Bernhardt Otto Holtermann, who was born on April 29, 1838, was a prospector who owned part of an Australian claim where rich veins of gold were discovered after years of dry digging. I suppose it does take perseverance to successfully mine for gold, but when you consider that Holtermann finally discovered gold afteryears of digging, I would say that mining for gold also takes faith. Holtermann was born in Germany, and at adulthood set sail for Sydney, Australia in order to avoid military service. Most of his mining years were unsuccessful, including the year he even blew himself up with a premature explosion of blasting powder. Of course, his accidental explosion did not kill him, and must not have been very strong, because at the time of his greatest find, he still had all his limbs.
Holtermann’s “claim to fame” gold nugget was the largest gold specimen ever found, 59 inches long, weighing 630 pounds, and with an estimated gold content of 3,000 troy ounces. It was found at Hill End, near Bathurst, New South Wales. The nugget brought him enough wealth to build a mansion in North Sydney. Today, the mansion is one of the boarding houses at Sydney Church of England Grammar School (known as the Shore school). While working with one of his partners and later brother-in-law, Ludwig Hugo ‘Louis’ Beyers in their Star of Hope Gold Mining Company, in which he and Beyers were among the partners, they struck it rich. On February 22, 1868, Holtermann married Harriett Emmett, while Beyers married her sister Mary. On October 19, 1872, the Holtermann Nugget was discovered. While it was not “strictly speaking” a nugget, it was a gold specimen, a mass of gold embedded in rock, in this case quartz. Holtermann attempted to buy the 3,000-troy-ounce specimen from the company, offering £1000 over its estimated value of £12,000 (about AU$1.9 million in 2016 currency, AU$4.8 million on the 2017 gold price), but was turned down, and the nugget was sent away to have the gold extracted. Holtermann was so upset about that, that resigned from the company in February 1873.
Holtermann did manage to get a photograph of himself with the nugget. This famous photo of Holtermann next to a giant “nugget” was taken by an unknown photographer. After leaving the Star of Hope Gold Mining Company, Holtermann was elected as a member for Saint Leonard’s parliament in 1882. Tragically, at the young age of just 47 years, Holtermann died in Sydney, Australia on his birthday, April 29, 1885, of “cancer of the stomach, cirrhosis of the liver, and dropsy.” He left behind his wife, three sons, and two daughters.
Any time you are working with or storing gun powder or other explosives, you run the risk of an explosion. I don’t think that any such explosion is death-free, unless possibly if the factory or warehouse is empty at the time. That is unlikely, because most of these places have at the very least, security personnel working there 24/7 and many run shifts around the clock as well. Of course, that is in today’s world. Back in 1769, however, it is unlikely that people were in the facility 24/7.
A part of the Republic of Venice…Brescia was the site of the Bastion of San Nazaro, a military arsenal and powder storage area. About 200,000 pounds of black powder was stored at the site, enough to destroy about a sixth of the city when a lightning bolt set off the blast in 1769. Because buildings then were not built in such a way as to protect from fire and lightning, there was more risk of disaster than we have today, and there is plenty of risk today, but possibly less from lightning. Unfortunately, in 1769, disaster came in the form of lightning striking the structure. The ensuing explosion actually devastated the town. When the lightning struck, it started a fire that ignited 198,416 pounds of gunpowder stored at the bastion. As the fire burned, it caused a massive explosion which destroyed one-sixth of the Brescia and killed approximately 6,000 people. Giant rocks and building stones were launched about a kilometer away in every direction, causing massive damage to the surrounding area and crushing unfortunate people. The blast also blew out windows and blew in doors to buildings over a wide area.
With a reported death toll of around 6000, this Italian disaster ranks among the worst of the black powder explosions of all time. Who would have thought that an explosion could take out one-sixth of a city? Today, Brescia has over 200,000 people, and while we don’t know the population back then, we know that a devastation of one-sixth of it killed 3,00 to 6,000 people, so it must have had as many as 50,000 people living there in 1769. The number of fatalities varies among those making estimates, with some saying 3,000. Nevertheless, 3,000 or 6,000 is irrelevant because any loss of life is devastating. This particular tragedy motivated Benjamin Franklin to experiment with the use of lightning rods to protect powder storage buildings. His work found a way to help make buildings a little safer and so lightning rod usage was advised in powder storage buildings…advice apparently taken by the British.
