9 episodes

You’ve heard the stories. You’ve felt for the people involved. But what happens after the cameras shut off and the reporters walk away? Just because a story disappears from the news doesn’t mean it’s gone. So whatever happened to the nuclear disaster at Fukushima? or the trapped Chilean Miners? And did anything actually come out of the Ice Bucket Challenge?

Join Global News reporter, Erica Vella on this unique history podcast as she takes you inside these stories and talks to the people at the heart of each one to find out exactly what’s happened since. 

Whatever Happened To...‪?‬ Curiouscast

    • History
    • 5.0 • 38 Ratings

You’ve heard the stories. You’ve felt for the people involved. But what happens after the cameras shut off and the reporters walk away? Just because a story disappears from the news doesn’t mean it’s gone. So whatever happened to the nuclear disaster at Fukushima? or the trapped Chilean Miners? And did anything actually come out of the Ice Bucket Challenge?

Join Global News reporter, Erica Vella on this unique history podcast as she takes you inside these stories and talks to the people at the heart of each one to find out exactly what’s happened since. 

    Drowned boy on the beach - Alan Kurdi & the Syrian refugee crisis | 8

    Drowned boy on the beach - Alan Kurdi & the Syrian refugee crisis | 8

    In early September in 2015, a photo of a young boy lying lifeless on a beach in the Mediterranean captured the world’s attention. The picture showed two-year-old Alan Kurdi lying face down in the sand.

    Kurdi and his family were attempting to cross the Mediterranean by boat after fleeing war-torn Syria, but on the journey Alan, his brother Ghalib and mother Rehana perished; Abdullah Kurdi, the family’s father and husband, was the only one to survive.

    Tima Kurdi, Abdullah’s sister and Alan’s aunt, spoke about the night the family boarded the boat in Bodrum, Turkey.

    Tima said she went to grab her phone and noticed she had dozens of missed calls; she called her sister-in-law who was living in Turkey.

    The journey the Kurdi family took was one thousands of Syrians attempted at the height of the civil war.

    On this episode of the Global News podcast Whatever Happened To…?, journalist Erica Vella revisits the story of Alan Kurdi and the Syrian refugee crisis and speaks with Tima about the Kurdi family’s devastating journey and finds out how the photo of Alan mobilized Canada to take action and help thousands of Syrians fleeing persecution.

    Contact:

    Twitter: @ericavella

    Email: erica.vella@globalnews.ca

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 45 min
    Lac Megantic | 7

    Lac Megantic | 7

    On this episode of the Global News podcast Whatever Happened To…?, journalist Erica Vella revisits the 2013 Lac Megantic train derailment.

    In the early hours of July 6, 2013, a train carrying petroleum crude oil crashed into the centre of Lac Megantic, a small town in Quebec.

    The downtown core erupted in flames; 47 people perished, 2,000 people were evacuated from their homes. The tragedy marks one of the worst rail disasters in Canadian history.

    The incident happened at 1:15 a.m. July 6, 2013, when a runaway train with 72 oil tankers — owned and operated by the now-bankrupt railway company Montreal Maine and Atlantic Railway Ltd. (MMA) — barreled into the town at over 100 km/h.

    Along with the 47 deaths, much of the town was also destroyed.

    The Transportation Safety Board launched an investigation into the derailment and found 18 factors led to the Lac-Megantic disaster, including poor training, mechanical problems and sloppy safety oversight, a Transportation Safety Board (TSB) investigation concluded.

    Three men, Tom Harding, Richard Labrie and Jean Demaitre, were charged following the derailment, but in 2018 a jury had found the men not guilty.

    On this episode of Whatever Happened To…, Erica Vella visits the town of Lac Megantic to speak with people who witnessed the tragedy over seven years ago. She describes what the town looks like know and finds out if any changes were made to ensure a derailment like this never happens again.

    Contact:

    Twitter: @ericavella

    Email: erica.vella@globalnews.ca

    If you enjoy Whatever Happened To...? please take a minute to rate it on Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts, tell us what you think and share the show with your friends.

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 46 min
    Australian Bushfires | 6

    Australian Bushfires | 6

    Following years of drought, Australia was ravaged by sweeping bushfires that began in 2019; 33 people were killed and thousands of others were displaced.

    Bushfires are an annual threat during Australia’s dry summers, but this wave of fires came early, catching many by surprise.

    The speed of the fires, coupled with the consistently dry conditions, created a situation firefighters struggled to control.

    New South Wales, a coastal state, was the hardest hit. The region located in the eastern part of the country is home to about six million people.

    Nathan Barnden, who has been working as a volunteer firefighter for the New South Wales Rural Fire Service since he was 16 years old, knew the 2019 fires were going to be bad ones.

    According to Australia’s Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, more than 10 million hectares of land was affected.

    The World Wildlife Fund estimates the bushfires killed or displaced nearly three billion animals, including 143 million mammals, 2.5 billion reptiles, 180 million birds and 51 million frogs.

    The devastation motivated people around the world to donate.

    The Wildlife Information Rescue and Education Service — also known as WIRES — received more than $90 million to help native Australian wildlife.

    In this episode, Erica Vella speaks with Barnden about his story, learns about the animals and land that was destroyed and finds out how the country is recovering since the massive blaze a year ago.

