The 10 Worst Snow Disasters in History

  • 218 B.C.. Alps. Avalanches decimate Hannibal¿s armies as they try to cross the Alps with elephants. Twenty thousand soldiers and many elephants are lost.
  • 1618. Plurs, Switzerland. A snowslide (known as the Rodi avalanche) buries the town of Plurs, claiming 2,427 victims.
  • 1910. Wellington, Wa. A large avalanche crushes two trains, killing 97 passengers. It is one of the worst train disasters in U.S. history.
  • 1916. Tyrol. During World War I, a series of avalanches kills at least 10.000 Austrian and Italian soldiers over a 48-hour period. During the war, soldiers from both sides also use avalanches as weapons, setting off slides with explosives to kill the enemies downhill.
  • 1950-1951. Austrian, Swiss and Italian Alps. An exceptionally snowy winter brings a series of avalanches that kill more than 200 people.
  • 1954. Blons, Austria. An avalanche destroys the small village of Blons. Nine hours later, a second avalanche hits the town burying the rescuers. The total death toll is higher than 200.
  • 1962, Ranrahirca, Peru. On January 10t a huge mass of snow breaks loose from 22,000-foot-high Mt. Huascar¿n, wiping out the villages of Ranrahirca and Yungay. Compressed air produced by the avalanche also destroys other villages downhill, killing about 4,000 people. It is the worst snow disaster in peacetime.
  • 1979, Lahaul Valley, India. A series of avalanches bury the valley, leaving at least 200 victims .
  • 1991, Bingol, Turkey. An avalanche hits several towns, killing 255 people.
  • 2002, Republic of North Ossetia, Caucasus. A 20-million-ton avalanche from Mt. Kazbek kills 150 people, including emerging Russian movie star and director Sergei Bodrov Jr., and members of his location filming crew.
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