Years ago, when natural gas was first being used for energy, it had no odor, and so, if there was a leak, there was no warning. Natural gas was considered safe, and for the most part, it was, but when it leaked, and fumes pooled, any spark could be deadly. There is another kind of natural gas, called wet-gas that is less stable that natural gas, and probably should never have been used, but in the 1930s, the dangers were less known. Natural gas was more expensive, so sometimes consumers…mostly large consumers opted for the cheaper wet-gas to save a little money.
The Consolidated School of New London, Texas actually sat in the middle of a large oil and natural gas field. Texas is known for its oil and natural gas fields, and it wasn’t uncommon for towns to be build right in the middle of the fields. The area of New London was dominated by 10,000 oil derricks, 11 of which stood right on school grounds. The school, costing close to $1 million, was newly built in the 1930s and, from its inception, it bought natural gas from Union Gas to supply its energy needs. The school’s monthly natural gas bill averaged about $300 a month, and with such an exorbitant bill, the school officials were eventually persuaded to save money by switching over to the wet-gas lines, which were operated by Parade Oil Company. The lines ran near the school, and the cost to use them was definitely less. Wet-gas is a type of waste gas that has more impurities than typical natural gas and wasn’t as safe. Still, at the time, it wasn’t uncommon for consumers living near oil fields to use this gas.
On March 18, 1937, at approximately 3:05pm, a Thursday afternoon, school was about to end for the day, and the 694 students and 40 teachers at the Consolidated School were waiting for the final bell, which was to ring in 10 minutes. It was not the final bell that was heard, but rather a huge explosion and powerful explosion shook the region. The blast literally blew the roof off of the building, leveled the school. There was no warning, because back then, natural gas was odorless. Nevertheless, in the presence of the leaking fumes, a single spark…or even static electricity, had the ability to create an explosion of indescribable proportions…and that is exactly what happened. When the blast came, it could be felt 40 miles away and most of the victims were killed instantly. From all over town, and even the surrounding towns, rescue workers and even everyday citizens rushed to the scene to pull out survivors. Surprisingly, hundreds of injured students were hauled from the rubble, and some students miraculously walked away unharmed. Ten students were found under a large bookcase that, when it fell, actually shielded them from the falling building. The rescue workers quickly established first-aid stations in the nearby towns of Tyler, Overton, Kilgore, and Henderson to tend to the wounded. It was noted that a blackboard at the destroyed school was found that read, “Oil and natural gas are East Texas’ greatest natural gifts. Without them, this school would not be here and none of us would be learning our lessons.” Yes, they were, but they could also be the greatest danger.
The investigators were never able to determine the exact cause of the spark that ignited the gas, noting that it very well may have been simple static electricity. Sadly, the dangers of wet-gas came more to light because of this incident, and as a result wet gas was required to be burned at the site rather than piped away. Also, as a safety precaution, a new state law was put into place, mandating the usage of malodorants in natural gas for commercial and industrial use. This would provide a warning to anyone in the area of a natural gas leak, and hopefully prevent large casualties such as the ones felt in this explosion. The number of people estimated killed in the explosion is 294, but the actual number of victims remains unknown. The majority were from grades five through eleven, because the younger students were educated in a separate building, and most of them had already been dismissed from school. Many of the victims were only identified by their clothing or fingerprints, which was only available because many inhabitants of the surrounding area had been fingerprinted at the Texas Centennial Exposition the previous summer. Who could have known the importance of that exposition?
The ship that would eventually become the USS Serpens was built by California Shipbuilding Corporation in Wilmington, California. The ship was laid down March 10, 1943, as EC2 class Liberty Ship that was initially named SS Benjamin N. Cardozo (MCE hull 739). In the course of a little more than a month, SS Cardozo was transferred to the US Navy (USN) on April 19, 1943, and renamed USS Serpens (AK-97) after the star constellation Serpens. USS Serpens was commissioned May 28, 1943, at San Diego, and assigned to Captain Magnus J. Johnson, USCGR and manned by a crew from the US Coast Guard (USCG). From there, the ship led a relatively normal “life” for a ship. At least until the evening of January 29, 1945, when the USS Serpens (AK 97) was anchored off Lunga Beach, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands. The Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Perry L Stinson, and some of the enlisted men were ashore performing administrative functions.
