Tragedy struck my hometown of Anacortes, WA, this latest Good Friday when an explosion at the Tesoro Refinery just after midnight killed five workers and left two more in critical condition. The timing struck a chord because it was also after midnight on Good Friday, March 24, 1989, when the Exxon Valdez went aground in Alaska, a spill story I spent a lot of time covering for the Seattle Times.
The timing of the Exxon oil spill in turn struck a chord with Alaskans because it was Good Friday, March 27, 1964, when a Magnitude 9.2 earthquake struck, at the time the third largest in recorded history. It killed about 131 people and drowned whole towns with tsunami waves.
This latest explosion made me curious if there have been other Good Friday calamities.
It was Good Friday in 2005 when the MV Polar, a tanker, caught fire in Tema, Ghana, killing 15.
It was Good Friday this year when the last Rhode Island county was added to the official disaster list after catastrophic flooding that occurred last week.
Good Friday in 2009 when tornadoes swept through the a number of communities, destroying homes in Kentucky and Tennessee.
Good Friday in 1927 when ten inches of rain fell in the lower Mississippi Basin, destroying 700,000 homes and leaving up to 100 dead.
Even Good Friday in 1897 when the Clive Floods damaged New Zealand.
In statistical terms, the occasional match-up of disaster with the always-changing Good Friday date probably means little, even if it is the observance of Christ's crucifixion.
But the oil industry, at least, seems to have cause to be superstitious - and a little more careful on that date.