This could be the dictionary definition of “a rough day at work”

Next time you’re having a rough day at work, thank God that you aren’t having as bad day as those who were on-site at the Nedelin catastrophe in the Soviet Union in 1960:

People near the rocket were instantly incinerated; those farther away were burned to death or poisoned with the resulting toxic gases. Andrei Sakharov described many details—as soon as the engines were fired, most of the personnel there ran to the perimeter but were trapped in it by the security fence and then engulfed in the fireball of burning fuel.

Incinerated, burned to death, poisoned by toxic gases, or engulfed in a fireball of burning fuel.

Nice set of choices, for a rough day at work. Hmmm. I guess I’ll take incinerated, please. If you’re going to end up dead anyway, might as well get it over with.

On the other hand, some of us are all, like, “I broke a shoelace and I had to walk around all day like that!”. Or, “Sat in traffic for an hour and forty minutes and I really REALLY had to go to the potty!”. Poor dears.

There is also the “Some toolbox stole my lunch out of the fridge!”. Or even, on particularly horrifying days, “Starbucks was too crowded and I had to start work without my mocha latte!”. To quote Joseph Conrad from Heart of Darkness: “the horror”.

At least 90 were killed. The catastrophe is named after Mitrofan Nedelin, the commander of the Soviet R-16 rocket development program.

This was kept secret until the 1990s, by the way. You can do that when you control the media.

1 comment
  1. xiwhang said:

    The Soviet space program’s history is rife with all sorts of work accidents [capsules crashing, burning up on re-entry, cosmonauts lost in orbit], most of which were covered up for 40 years or even still to this day. Very intriguing stuff.