The remaining 970 crew members were loading depth charges when the USS Serpens suddenly exploded, leaving only the bow of the ship visible. The explosion was devastating, and only two sailors aboard…SN 1/C Kelsie K Kemp and SN 1/C George S Kennedy survived by clinging to the bow section of the ship, after escaping from the “bosun’s hole” inside the ship. The rest of the crew consisting of 198 Coast Guardsmen, 56 US Army stevedores, and Dr Levin, a US Public Health Service surgeon, died…most instantly. Of the 198 US Coast Guardsmen, 167 were reservists. In the immense explosion, nearby ships were damaged, and a US Army soldier on the beach was killed. The loss of the USS Serpens remains the largest single disaster ever suffered by the Coast Guard.
An eyewitness account of the disaster stated that, “As we headed our personnel boat shoreward the sound and concussion of the explosion suddenly reached us, and, as we turned, we witnessed the awe-inspiring death drams unfold before us. As the report of screeching shells filled the air and the flash of tracers continued, the water splashed throughout the harbor as the shells hit. We headed our boat in the direction of the smoke and as we came into closer view of what had once been a ship, the water was filled only with floating debris, dead fish, torn life jackets, lumber and other unidentifiable objects. The smell of death, and fire, and gasoline, and oil was evident and nauseating. This was sudden death, and horror, unwanted and unasked for, but complete.”
The Coast Guard initially though the explosion was an enemy attack. They actually continued to think that until July 1947. By June 10, 1949, it was officially determined not to have been the result of enemy attack. Unfortunately, there would be no real answers as to what happened. The remains of the 250 men who lost their lives were originally buried at the Army, Navy, and Marine Cemetery in Guadalcanal with full military honors and religious services. Later, however, the remains were repatriated under the program for the return of World War II dead in 1949. The mass recommittal of the 250 unidentified dead took place in section 34 at MacArthur Circle, Arlington National Cemetery. The remains were placed in 52 caskets and buried in 28 graves near the intersection of Jesup and Grant Drives. The two survivors both earned the Purple Heart injuries sustained.
Imagine an airplane simply disappearing…without a trace. These days, that scenario seems both far fetched, and yet not so far fetched. After Malaysia Flight 370 went missing and wasn’t found for a long time, the people began to wonder if it had been hijacked and taken to a communist country. Many people are still skeptical concerning the wreckage that was located. Nevertheless, Malaysia Flight 370 was not the first flight to go missing, many planes have gone missing, some never to be seen again. The big shock with the Malaysia flight was that there were so many locators on these planes. We couldn’t figure out how this could happen with so many gadgets to find missing planes.
In years gone by, flight locating equipment was not as readily available. For that reason, planes disappearing was more common. On March 16, 1962, one of the strangest disappearances of modern times occurred. Flying Tiger Line Flight 739 still remains a mystery. It is the worst aviation accident in the Lockheed Constellation series. The strange thing was that there was no reported accident involving the flight, and yet the general belief is the plane was involved in an in-flight explosion. This information came from a potential witness on a civilian tanker. Nevertheless, no wreckage, debris, or bodies were ever found, although the search and rescue efforts of the US military were extensive. The frustration must have massive. Looking…but finding no signs of wreckage.
The biggest reason that the lost flight still remains a mystery, is that without wreckage, there was no way to determine probable cause of the accident. The explosion remains the best cause, but there is a conspiracy theory which insists that sabotage could have been in play. Flight 739, an L-1049 Super Constellation, took off from the Travis Air Force Base on the March 16th and went missing in the area of the Aleutian Islands. The Civil Aeronautics Board determined that, based on the tanker’s observations, Flight 739 probably exploded in-flight, though an exact cause could not be determined without examining the remnants of the aircraft. As of this date, flight 739 remains the worst aviation accident involving the Lockheed Constellation series.
On December 21, 1988, at 7:00pm, Pan Am Flight 103 from London to New York exploded in midair over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing all 243 passengers and 16 crew members aboard, as well as 11 Lockerbie residents on the ground. A bomb hidden inside an audio cassette player detonated in the cargo area when the plane was at an altitude of 31,000 feet. The disaster, which became the subject of Britain’s largest criminal investigation, was believed to be an attack against the United States, because although the passengers came from 21 countries, the majority, 189 of the 259 victims on the plane were American. Islamic terrorists were accused of planting the bomb on the plane while it was at the airport in Frankfurt, Germany. The investigation lasted for years, 15,000 people were interviewed and 180,000 pieces of evidence were examined. Finally, in 2001, Mohmed al-Megrahi was convicted and sentenced to 20…and later 27 years in prison. Lamin Khalifa Fhimah was acquitted, and the Libyan government eventually agreed to pay damages to the families of the victims.
