaDeadliest mass murder against LGBT people in United States history.
1855Bridge - Accident31Gasconade Bridge train disasterGasconade, Missouri
1981Fire31[3]Keansburg, New JerseyNursing home full of elderly and mentally disabled
2009Tsunami312009 Samoa earthquakeAmerican Samoa and nearby islands189 total deaths, with 31 in American Samoa.
1887Structural failure30The Forest Hills DisasterBoston, Massachusetts
1923Accidentrailroad30Glenrock train wreckMeadow Acres, Wyoming
1956Accidentrailroad30Redondo Junction train wreckLos Angeles, California
1998Blizzard30North American ice storm of 1998Canada and Northeast

Fewer than 30 fatalities[edit]

YearTypeFatalitiesDamage (US$)ArticleLocationComments
1871Accident - Railroad29Great Revere Train Wreck of 1871Revere, Massachusetts
1971Accident - Explosion29Thiokol-Woodbine ExplosionWoodbine, Georgia
1975Shipwreck29Wreck of the SS Edmund FitzgeraldLake Superior
1976Accident - school bus29Yuba City bus disasterMartinez, CaliforniaDeadliest road accident in U.S. history
1977Accident - Aircraft29University of Evansville basketball team charter crashEvansville, IndianaThe University of Evansville basketball team was traveling to Middle Tennessee State University when the plane crashed 90 seconds after takeoff from Dress Regional Airport.[4]
1990Tornado29$160,000,0001990 Plainfield tornadoPlainfield, Illinois

Crest Hill, Illinois

2010Accident - Coal mine29[5]Upper Big Branch Mine disasterMontcoal, West Virginia
Great Flood of 1951Kansas


2012Mass murder - School shooting28Sandy Hook Elementary School shootingSandy Hook, ConnecticutAdam Lanza shot and killed his mother, then drove to Sandy Hook Elementary School, where he fatally shot 20 students and 6 educators before committing suicide.[6]
1958Accident - school bus27Prestonsburg, Kentucky bus disasterPrestonsburg, Kentucky
1988Accident - school bus27Carrollton bus disasterCarrollton, Kentucky
Lubbock TornadoLubbock, TexasF5 tornado killed 26 and wounded approximately 500
2008Accident - Railroad262008 Chatsworth train collisionChatsworth, California
1991Fire (building)25Hamlet chicken processing plant fireHamlet, North CarolinaWorkers trapped behind locked doors
1991Fire (rural)25$1,500,000,0001991 Oakland firestormOakland, California and vicinity
2005Tornado25$92,000,000Evansville Tornado of November 2005Missouri, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio7 tornadoes
1692Mass hysteria

Execution Neglect

24Salem witch trialsSalem, Massachusetts21 Executed for "Witchcraft," 3 died in jail due to neglect.
1887Bridge Railroad24Forest Hills disasterBoston, Massachusetts
1991Mass murder24Luby's shootingKilleen, Texas23 murdered, Gunman committed suicide
2005Accident - bus24Wilmer, Texascarrying elderly, fleeing hurricane
2013Tornado242013 Moore tornadoMoore, Oklahoma377 people were injured
1919Accident - Railroad23Onawa train wreckOnawa, Maine
1989Accident - Explosion23$1,415,000,000
Phillips DisasterPasadena, Texas314 people injured
1959Explosion - Fire23Meldrim, Georgia trestle disasterMeldrim, Georgia
1992Tropical cyclone23$25,000,000,000Hurricane AndrewFlorida


1983Accident - Aircraft23Air Canada Flight 797Cincinnati, Ohio
Great Lakes Blizzard of 1977New York