    Contact:

    Twitter: @ericavella

    Email: erica.vella@globalnews.ca

    If you enjoy Whatever Happened To...? please take a minute to rate it on Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts, tell us what you think and share the show with your friends

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 49 min
    Pulse Nightclub | 5

    Pulse Nightclub | 5

    Brandon Wolf recalls the hours leading up to June 12, 2016 vividly. He said he made plans to go out with his friends Christopher Andrew (Drew) Leinonen and Juan Ramon Guerrero.

    They decided to go to Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando.

    At 2:02 a.m. a man armed with a semi-automatic rifle and a handgun walked into the tightly packed club and began firing.

    The massacre is on record as one of the deadliest mass shootings of LGBTQ2S+ people in the U.S. Forty-nine people were killed and 53 others were injured by gunfire, most of whom were LGBTQ2S+ and many were people of colour.

    On this episode, Erica Vella revisits the story of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Fla., on June 12, 2016 and speaks with Brandon Wolf about his experience as a survivor and how witnessing the shooting that night changed the course of his life.

    She also finds what happened to the nightclub and the investigation into the mass shooting and if the events led to any changes in the U.S.

    Contact:

    Twitter: @ericavella

    Email: erica.vella@globalnews.ca

    If you enjoy Whatever Happened To...? please take a minute to rate it on Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts, tell us what you think and share the show with your friends.

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 55 min
    SARS | 4

    SARS | 4

    On this episode of the Global News podcast Whatever Happened To…?, journalist Erica Vella revisits the SARS epidemic that gripped parts of Canada in 2003.

    This year has been an unprecedented year as the world battles the COVID-19 pandemic, but 17 years ago, parts of the world faced another coronavirus -- Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, better known as SARS.

    Erica Vella looks back at the SARS epidemic and explains how one superspreading event brought the virus to Toronto, where health-care workers were among the hardest hit.

    Sylvia Gordon was working in the critical care unit at Scarborough Grace Hospital in 2003 and there was one day in early March that she recalls vividly.

    “I was doing a day shift -- a 12-hour day shift -- we had trouble staffing and I stayed on for an extra hour or so,” she said.

    “Just as I was on my way out the door, I heard deep snoring. I thought, wow somebody is in trouble. I went in the room and sure enough, the patient was having like a cardiac arrest. So I put my bag down and called a code and we began resuscitating him.”

    At the time, Gordon had no idea that the patient she was resuscitating had SARS and she was now infected with the virus.

    “Initially I thought I was coming down with the flu. It was, you know -- you're coughing and you're feeling lethargic, running the temperature and just body pain, aches and pains all over,” she said.

    Gordon called in sick and explained what she was feeling.

    “I was told 'gosh, you know, you're not the first one. We've been getting a number of calls from other colleagues that they're not able to make it to work, that they're ill.' And then I started figuring out, well, maybe we contracted something. So I started calling my colleagues and then they described the same symptoms.”

    In Canada, there were 438 probable and suspect SARS cases reported and there were 44 deaths that included three health-care workers.

    Globally, the virus killed more than 800 people.

    Erica Vella finds out what changes were made following the SARS epidemic to protect health-care workers in Ontario and most importantly, if it helped in the battle ahead with COVID-19.

    Contact:

    Twitter: @ericavella

    Email: erica.vella@globalnews.ca

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 40 min
    The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge | 3

    The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge | 3

    On this episode of the Global News podcast Whatever Happened To…?, journalist Erica Vella revisits the story of the ice bucket challenge.

    In 2014, social media feeds were flooded with videos of people showering themselves in ice cold water; the goal was to raise awareness and money for ALS.

    Julie Frates’ husband, Pete Frates, was one of the co-creators.

    “Our good friend Pat Quinn, who has ALS and lives in New York, he was challenged and in that challenge, he also named one of Pete's good friends,” she said.

    “Pete saw it immediately and thought, okay … everyone's got to get on this right away and I remember sitting down that night at dinner and he directed all of us to go on Facebook and just continually start challenging people and sharing it.”

    The campaign went viral; celebrities like Justin Timberlake, Jimmy Fallon and Bill Gates joined in on the dare and globally over $220 million dollars was raised.

    “It was unfathomable,” she said.

    “It was shocking for us and it was shocking for everyone in the medical community. Everyone who had spent their whole career trying to research this disease; it was kind of like such a huge windfall. It was amazing and overwhelming and completely hard to grasp.”

    Pete was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in 2012. The disease weakens muscles and impairs physical functioning. There is no known cure.

    Erica Vella speaks with the family that started the viral campaign to see what has happened since 2014 and endeavors to answer; did it lead to any positive change?

    Contact:

    Twitter: @ericavella

    Email: erica.vella@globalnews.ca

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 49 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
38 Ratings

38 Ratings

Cashie2018 ,

Powerful

My heart hurt listening snd thinking about this story and so much admiration for Brandon. So eloquent. Host is great.

Best. Mom. Ever. ,

Well worth your time

There are so many podcasts clamoring for attention it’s hard to know what to listen to. Which one gets those few precious free minutes of your day? I love “follow up” shows so that’s what attracted me but it’s the in-depth, thorough reporting which kept me giving my time to this podcast. And it’s the relatable content, the human connection, which hooked me. The Pulse Nightclub episode touched my very soul and made a fundamental shift in me. This podcast should be in everyone’s library.

BonBon2214 ,

Excited to hear more

I really enjoyed the first 2 episodes and can’t wait to hear more! Great research and interviews.

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