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Seconds from Desaster

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Advanced computer graphics, forensic science, eyewitness accounts, interviews with experts, archival footage and re-enactments piece together in great detail the events that led to some of the biggest disasters of modern time.

Latest episodes

aired 510 days ago
Flight 191 leaves Chicago on May 25, 1979, and crashes into a trailer park 31 seconds after take-off, claiming the lives of 273 people.
aired 510 days ago
Investigation into the cause of a tragic accident that claimed the lives of 109 passengers and crew.
aired 510 days ago
A plane crashes into a residential area of New York City two months after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
aired 510 days ago
In 1995, the Soufriere Hills volcano in Montserrat erupted for the first time in recorded history leaving many villages burned and 19 people dead.

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Statistically, traveling by airplane is safer than driving and other forms of transportation, but when something goes wrong during a flight, it can be catastrophic with potentially hundreds of lives at stake. This series examines some of the world's worst air disasters, using official reports, transcripts and interviews with people involved to tell the stories of midair mishaps and discover what went wrong in each case. Episodes include a discussion of how the weather affects flights -- including stories of aviation disasters and near-misses -- and a New Year's Eve flight that fell from the sky into the Florida Everglades.
"It's the end of the world as we know it (and I feel fine)," sang R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe, and it's a proclamation that must resonate with the people profiled in this series. That's because they are all preparing for doomsday, whether it's caused by a natural disaster, a financial collapse or a nuclear winter, and their plan is to outlast and outlive any apocalyptic scenario. The series goes inside America's "prepping" subculture and introduces otherwise ordinary folks who are stockpiling food, water, weapons and whatever else they think is necessary in the event basic services should falter and society turns chaotic and violent. Also, each prepper's plan is reviewed by the consulting firm Practical Preppers, which analyzes its potential effectiveness in case the prepper's worst fears become reality.
This award-winning series presents compelling untold stories and covers a wide array of provocative subjects. "Explorer" aired for 25 years -- the longest-running documentary series in cable TV history -- before being relaunched in 2015 after a five-year hiatus. Each monthly episode of the new "Explorer" takes a similar deep dive inside a story from the pages of a recent National Geographic magazine issue, taking viewers not only to the most remote corners of the globe but also to the furthest reaches of the mind and deepest crevices of history -- on urgent missions of discovery.