One of the first disasters was a fire at a soccer stadium in Bradford in May 1985. Many switched on their televisions on a Saturday afternoon for the weekly match results only to be confronted with scenes of a blazing wooden stadium and individuals, one at least on fire, running from the scene. Other disasters included an aeroplane fire at Manchester Airport during the middle of the holiday season, the sinking of a British ferry off Zeebrugge with substantial loss of life, a fire at Kings Cross, the blowing up of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie four days before Christmas, live coverage of fatal crushing at Hillsborough soccer stadium at the FA Cup semi-final and the sinking of the Marchioness pleasure boat on the River Thames during the August bank holiday weekend, 1989. [Anne Eyre, PhD]
Herald of Free Enterprise is a funny name given that it was the pursuit of profit at the cost of safety that caused the accident. [www.everything2.com] The Herald of Free Enterprise, like her sister ships Pride of Free Enterprise and Spirit of Free Enterprise, was a modern ro-ro passenger/vehicle ferry designed for use on the high-volume short Dover-Calais ferry route. [www.unisa.edu.au] The British ferry was built by Schichau Unterweser in Bremerhaven, Germany, in 1980 and owned by Townsend Thoresen, and had two sister ships: Pride of Free Enterprise and Spirit of Free Enterprise. ...
The standard passage was concluded late in the afternoon. The departure was delayed because of the large number of passengers, thanks to a special offer. The ship had a crew of 80 and carried 459 passengers, 81 cars, 3 buses, and 47 trucks. As the Zeebrugge harbour was small, it tool lot of time for the ship to maneuver out to the sea. The calm weather and clear view of the sea would have made a safe and pleasant journey for the passengers on any day, but it happened otherwise for the passengers of this ship. The bow door, which was the entrance to the car deck, had been left wide open which was the act of negligence of duty by the crew. In the sea not far away from the coast, the ship speeded up to 18 knots, which caused tons of water to invade into the ship's interior. The immense water mass caused imbalance, which made the ferry capsize on a sand bank just off the coast near Zeebrugge. This created kiosk among the passengers and crewmembers in the ship and panic struck when lights went off. Following this everyone on the ship in an attempt to get out of the ship fought each other. The British ferry Herald of Free Enterprise capsized on March 6, 1987 at ten past eight in the evening, resulting in deaths of 193 people, 150 passengers and 43 crewmembers, the highest death toll in the British history of death caused by vessel sinking since the time Titanic sank. [www.relativesremembered.com]
Although the ship did not send an SOS signal, the rescue troops were there fast. Within three hours 360 people had been saved from the sinking ship. Belgian rescue workers arrived quickly and started saving the passengers with ships and helicopters and 408 people were saved and 50 dead bodies were