Making mistakes is human nature and that’s how we learn things. A mistake at work isn’t usually a tremendous problem. However, there are some instances where a mistake ends up costing human lives and billions of dollars to fix. From a devastating space shuttle explosion to a cargo ship losing over 1800 containers at sea, here are more than a few disastrous incidents that simply should not have happened.
Unbreakable Glass Huh?
They say people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones, but what about walking on a glass bridge? A man in China wanted to experience the thrill of walking on the 100m high glass bridge (330 ft), and he got the thrill of his life alright. Strong winds blew several pieces of glass floor and left him holding on for dear life.
Luckily, firefighters managed to get him back to safety, and he left the hospital in a stable emotional and physical condition. Well, that’s one strong indication that it’s best not to trust anything that involves walking on the glass at such heights.
A Plane That Lost Its Roof At 24,000 Feet
In 1988, an Aloha Airlines flight lost its roof in mid-air and still managed to land. When the flight was 24,000 feet in the air, an 18-foot section of the plane ripped off, creating an explosive decompression and a gaping hole in the fuselage. Luckily, all passengers were safe. Unfortunately, one flight attendant was sucked out of the plane. Her body was never found. One can imagine how terrifying the experience must have been for everyone.
Needless to say, this incident caused the FAA to implement new regulations for fuselage metal fatigue testing. The incident also highlights the importance of fastening the seat belt.
The Collapsed Tacoma Narrows Bridge (1940)
The 1940 Tacoma Narrows Bridge lived a short life and was the world's third-longest suspension bridge by the main span at the time of its existence. Unfortunately, it collapsed the same year it was opened to traffic. At the time of the collapse, at least four people were able to record it on film. One of the recorded footage was later sold to Paramount Studios. The footage is shown to students of engineering, physics, and architecture as a cautionary tale.
Luckily, there were no human casualties. This picture is giving us so much anxiety and the foggy abyss makes it look especially unnerving. The bridge reminds us of the movie Final Destination.
Chocolate Snow Falls Over Swiss Town
On August 14, 2020, something remarkable happened in a Swiss town when a chocolate factory malfunctioned, and chocolate powder fell from the sky like snow. It makes us sad that Willy Wonka wasn't behind this. So the incident happened when a ventilation problem launched cocoa powder into the air and the wind helped spread it across the town. Just imagine the surprise and excitement of the people in that town.
It is disappointing that we can’t find the photos of thousands of kids and adults walking around with their mouths open and tongues out. This has to be the best-smelling disaster ever.
When A Giant Whale Statue Saved The Day
On November 2, 2020, a train in the Netherlands broke through a barrier onto a statue at the end of the line. This happened in the middle of the night. Luckily, no one was injured. Maybe the whale statue was a fan of Spider-Man, particularly the scene in which he stops an out-of-control subway train. It is amazing because it’s super rare to see a whale leaping out of the water to save humans.
Whoever designed the train statue will be patting themselves on the back for the rest of their lives. Although it was a fluke, it must have been a great “tail” to tell.
Nothing to See Here, Just Chromium-6 On The Detroit Highway
In 2019, a large amount of chromium-6 leaked into the ground from a chemical storage facility that failed to contain the chemical. It was only after some time when people started noticing the hazardous green chemical oozing on the highway. At first, some people might have thought Teenage Mutant Ninjas were behind it. Or maybe it was the Hulk.
The leaked chromium came from a commercial building. When the authorities went to shut down the business, they discovered hundreds of containers filled with green hazardous waste.
A Load of Unsalvageable Cars
In 2019, cars getting transported on an open deck caught on fire due to salty water short-circuiting their batteries. This must have been terrifying for the crew. Cars burn intensely hot and between the heat and the burning fuel spilling on deck, it's a miracle that the fire didn't spread to the rest of the ship. Maybe something more than just salt water killed the cars.
How the crew explained it was basically, "oh, the cars caught fire from water." Imagine the rest of the trip for the crew as they had to look at a ship full of burnt scraps.
When Gas Explosions Devastated Taiwan City
This incident happened when gas leaked into the main water supply in Taiwan. People saw fireballs soaring into the sky and flames reaching 15 stories high. The blasts ripped up roads, trapped and overturned cars and fire trucks, and caused a blackout to the electrical grid. About 6 km of road length were damaged.
The explosions reportedly blew cars and motorcycles high up in the air. It is unfortunate that the incident happened, but it does look like an anime villain just threw the hero onto the road during their fight.
A Tasty Wine Bath
This happened when a red wine cistern ruptured at Sicilian Winery. It seems like it was one of the days at work when drinking was allowed. One can say it was either the best or worst day at work for them. In all honesty, seeing this photo quickly took us back to the famous ‘elevator of blood’ scene from the movie The Shining.
