It was on this day in 1986 that an explosion occurred at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the then-Soviet Union (now Ukraine). The accident happened during a systems test of a new safety procedure, and the resulting fires spewed radioactive smoke across Europe and the western part of Russia. Over 350,000 people were evacuated from surrounding areas. Over 30 fatalities have been directly connected to this catastrophe, and it is estimated that anywhere from 2,000 to 800,000 more deaths are related. 2,500 employees still work at the plant (though it is no longer producing power) and the “sealed zone” surrounding the area is expected to be open to tourists later this year.
Wiki‘s earliest listing for this day is “1336 – Francesco Petrarca (Petrarch) ascends Mont Ventoux” and the most recent one is “2005 – Under international pressure, Syria withdraws the last of its 14,000 troop military garrison in Lebanon, ending its 29-year military domination of that country ( Syrian occupation of Lebanon ).”
Few other things that also happened on this day include:
1865 – John Wilkes Booth caught and killed by Federal troops.
1933 – The Gestapo is formed in Nazi Germany.
1991 – Seventy tornadoes touch down across the MidWestern area of the US, including the year’s only F5 tornado. Nationwide, 23 people died in the storms.
Wishes for a happy birthday go to Jessica Lynch, Gary Wright, and Carol Burnett.