The brunt of the blizzard was centered around Buffalo.
1999Accident - tour bus22New Orleans, Louisianaplunged over embankment, carrying senior citizens from casino
1980Accident - tour bus22Jasper, Arkansas
1960Accident - Aircraft22Cal Poly football team plane crashToledo, Ohio
1910Fire, Structural failure21Chicago Union Stock Yards fireChicago, Illinois
1986Accident - tour bus21Walker, California
1915Fire (building)21St. Johns School FirePeabody, MassachusettsSchoolgirls trapped behind exit door; resulted in first city law requiring that exit doors open outward
1919Accident - Explosion21$6,600,000,000
Boston molasses disasterBoston, MassachusettsDamages are out-of-court settlements only; repairs took 133 man-months
2010Flood20June 2010 Arkansas floodsAlbert Pike Recreational Area (near Langley, Arkansas)
2005Accident - Shipwreck20Ethan Allen boating accidentLake George, New YorkOverloaded tour boat capsized from another boat's wake.
1872Fire (urban conflagration)20$73,500,000
Great Boston Fire of 1872Boston, Massachusetts
1897Accident - Railroad19Garrison train crashGarrison, New York
1944Accident - Aircraft19Long Creek Air DisasterSouth Portland, Maine
2013Wildfire19Yarnell Hill FireYarnell, Arizona19 firefighters were killed trapped when they became trapped in the fast-spreading fire
1861Accident - Railroad17 to 20Platte Bridge Railroad TragedySt. Joseph, Missouri
1903Accident - Railroad17Purdue WreckIndianapolis, Indiana
1991Accident - Automobile17Dust Storm AccidentCoalinga, California
1987Accident - Railroad171987 Maryland train collisionChase, Maryland
1978Accident - Railroad16Waverly, Tennessee, tank car explosionWaverly, Tennesseean additional 43 injured
1926Tornado16La Plata Tornado of 1926La Plata, Maryland13 killed in La Plata Elementary School
1954Fire (building)15Cleveland Hill Middle School FireCheektowaga, New York
1966Mass murder15University of Texas MassacreAustin, Texas
1999Mass murder15Columbine High School massacreJefferson County, Colorado
2011Accident - tour bus15World Wide Tours bus crashBronx, New Yorken route to Connecticut casino, March 12
2013Accident - Explosion15West Fertilizer Company explosionWest, TexasMore than 160 people were injured.
2002Automobile accident14I-40 bridge disasterWebbers Falls, Oklahoma
1982Bridge - Accident14Cline Avenue Bridge collapseEast Chicago, Indiana
1942Accident - Railroad14Ambassador - Cleveland Express rail collisionDickerson, MarylandWorst accident in B&O railroad's history
1935Bus accident14Appomattox River Drawbridge accidentHopewell, VirginiaBus drove across drawbridge when it was open.
1973Accident14Skyline Towers collapseBailey's Crossroads, Virginia74 others injured
2002Accident - van14Saint John River, Maine
2007Wildfire14California wildfires of October 2007CaliforniaLarge fires burnt out of control across southern California, fueled by unusually strong Santa Ana Winds; worst around San Diego; caused evacuation of over one million people. Most fires accidental; some arson.
1905Accident - Railroad13Ninth Avenue derailmentNew York City, New York
1963Accident - bus13Hole in the Rock Trail, UtahBus carrying Boy Scouts overturned climbing steep hill.
2001Accident - Mine disaster13Jim Walter Resources Mine DisasterBrookwood, Alabama
2006Accident - Coal mine13Sago Mine disasterSago, West Virginia
2007Accident - Bridge Collapse13$5,000,000I-35W Mississippi River bridge CollapseMinneapolis, MinnesotaCollapsed on August 1 at 6:05 PM during rush hour while resurfacing in progress. An additional 111+ injured.
2009Mass murder13Fort Hood shootingFort Hood, Texas
1940Automobile accident12Two-car collisionSlayton, MinnesotaThe deadliest two-car auto crash in U.S. history at the time.
1959Accident - Coal mine12Knox Mine DisasterPittston, Pennsylvania
2012Mass Murder122012 Aurora shootingAurora, Colorado56 others were injured.
1999Accident - Railroad111999 Bourbonnais, Illinois train accidentBourbonnais, Illinois
2010Accident - Explosion11Deepwater Horizon explosionSoutheast of Louisiana coastCaused by a blowout on April 20. 17 injuries. Subsequent oil spill regarded as worst environmental disaster in US history.
2003Accident - Shipwreck112003 Staten Island Ferry crashNew York City, New York
1976Accident - Dam failure11$400,000,000Teton DamIdaho
2011Accident - Airshow112011 Reno Air Races crashReno, NevadaAt least 70 people injured in the disaster. Third-deadliest airshow disaster in U.S. history.
2005Mass murder - Railroad112005 Glendale train crashLos Angeles, California
1999Accident - Aircraft11American Airlines Flight 1420Little Rock, Arkansas
1996Accident - Railroad111996 Silver Spring, Maryland train collisionSilver Spring, Maryland
1979Stampede11Riverfront ColiseumCincinnati, OhioThe Who rock concert
1977Accident - Railroad11Chicago Loop derailmentChicago, Illinois
2014Accident - tour bus10Glenn County, California[7]
2004Tropical cyclone10$15,000,000,000Hurricane CharleyFlorida
1957Tornado10$25,883,0001957 Fargo tornadoFargo, North Dakota
1972Bridge - Accident10Sidney Lanier Bridge collapseBrunswick, Georgia
1972Accident - Aircraft101972 Chicago-O'Hare runway collisionChicago, Illinois
1987Bridge - Accident10Schoharie Creek Bridge CollapseFort Hunter, New York
1858Structural failure - Bridge9Sauquoit Bridge CollapseSauquoit, New York
1888Accident - Railroad9Wreck at the Fat NancyOrange County, Virginia
2005Accident - Railroad9Graniteville, South Carolina train crashGraniteville, South Carolina
1903Accident - Railroad9Wreck of the Old 97Danville, Virginia
2007Fire (Building)9Charleston Sofa Super Store FireCharleston, South CarolinaA flashover and structural collapse contributed to the deaths of nine Charleston firefighters.
2007Accident - Coal mine9Crandall Canyon Mine CollapseHuntington, UtahOriginal collapse on August 6 at 2:48 AM MDT, 6 miners missing. On August 16 at 6:30 PM MDT, 9 rescue workers caught in second collapse while trying to get to trapped miners. Three rescue workers pronounced dead; other 6 injured.
2009Accident - Railroad9Washington Metro subway train collisionWashington, District of ColumbiaApproximately 80 injuries; deadliest subway train accident US history. Driver was texting at the time.
2012Fire - Building92012 Charleston house fireCharleston, West Virginia1 injured
2013Tornado82013 El Reno tornadoCanadian County, OklahomaFour storm chasers killed, including Tim Samaras; first tornado on record to kill storm chasers; 151 injured; Widest tornado on record with a path width of 2.6 miles (4.2 km).
2009Accident - Automobile, Driving under the influence82009 Taconic State Parkway crashMount Pleasant, New York3 Additional Injuries
1984Fire - Building8Haunted Castle fire at Six Flags Great AdventureJackson Township, New Jersey
1982Mass murder8Post Family MurdersFarwell, Michigan
1996Flood8$500,000,000Willamette Valley Flood of 1996Washington, Oregon, Idaho, California
1989Bridge collapse8Hatchie River Bridge CollapseMemphis, Tennessee
2001Structural failure8Queen Isabella Causeway collapseCameron County, Texas
2014Accident - Explosion82014 East Harlem apartment buildings explosionNew York City, New York
1982Mass murder - Poisoning7Chicago Tylenol murdersChicago, IllinoisInvestigation still underway, as of 2012
2012Mass murder-

