The Great Outdoors


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via Futility Closet by Greg Ross on 10/25/11

On Nov. 20, 1980, Leonce Viator Jr. went fishing with his nephew on Louisiana's Lake Peigneur. He might have noted two worrisome things: Below the lake was a salt mine, and above it was a drilling rig.

The drill punctured the mine's roof, and the resulting whirlpool devoured two oil rigs, 11 barges, a tugboat, a loading dock, "assorted greenhouses," a house trailer, several tractors, countless trees, and most of the Live Oak Botanic Gardens. Amazingly, the water drained so quickly that Viator's 14-foot aluminum boat was stuck in the mud at the lake's bottom, and the pair were able to walk away.

No one was killed, but Lake Peigneur is now saltwater.


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