The lateness of the explosion made much of the recovery impossible until the stark light of day, when the horror really became clear to the world. The reasons for the attack, in the minds of Islamic terrorists were to destroy life as much as possible, and I’m sure they thought they had succeeded. Yes, the people who died and their family, will never get over their loss. It just doesn’t work that way. It never goes away, but out of that tragedy, came something amazing too…the Lockerbie Heroes.
Lockerbie is a small town in Scotland, and something like this attack is unheard of. Such things seemed so far away, but as we all know, such things can come to small towns, and it is then that these little hamlets take center stage…sometimes for a short time, sometimes for years, and sometimes its forever. This small town took it upon themselves, to make a difference. Most of us would run away from the horror, or hide so we didn’t have to face it, but not the citizens of Lockerbie. Every member of this town turned out, and with no specific plan in place, they simply started to help. On that December day in 1988, a Pan Am flight had blown up, and hundreds of pieces of metal, random, objects, and body parts come raining out of the sky.
Most of us assume that we would go into state of panic, but the people of Lockerbie didn’t have time to panic. They were too busy diving into the wreckage to collect any personal items they might find. No, not to keep them or sell them on eBay, it was the 80’s after all. They did it simply to comfort the victim’s families. In order to store the tens of thousands of debris pieces that had been scattered over 845 square miles, the first thing the townspeople did was build a warehouse. Any items that weren’t of forensic value were left for the townspeople to organize. These The compassionate people of Lockerbie knew that they couldn’t hand them to the bereaved families looking so ugly. The reality was that seeing these items in the condition they were now, would be pure torture. The townspeople decided to perform an act of love and compassion. Working as a gigantic assembly line of washers and dryers and ironers and folders, the townspeople restored the countless items of clothing scattered across the charred, muddy, usually quite apocalyptic landscape. They developed rolls and film and put diaries back together to identify the owners, while any stray rings, wallets, and other effects were carefully matched up to the corresponding suitcase. In one instance, the State Department informed one family that they couldn’t have their daughter’s stuff back because it was “too badly damaged.” The people of Lockerbie scoffed at that and un-damaged it. What a gift. You can’t help but cry and the enormity of their kindness.
Before long, the relatives flocked to Lockerbie in order to be near to the site of the crash. The town opened its doors and took them in, setting the foundation for friendships that still survive today. Christmas cards are exchanged, letters are written, and families still journey to the town. It takes a lot of awesome to turn a town from “giant crater where my loved one died” to “place of friendship and comfort.” As the years have passed, the people coming aren’t as many, but the town of Lockerbie and the world remember each and every victim.
One of the first American battleships, the USS Maine weighed more than 6,000 tons and was built at a cost of more than $2 million. That was a lot of money back in 1884, when the USS Maine, several other new battleships, and other warships built by the United States Navy to modernize the fleet. The Maine was launched on November 18, 1889, and commissioned on September 17, 1895.
The ship was sent to Cuba on a friendly visit to protect the interests of Americans there after a rebellion against Spanish rule broke out in Havana in January, 1898. On February 15, 1898, while sitting in Cuba’s Havana harbor, the ship suddenly exploded, killing 260 of the fewer than 400 American crewmen onboard. The massive explosion of unknown origin, was the subject of an official U.S. Naval Court of Inquiry, which ruled in March that the ship was blown up by a mine, without directly placing the blame on Spain. The majority of Congressmen and of the American public felt that there was little doubt that Spain was responsible and they called for a declaration of war.
Diplomatic failures to resolve the USS Maine explosion, in addition to the indignation the United States felt over Spain’s brutal suppression of the Cuban rebellion and continued losses to American investment, led to the outbreak of the Spanish-American War in April 1898. The destruction of USS Maine and the loss of life that accompanied it, played a large part in the beginning of that war. As we have seen in history both before and after this incident, waking the sleeping giant that is the United States is never a good idea. We may be slow to enter a war, but when we get into one, we go into it full bore. When this giant goes to war, we go to win.