School shooting

7Oikos University shootingOakland, California
1976Mass murder-

School shooting

7California State University, Fullerton massacreFullerton, California
1922Accident - Railroad71922 Winslow Junction Train DerailmentWinslow, Arizona
1995Bridge - Accident7Coalinga, California
1983Fire - Explosion7Propane explosion 12/27/83Buffalo, New YorkBlast killed 5 fireman and 2 civilians
1901Fire (urban conflagration)7Great Fire of 1901Jacksonville, Florida
2011Accident - collapse7Indiana State Fair stage collapseIndianapolis, Indiana58 injured
1986Explosion Space Shuttle7Space Shuttle Challenger DisasterKennedy Space Center, FloridaThe first in-flight deaths in the U.S. Space Program. Faulty booster design and engineers overruled by administrators.
2003Accident Space Shuttle7Space Shuttle Columbia DisasterTexas, LouisianaHeat shield damage due to debris strike during liftoff.
1974Mass murder6"The Amityville murders" committed by Ronald DeFeo, Jr.Amityville, New York"Butch" DeFeo told investigators that "voices" told him to kill his parents Louise and Ronald, Sr., and his siblings Dawn, Allison, Marc, and John Matthew. All the children were 18 and younger. The murders were exploited and fictionalized and later turned into a novel by Jay Anson called "The Amityville Horror" which was later turned into a popular movie.
1987Mass murder6The Flint Crack MurdersFlint, Michigan
1993Terrorism61993 World Trade Center bombingNew York City, New Yorkat least 1,042 injured
1995Flood6$1,360,000,000May 8th 1995 Louisiana FloodNew Orleans, Louisiana area
1999Fire (Building)6Worcester Cold Storage Warehouse fireWorcester, MassachusettsSix firefighters lost their lives while searching for two homeless victims, they are now commonly referred to as the Worcester 6
2008Mass murder6Northern Illinois University shootingDeKalb, IllinoisIncludes the gunman who killed himself; 21 people were injured
2011Mass murder62011 Tucson ShootingArizonaAttempted assassination of US representative Gabrielle Giffords. Among the fatalities is the Chief Judge for the US district court of Arizona John Roll and a ten year old girl.
2013Collapse (building)622nd and Market Building CollapsePhiladelphia, Pennsylvania14 other people were injured, 1 seriously. During the disaster, at least ten people were trapped under the rubble.[8][9]
1863Mass murder5Wiseman MassacreWynot, Nebraska
1946Bridge failure

