Disasters in 2009: fires, hurricanes, crashes, tornadoes, floods

Updated February 21, 2017 | Factmonster Staff

January | February | March | April | June| July | August | September | October | November | December

January 2009 Disasters

  • Jan. 9, Costa Rica: at least 20 are killed and thousands more are left homeless after a 6.2 magnitude earthquake strikes the verdant mountains of northern Costa Rica, setting off landslides.
  • Jan. 12, Indonesia: more than 200 people are missing and feared dead when a 250-passenger ferry sinks off the coast of the Indonesian island of Sulawesi during a storm. A fishing boat finds and rescues 18 passengers and the captain floating in life rafts.
  • Jan. 24, France and Spain: at least 15 people die and more than one million homes are left without power when winds of more than 100 mph swept across France and Spain during the most severe storm to hit the region since 1999.
  • Jan. 26, Turkey: an avalanche slams into a group of 17 Turkish hikers on Mount Zigana, dragging them more than 1,640 ft and killing 10 of them.
  • Jan. 27-28, Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Texas: at least 23 people die due to severe storms that covered roads and power lines with snow and ice. Schools close and more than a million homes are left without electricity.

February 2009 Disasters

  • Feb. 9, Australia: over 160 people die when arsonists start fires that result in about 400 wildfires—some of the worst wildfires in Australia's history.
  • Feb. 10, Oklahoma, U.S.: a cluster of tornadoes rip through Oklahoma, killing eight people and injuring over a dozen more.
  • Feb. 12, New York, U.S.: all 45 passengers and 4 crew members die when a Continental flight from Newark to Buffalo crashes five minutes outside Buffalo airport, damaging homes, and killing one person on the ground.

March 2009 Disasters

  • March 10, Alabama, U.S.: Michael Kenneth McClendon, 28, kills at least 10 people during a shooting spree in Geneva County, Alabama. Several of McClendon's victims were members of his own family.
  • March 11, Germany: fifteen people are shot and killed at Albertville Technical High School in southwestern Germany by a 17-year-old boy who graduated from the school a year earlier.
  • March 27, North Dakota and Minnesota, U.S.: Flooding of the Red River causes the evacuation of about 150 homes in the Fargo, North Dakota area. The neighboring town of Moorhead, MN is also evacuated and President Obama declares a state of emergency in Minnesota.

April 2009 Disasters

  • April 3, New York, U.S.: Jiverly Wong kills 13 people in an immigration center in Binghamton, NY before turning the gun on himself. Most of his victims were imigrants taking an English class.
  • April 6, Italy: an earthquake of magnitude 6.3 strikes central Italy, killing more than 200 people and injuring another 1,000. The town of L'Aquila is the epicenter of the earthquake, but as many as 26 towns in the area are affected.

June 2009 Disasters

  • June 1, Brazil: in the worst aviation disaster since 2001, Air France Airbus A330 disappears somewhere off the northeast coast of Brazil with 228 passengers on board, en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris. No mayday signals were sent before crashing.
  • June 16, Indonesia: an explosion at a coal mine in the West Sumatra province kills six people and traps at least 24 more in the 300-foot mine.
  • June 22, Washington D.C.: nine people die and over 70 more are injured when a subway train crashes at rush hour.
  • June 30, Italy: a freight train that was traveling from La Spezia to Pisa derails and crashes into a small Italian town, killing 12 people and injuring at least 50 more. One of the train cars was filled with liquefied natural gas, which exploded during the crash.
  • June 30, Indian Ocean: a Yemenia Jet, on its way to Comoros, crashes into the Indian Ocean in an attempt to land. There are 153 people on board, with only one survivor, a 14-year-old girl. Severe weather and turbulence are believed to be the cause of the crash.

July 2009 Disasters

  • July 6, China: rioting in Urumqi, China between two ethnic groups—Muslim Uighurs and Han Chinese—and the police force kills at least 156 people. Riot police lock down the Uighur portion of the city to try and stop the protests.
  • July 15, Iran: a Caspian Airlines plane crashes en route from Tehran to Yerevan, Armenia, killing all 168 passengers on impact.
  • July 24, Iran: at least 16 people died when an Aria Air flight skidded off the runway and caught fire in Mashhad, Iran.

August 2009 Disasters

  • August 7, Philippines: at least 22 tourists on Mount Pinatubo were trapped and killed when heavy rain caused flooding and landslides.
  • August 8, New York: a helicopter and plane collided over the Hudson River, killing all nine people on the private plane.
  • August 10, Taiwan: Typhoon Morakot caused a mudslide that buried schools, homes, and at least 600 people in southern Taiwan.

September 2009 Disasters

  • September 2, Indonesia: about 60 people die when a 7.1-magnitude earthquake hits the island of Java, which is the most populous area of the country.
  • September 9, Turkey: more than 30 people are killed when fast-moving floods caused by heavy rain sweep through Istanbul.
  • September 28, Philippines: almost 90 people die in and around Manila in flooding caused by Tropical Storm Ketsana, which drops about 17 inches of rain in 12 hours. The floods are Manila's worst in about 50 years.
  • September 29, Samoa and American Samoa: an underwater 8.0-magnitude earthquake causes a tsunami that kills more than 115 people.
  • September 30, Indonesia: a 7.6-magnitude earthquake hits the island of Sumatra, leaving more than 1,000 people dead and thousands trapped under the rubble of collapsed buildings in the city of Padang.

October 2009 Disasters

  • October 26, Afghanistan: 14 Americans–11 American troops and three civilians–are killed in two separate helicopter crashes in Afghanistan. The casualities contribute to one of the deadliest days of the 8-year war.

November 2009 Disasters

  • November 9, El Salvador: a small, low-pressure storm originating in the western part of the country brings an enormous amount of rainfall that causes flooding and mudslides. About 140 people are killed and some 1,500 homes are destroyed. The unnamed storm coincided with Hurricane Ida. Initial reports blamed the devastation on Ida, but officials later said Ida was not responsible.
  • November 27, Russia: 26 people are killed when a bomb explodes on a luxury train that runs from Moscow to St. Petersburg. Chechen rebels claim responsibility for the attack.

December 2009 Disasters

  • December 7, Pakistan: a suicide bomber strikes at busy market in Lahore, killing about 50 people.
  • December 8, Iraq: a series of car bombs, said to be part of a coordinated attack, destroy government buildings in Baghdad. At least 121 people are dead and 400 wounded.
  • December 30, Afghanistan: a suicide bomber kills at least 8 Americans civilians, 7 of them CIA agents, at a base in Afghanistan. It's the deadliest attack on the agency since 9/11. The attacker is reportedly a double agent from Jordan who was acting on behalf of al-Qaeda.
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