Disasters are by their nature unpredictable. We have to keep relearning that.
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 was still missing this week, fate of the 239 people onboard still unknown, but with the feeling they are on the bottom of the Indian Ocean somewhere growing stronger. Hope is fading that the search for the plane off the coast of Australia will continue to be fruitless, and we will never know why the plane disappeared.
Authorities, on the other hand, know exactly where the South Kerry ferry is off South Korea’s southwest coast. Rescuers were able to rescue some of its passengers before the vessel sank completely. As of Friday, 28 bodies had been recovered, and more than 250 people were still missing. There were 475 people onboard, most of them high school students on a one-day outing. We still don’t know why the ferry capsized, but there arrest warrants were filed for the captain and two other crew members for deserting their ship and passengers.
If some people have the ability to make a tragedy worse, they will. It was learned this week that hundreds of text messages allegedly sent by the students to family members were faked. There was talk of charging the fakers, if ever caught, with obstruction of justice, which hardly seems strong enough.
Also late this week, an avalanche swept Mount Everest, killing at least 12, and a magnitude 7.5 earthquake shook Mexico City.
That’s something else we know about disasters. Sometimes they seem to come in bunches. The universe does know how to keep us humble.