Accident - Maritime

5John P. Grace Memorial Bridge DisasterCharleston, South Carolina
2001Bioterrorism52001 anthrax attacksNew York City, New York

Boca Raton, Florida Washington, District of Columbia

17 Others Infected
2013Avalanche52013 Loveland Pass, Colorado avalancheLoveland Pass, Colorado
2010Accident - Explosion5[10]2010 Connecticut power plant explosionMiddletown, Connecticut12 or more injuries[11]
1959Accident - Aircraft4The Day the Music DiedClear Lake, IowaMusicians Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson were killed along with their pilot Roger Peterson.
1970Direct action (military)4Kent State shootingsKent, OhioAn additional 9 injured. Students were fired upon when protesting the Vietnam War by the Ohio National Guard.
2013Terrorism3Boston Marathon bombingsBoston, Massachusetts3 immediate fatalities; 2 more people (including one of the perpetrators) were killed a few days later. An additional 264 people were injured by two separate bombings, which were 13 seconds apart. 17 others were injured in a gunfight a few days later (16 police officers and the other perpetrator).
1845Fire (urban conflagration)2$267,000,000
(est., 2006)
Great Fire of PittsburghPittsburgh, PennsylvaniaDestroyed much of city.
1891Accident - Railroad2Great East Thompson Train WreckThompson, Connecticuthundreds injured
2010Suicide Attack22010 Austin suicide attackAustin, TexasAn additional 13 injured when a man tried to crash into the field office of the Internal Revenue Service in Texas.
2013Accident - Explosion2Williams Olefins Plant explosionGeismar, Louisiana114 injured
2014Accident - Aircraft22014 KOMO-TV news helicopter crashSeattle, Washington
2014Fire (Building)22014 Boston Brownstone FireBoston, Massachusetts
1995Accident - Railroad11995 Palo Verde, Arizona derailmentPalo Verde, Arizona78 injured
2000Accident - Explosion1Phillips explosion of 2000Pasadena, Texas71 injuries
2011Tsunami1>$50,000,0002011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunamiCalifornia, Oregon, Hawaii7 people swept out to sea, 1 fatality. Major damage to harbors, especially in Crescent City and Santa Cruz, California with tsunami waves reaching 8.1 feet. Extensive damage also reported in three Hawaiian islands, with tsunami waves up to 12 feet high.

Unknown number of fatalities[edit]

YearTypeFatalitiesDamage (US$)ArticleLocationComments
1816Famine (caused by volcano)UnknownYear Without a SummerVolcanic dust from a massive eruption by Mount Tambora in the Dutch East Indies (present Indonesia) in 1815 led to an abnormally cold summer in 1816 in the northeastern United States and eastern Canada. Cold weather inhibited crops, and frosts and snowstorms killed what did grow, leading to a localized famine.
1835Fire (urban conflagration)Unknown$20,000,000
Great Fire of New YorkNew York City, New York
1888Cold waveUnknown1888 Northwest Cold WaveNorthwest
1914Fire (urban conflagration)Unknown$325,000,000
Great Salem Fire of 1914Salem, Massachusetts
1931–1939DroughtUnknownUnknownDust BowlGreat PlainsCompounded by unsustainable agricultural techniques
1929-37EconomicUnknownUnknownThe Great DepressionWorldwide


  1. ^ a b Indiana Plane Crashes
  2. ^ Williams, Reed; Morrison, Shawna (April 26, 2007). "Police: No motive found". The Roanoke Times. Retrieved September 24, 2008. 
  3. ^ "Keansburg, NJ Boarding Home Fire, Jan 1981 | GenDisasters ... Genealogy in Tragedy, Disasters, Fires, Floods". Retrieved 2013-05-13. 
  4. ^ Memories of UE plane crash still linger
  5. ^ Lawrence Messina (April 5, 2010). "West Virginia Coal Mine Explosion: 25 Dead After Massey Blast". Retrieved 2013-04-22. 
  6. ^ "Documents: New details on Newtown school massacre". CNN. March 28, 2013. Retrieved March 28, 2013. 
  7. ^ Joseph, Channing; Nirappil, Fenit. College visit turns tragic for students in Northern California bus crash, Associated Press, April 11, 2014.
  8. ^ Boyette, Chris; Lear, Justin (June 5, 2013). "6 dead in Philadelphia building collapse, 13 injured". CNN. Retrieved 2013-06-06. 
  9. ^ Hurdle, Jon (June 5, 2013). "Workers Seek Survivors in Philadelphia Collapse". New York Times. Retrieved June 5, 2013. 
  10. ^ [1][dead link]
  11. ^ "5 dead in Conn. power plant blast - US news - Life | NBC News". MSNBC. 2010-02-07. Retrieved 2013-04-22.