It took the United States only three months to decisively defeat the Spanish forces on land and sea. In August an armistice halted the fighting. On December 12, 1898, the Treaty of Paris was signed between the United States and Spain, officially ending the Spanish-American War and granting the United States its first overseas empire with the ceding of such former Spanish possessions as Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines. In 1976, a team of American naval investigators concluded that the Maine explosion was likely caused by a fire that ignited its ammunition stocks, not by a Spanish mine or act of sabotage. I guess we will never know for sure.
Anytime an industrial accident happens, an investigation follows. With each investigation, come answers to what happened, and eventually better safety regulations to prevent future accidents from occurring. On February 7, 2008, the Imperial Sugar Plant in Wentworth, Georgia exploded, killing 14 people and injuring 47 more. The explosion was a mystery, for a while. An attack didn’t make sense. the plant wasn’t a typical terrorist target.
Eventually, the investigators traced the root of the explosion to sugar dust. How could that be, you might ask, but dust is explosive…and not just sugar dust. The answer is, “Yes, dust is explosive.” Dust explosions can happen when a build up of dust particles is ignited by something as simple as static electricity or tool sparks. The Imperial Sugar Plant was built in 1916 and still operated with out of date construction materials and methods. It also suffered from poor housekeeping practices, which is what lead to the explosion of 2008. It could have probably been avoided if the work spaces had been kept clean. I don’t eat much sugar these days, and when I read about things like a dirty work space in a sugar plant, I think that maybe that is not a bad thing.
According to the report, the machinery used to process the sugar was not well maintained, and would spill sugar onto the floor and surrounding areas. the amount of sugar often built up to knee deep. Workers would use compressed air to clean the floors of loose sugar dust, which just caused it to accumulate in high places such as rafters, beams, light fixtures and inside ventilation ducts. There were dust collectors, but these were not regularly cleaned and maintained, and were too small to handle the amount of dust created by the practice of blowing the sugar out of the way.
To complicate matters, there was a tunnel underneath the silos used to store the sugar. A steel conveyor belt was used to transport the sugar. Because of poor maintenance, the conveyor belt regularly became blocked by clumps of sugar, which would then spill sugar dust onto the floor. In 2007 the company decided to enclose this conveyor belt in steel sheets to prevent contamination, but this took away the ventilation that cleared dangerous accumulations of sugar dust from the tunnel.
The first explosion took place inside the enclosed conveyor belt. A blockage caused a buildup of sugar dust. Then an overheated bearing created an the necessary ignition spark. This first sugar dust explosion traveled throughout the building, causing numerous other explosions as the accumulated dust became airborne and ignited. The explosion was powerful enough to buckle the building’s concrete floors, sending the accumulated dust on the floor into the air, as well as knocking high area dust down.
The management at Imperial Sugar knew all about the sugar dust explosion risk, but did nothing to prevent this catastrophe from happening. Their lack of preparation, and the loss of life, caused new legislation to be created to manage combustible dust hazards, and OSHA has labelled combustible dust one of their top priorities in the upcoming years. Unfortunately, it took a catastrophe of epic proportions to get the legislation in place.
Coal mining, especially underground coal mining can be a dangerous occupation. No matter how hard the safety coordinators tried to keep people safe, and no matter how stringent the safety regulations were, accidents happened and sometimes, lives were lost. Coal mining was especially dangerous when coal dust ignited. Explosions were the main cause of death in the mines,especially the underground mines. And that was just the instantaneous death. Breathing the dust caused a slow death over time. In 1883, the creation of the Norfolk and Western Railway opened a gateway to the untapped coalfields of southwestern West Virginia. New mining towns sprung up in the region practically overnight, with European immigrants and African Americans from the south pouring into southern West Virginia looking for work in the new industry. By the late 19th century, West Virginia was a national leader in the production of coal,but the state fell far behind other major coal-producing states in regulating the mining conditions. In addition to poor economic conditions, West Virginia had a higher mine death rate than any other state. Nationwide, a total of 3,242 Americans were killed in mine accidents in 1907, but no one accident could compare to the accident that was about to unfold as the year neared its end. No on was prepared for the horror that was to come in Monongah in December.
