Emmerdale’s worst disasters – from plane crash to Woolpack burning down

Emmerdale has pulled off some spectacular soap stunts over the years, from helicopter crashes to huge explosions.

The disasters have marked the end for many characters, and left villagers shook in the aftermath, taking viewers by shock each and every time.

We've watched The Woolpack flood and be struck by lightning, and now it looks set to go up in flames this Christmas in a dramatic storyline which could see the iconic pub destroyed.

As we eagerly await to see the festive storyline unravel, we take a look back through some of Emmerdale's worst disasters over the years…

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Plane Crash – 1993

Emmerdale made headlines when it aired a disastrous plane crash in December 1993. The crash saw four regular characters killed off, Archie Brooks, Elizabeth Pollard, Leonard Kempinski and Mark Hughes.

The episode has became one of the most significant of all time, and saw the soap hit record-breaking viewing figures, with 18million people tuning in to watch the disaster unfold.

The crash led the on-screen village Beckindale to be renamed as Emmerdale, as a tribute to the Sugden family who owned Emmerdale Farm.

Bus Crash – 2000

In 2000, a group of characters were en route to Hatton in a mini-bus when a faulty Tate Haulage truck crashed into the vehicle.

The crash saw all of the passengers crushed, with Butch Dingle ending up hospitalised due his injuries.

More heartbreaking scenes followed, as Butch married his girlfriend Emily in hospital before tragically passing away days later.

The Storm – 2003

A huge storm struck the village on New Year's Eve in 2003, just as the locals were gathering in The Woolpack to celebrate.

Lightning struck the pub's chimney and it completely collapsed on top of many party-goers, with Tricia Dingle buried beneath the rubble.

While others such as Ashley Thomas and Louise Appleton were rescued from the rubble, Tricia tragically died in hospital days later after sustaining multiple injuries.

Home Fire – 2006

The Kings' had recently unveiled their lavish new-build development, but it was soon destroyed.

The entire place went up in flames when a gas explosion ensued, with the entire cast either in the building or watching from outside, as it completely collapsed. The explosion saw three cast members confirmed dead, Noreen Bell, Dawn Woods, and estate agent David.

The Woolpack Flood – 2013

Serial killer Cameron Murray escaped police custody and returned to the village to inflict further terror on its residents in 2013.

Having stolen a shotgun, he entered The Woolpack and took various villagers hostage. Police attempted to negotiate with the killer, but he was determined to convince Debbie to leave with him and start a new life, which she had refused to do.

Cameron eventually freed all of the hostages, apart from Debbie and Chas. The cellar had began to flood, but Chas and Debbie managed to escape thanks to help from the police.

With the pub completely flooded, Cameron came into contact with the cellar's light which electrocuted and killed him instantly.

Helicopter Crash – 2015

2015 saw Chrissie blow up husband Robert's car after he cheated on her, which had devastating effects.

Fire debris shot into the air and into the path of a helicopter, prompting it to crash into the village hall, just as Debbie and Pete's wedding had started.

The helicopter also crashed into a fairground which was situated on the green, and trapped Val in a hall of mirrors in harrowing scenes.

Viewers watched in shock as Val passed away after being stabbed by a falling shard of glass while trapped.

Mill Cottage Explosion – 2016

In 2016, another explosion took place when Rakesh Kotecha set fire to Mill Cottage in a bid to claim insurance after struggling financially.

After setting it alight, he realised Nicola King was trapped upstairs in the building, prompting Rakesh and local builder Ronnie Hale to enter the burning building in a bid to save her.

Eventually, they all managed to escape, but Ronnie was hospitalised after being knocked out by toxic fumes.

In the episodes that followed, Nicola found out she was paralysed on her right-hand side after sustaining injuries in the fire, which left her and her family completely devastated.

Motorway Crash – 2016

One of Emmerdale's biggest disasters came in 2016, when Emma threw her husband James off a bridge following a huge showdown between the pair.

Beneath the bridge was a busy motorway, with several characters all driving towards their own storylines at the time. It resulted in a huge pile-up of cars, with one crash following another as various characters found themselves in danger.

James died from his fall, and many villagers sustained serious injuries in the episodes that followed.

Woolpack Fire – 2021

Emmerdale is set to mark Christmas 2021 with another disaster, as iconic pub The Woolpack will go up in flames causing havoc for many residents.

First-look images show the pub boarded up and closed for business following the terrifying blaze. Smoke stains can be seen on the front of the building, with a skip filled with shrapnel visible.

Emmerdale producers and stars are remaining tight-lipped about the storyline however, and it's yet to be revealed how the fire happens, or who it may involve.

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