Accidents Happen

Posted: November 26th, 2013

Accidents Happen


On July 17, 1981, a tragedy occurred in a hotel located in Kansas City. This accident left several people dead and several others injured. The residents of the city were affected either directly or indirectly. The authorities and professionals such as architectures, surveyors and engineers were left trying to find out why such a horrible thing could have occurred. Following the accident, the media took special coverage of the incident. However, as the memory of the incidence began to fade, the media took less noticed. The people that were most affected were from Kansas City. Therefore, the Kansas City newspaper had a reason to focus more on this news. A year after the incident, this accident still received special covering. Four different writers tried to cover the story from different perspectives. They enlisted the help of professionals to try to analyze what caused the accident, how it could have been prevented and who was to blame. The Kansas City accident offers a significant experience to learn from past errors. The information gathered by the four writers is important for both the public and professionals.


Document one: Accidents waiting to happen

Like the other documents, the audience is the public. This document is similar to the third document, which describes the test of beams to confirm weights. In this article, the writer takes on a scientific point of view. As opposed to the other documents, this article describes the building and the technical details vividly. The writer illustrates the architectural drawings of the hotel and the connection of the hotel’s skywalk. The article additionally explains the requirement of the building code. From the analysis, the writer concludes that the hotel was under designed. However, the codes allowed for margins. Therefore, the original building was strong in that respect. A major finding in this document further differentiates it with the other document. This document reports that there were a few occasions throughout the hotel’s construction when faults of the walkway were noticed, but the warnings were not regarded. The article moreover reveals the ruling of the U.S attorney that no offense was committed. Two months later, the attorney general filed a case. The engineers responsible were charged. This document is more detailed that the other documents.

Document two: 45 killed at hotel in Kansas City

The writer describes the accident like someone who was present immediately after it happened. The article talks about the anxiety of not knowing how many people were still trapped. It gives a vivid description of a room that the police force had used as a morgue. It continues to tell the story through the views of witnesses who were near the scene of the accident. The difference between this article and the others is the way in which the writer draws in the contribution of other people. The writer expressed the opinion of a firefighter, the hotel spokesperson and a staff member. Unlike the other papers, this article reports a natural gas leak that hindered the operations of the rescue workers. It talks about the challenges that the medical team faced during the rescue operation like the limited morgue facilities. Its similarity to the other article is the reporting of the accident. The entire perspective of this document is different from the others.

Document three: Engineers simulate collapse of Hyatt’s `Skywalks`

This article was printed months after the incident occurred. The writer talks from a scientific point of view. The targeted audience is the public. It seeks to convey more information about the accident. This document has information similar to the first document, which also adopted a scientific approach and tested beams. It has no mention of the views of witnesses. As opposed to the other articles, the narrator only describes the views of the engineer. It analyses the efforts of a team of engineers who seek to determine the technical source of the collapse. It draws conclusion from the analysis of an investigation by the engineers. The Mayor of the Kansas City requested the investigation. In their research, the engineers tried to establish a model of some sections of the hotel. Although the samples of the original materials were not available, the structural engineer found a test beam from a similar material. Tests on the beam were conducted to find the source of the problem. The engineer discovered that the problem was caused by weld failure. This article is similar to the first two documents because it was written before the investigations had officially ended.

Document four: learn from errors, Architects urged

This message comes a year after the accident. It was written to advice the architects to learn from mistakes made in the past. It further provides the public with useful information. This article is different because it does not talk about the accident. It only mentions it as evidence to support its case. The targeted audience is the schools and professional bodies of architecture and engineers. The writer tries to ague that architects and engineers can gain more insight from their errors in order to improve their services in the future. The document further offers information on defense used by these professionals. The architects and engineers claimed that they had high legal bills and claims that bothered them. They wanted the government to reduce the taxes imposed. To protect the public and improve efficiency, the panel chairperson decided to initiate a bill that launches a centralized repository of information. All cases of structural failure will be reported.




            Even though the articles had different types of information, the information revealed was beneficial to the public and the professional bodies concerned. The investors and property owners were urged not to be ignorant during construction. The architects and engineers were also urged to learn from past mistakes in order to improve in the future. The Kansas City Hotel tragedy serves as an example to the society. It teaches the society that it should improve its rules, conducts and procedures employed during constructions.







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