The worst mining accident in United States occurred on December 6, 1907. The mine was the Monongah Coal Mine in West Virginia’s Marion County. on that date, an explosion in a network of mines owned by the Fairmont Coal Company in Monongah killed 362 coal miners. Officially, there were 367 men in the two mines, but the actual number was much higher because officially registered workers often took their children and other relatives into the mine to help. No one thought of the practice as dangerous. At 10:28am an explosion occurred that killed most of the men inside the mine instantly. The blast went on to cause considerable damage to both the mine and the surface. The ventilation systems, necessary to keep fresh air supplied to the mine, were destroyed along with many rail cars and other equipment. The explosion blew the timbers supporting the roof down causing further issues when the roof collapsed. Investigators believed that an electrical spark or one of the miners’ open flame lamps ignited coal dust or methane gas, but the cause of the explosion was not determined.
Time was of the essence to bring people out of a mine accident alive, because at that time they didn’t know much about restoring the air supply to the people trapped below. The first volunteer rescuers entered the two mines 25 minutes after the initial explosion. The biggest threats to rescuers are the various fumes, particularly “blackdamp”, a mix of carbon dioxide and nitrogen that contains no oxygen, and “whitedamp”, which is carbon monoxide. The lack of breathing apparatus at the time made venturing into these areas impossible. Rescuers could only stay in the mine for 15 minutes at a time. In a vain effort to protect themselves, some of the miners tried to cover their faces with jackets or other pieces of cloth. While this may filter out particulate matter, it would not protect the miners in an oxygen-free environment. The toxic fume problems were compounded by the infrastructural damage caused by the initial explosion…mines require large ventilation fans to prevent toxic gas buildup, and the explosion at Monongah had destroyed all of the ventilation equipment. The inability to clear the mine of gases transformed the rescue effort into a recovery effort. One Polish miner was rescued and four Italian miners escaped. Following the accident, the United Mine Workers of America labor union and sympathetic legislators forced safety regulations that brought a steady decline in death rates in West Virginia and elsewhere.
Following instructions and paying close attention to those instructions are crucial to the safe operation of a plane, especially at take offs and landings. When the pilot of Comair Flight 5191 taxied to the runway of his takeoff, something went horribly wrong. He was told to proceed to Runway 22, but he turned one lane too early, and ended up taking off on Runway 26, which was too short for a safe take off of a plane of that size. Comair 1591, was a CRJ-100ER plane that was carrying 47 passengers and 3 crew members. Instead of using runway 22 as expected, they used runway 26 which had too short of a path for a safe takeoff, even though Captain Jeffrey Clay confirmed using runway 22. He inadvertently took a left too early according to the map. At Blue Grass Airport in Lexington, Kentucky, on August 27, 2006, 49 of the 50 passengers and crew died while taking off from the airport. It’s hard to say at what point the pilot knew he was in trouble, but as the plane reached the end of the runway, they knew that there had not been enough time to gt the plane up to speed,and they simply couldn’t get enough lift to get it safely in the air. “They must have almost cleared the fence because only the top of it was missing and then the tips of some trees further out were also burnt off,” said Nick Bentley, who owns the 115-acre farm where the plane crashed, referring to an 8-foot metal fence that separates his property from the airport’s 3,500-foot runway.
Shortly after 6am, Comair flight 1591 crashed in a field just half a mile from the Blue Grass Airport in an area of Kentucky known for its horse farms and the Keeneland Race Course. The plane was traveling from Lexington to Atlanta, when it went down. Peggy Young, who lives on Rice Road, near the area where the plane came down, said that just after 6am she and her husband Michael were awakened by the sound of the crash. “There was a loud explosion,” she said in a telephone interview. “We thought it was just a storm, but then we thought it was too loud to be a storm because it had just barely rained. We just were sleeping in when the phone rang and it was Keeneland security and they told my husband there had been an airplane crash.”
First Officer James Polehinke was the only survivor of the crash. He suffered broken bones, a collapsed lung, and severe bleeding. In the end, the ultimate blame was put on the captain, because he didn’t abort liftoff despite questioning his surroundings. Nevertheless, the airport was found to be using outdated maps and had needed to improve runway markings and conditions.So in reality there was blame to go around, and because of the errors, 49 people lost their lives that day in August, twelve years ago. “The whole airport shut down from Aug. 18 to 20,” said Brian Ellestad, the director of marketing and community relations.