Ten Steps to Disaster

Watch Ten Steps to Disaster

  • 2021
  • 2 Seasons
  • 7.0  (19)

Ten Steps to Disaster is a fascinating four-part documentary series from Smithsonian Channel that explores some of the biggest disasters of the modern era, from aviation accidents to nuclear meltdowns. In each episode, a team of experts examines the case study of a different disaster, breaking down the ten crucial events and decisions that led to the catastrophic outcome.

The show is hosted by Mica Endsley, a world-renowned expert in human factors and cognitive engineering, and Gareth Rogers, a veteran helicopter pilot and former head of accident investigation for the UK Civil Aviation Authority. They are joined by a range of other experts, including former pilots, air traffic controllers, engineers, and safety analysts, who provide valuable insights into the complex systems and processes that underpin modern technology and transport.

The first episode of the series focuses on the 2009 crash of Air France Flight 447, which killed all 228 people on board. Using detailed computer simulations and expert analysis, the team identifies the ten key factors that contributed to the disaster, including a faulty airspeed sensor, confusion among the flight crew, and the limits of human perception and response in high-stress situations.

In the second episode, the team turns their attention to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which released nearly five million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico and caused extensive damage to marine ecosystems and coastal communities. Through interviews with industry insiders and environmental advocates, the show explores the ten critical decisions and actions that led to the disaster, from mistakes in well design and configuration to lax safety regulations and inadequate emergency response protocols.

The third episode of the series focuses on the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, which resulted from a massive earthquake and subsequent tsunami that damaged the plant's cooling systems and led to meltdowns in three of the plant's reactors. The team examines the ten critical factors that led to the disaster, including flawed design and safety culture, inadequate training and communication, and the complex interplay of technical and social factors in high-consequence events.

Finally, the fourth episode of the series takes on the 2018 Lion Air Flight 610 crash in Indonesia, which killed all 189 people on board. Using black box data and eyewitness accounts, the team investigates the ten critical steps that led to the disaster, from previous maintenance issues and faulty equipment to the confusing and insufficient response of both the flight crew and ground operations.

Throughout the series, the experts provide fascinating insights into the complex world of modern technology and transport, as well as the psychological and social factors that can influence decision-making and risk assessment in high-stress situations. With stunning visuals, detailed reconstructions, and gripping storytelling, Ten Steps to Disaster is a must-see for anyone interested in science, technology, or human behavior.

Ten Steps to Disaster is a series that is currently running and has 2 seasons (12 episodes). The series first aired on September 6, 2021.

Ten Steps to Disaster
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Where to Watch Ten Steps to Disaster
Ten Steps to Disaster is available for streaming on the Smithsonian Channel website, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch Ten Steps to Disaster on demand at Paramount+, Amazon Prime, Philo, Amazon, Vudu, FuboTV and Apple TV.
  • Premiere Date
    September 6, 2021
  • IMDB Rating
    7.0  (19)