This list makes us feel jealous because we live in the wrong countries – Chocolate snowfall in Switzerland and wine baths in Italy.
The Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster
On January 28, 1986, space shuttle Challenger disintegrated 73 seconds into its flights due to a joint failure in the right SRB, which was due to SRB's O-ring inability to handle cold temperatures. It was also because NASA managers ignored warnings from engineers about the danger of launching the shuttle in cold temperatures. The managers never reported those technical concerns to their superiors.
There’s a documentary on Netflix about this called Challenger: The Final Flight. It excellently shows the grit of the exceptional people at NASA and those who lost their lives on Challenger`s flight.
Boeing 777 Engine Failed At 13000 Feet
It was definitely one of those days when no one wants the window seat. Luckily, the plane landed safely, and no one was hurt. However, we cannot say the same about the underpants of the passengers. After seeing it, the pilot must have announced, “And on the left side, you’ll see something interesting. It’s very small, so keep looking in that direction until we land. Thank you.”
It is important to understand that an aircraft is built in a way that if one system fails, the other can take over. This means that one engine malfunctioning is not enough to take down a plane (usually), which is probably why the pilots were able to land the plane safely.
Cargo Ship Seconds Before Breaking In Half
These are 2021 shots of a Ukrainian cargo ship seconds before it broke in half and sank at Bartin Anchorage, in the Black Sea. There’s a video of this incident on YouTube in which the crew is making a Mayday call as the ship is breaking in half. As we are not the biggest fans of the ocean, these photos are giving us so much anxiety. It’s scary to realize that it wasn’t even a rough sea when the incident happened.
All ships twist, flex, and bend at sea. In rough seas, metal fatigue becomes very visible. Given that this ship was from 1975, lack of maintenance was probably the reason behind the incident.
Drill Bit After Taking Out London's Internet
Okay, this is one big whoopsie. This happened on December 19, 2019. Luckily it didn't happen before the lockdown. Otherwise, people in London would've lost their minds without the internet. We keep forgetting that the internet isn't some magical system that is floating around in thin air. It really is a bunch of underwater and underground cables holding it all together. This was a complete mess up on the part of the company doing the work. There are many things they should have used, checked, and found out beforehand to prevent it from happening.
Hey, at least the drill operator looks proud of himself. He has that look of "who the hell put all these cables here to mess up my drill bit?"
A Functioning Dutch Windmill From 1848 Burned Down
First, let us clear that this isn't the last scene in the original Frankenstein movie. The windmill was from 1848 in Bovenkarspel, North Holland. It was destroyed by fireworks. They’re in love with the fireworks over there. The good news is that the structure itself was saved because the burning reed fell off, so it didn’t burn much, and they rebuilt it.
It didn’t entirely burn because wood back then had more grains. It's known that wood that's older than industrial forests is superior because of its old growth. It is a reminder of how much humans have affected the world. Trees aren't allowed to grow anymore to an age where they can resist elements that well.
Time For Popcorn?
In 2018, this $1,250,000 worth of corn spilled after a silo collapsed in New Carlisle, Ohio. We're pretty sure the mill owner didn't like it at all, but the birds were ecstatic. We can imagine a flock of happy birds rolling in the spilled corn. So it is safe to say that it was catastrophic for humans, but nothing short of a miracle for birds!
Luckily, the silo collapsed instead of exploding. If it had exploded, there could have been too much popcorn for the entire town to eat. Sorry, we couldn’t help it.
A Hungry Sinkhole
So a sinkhole in Pittsburgh was hungry and decided to eat a bus. The sinkhole was a metal-tarian (vegetarian of the bus world) and didn't eat a single human. It was a previously repaired part of the road and when the ground beneath gave way, the repaired slab just slid right down to make way for the sinkhole. There’s also a possibility that the bus was jealous of the subway and wanted the world to see it wasn’t doing anything special.
It is important to know that sinkholes in some areas are from things like limestone dissolving underground. They are natural and happen even without roads.
Deepwater Horizon Explosion
In 2010, the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded to cause an oil well fire and offshore oil spill, which is considered the largest accidental marine oil spill globally. It is also considered the largest environmental disaster in U.S. history. An investigation found eight failures led to the disaster. For instance, the gas alarm system failed and the leak wasn't spotted soon enough.
There is a Mark Wahlberg movie titled Deepwater Horizon based on the explosion and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. If anyone cannot see the documentary on the incident, do watch the movie.
The Beirut Explosion
The 2020 explosion in Beirut was due to a large amount of sodium nitrate stored at the city port. It is considered one of the most powerful artificial non-nuclear explosions in history. It's hard to comprehend the size of the explosion. This shipment came into the storage area around 2014. A customs official wrote a letter to a judge to rule what to do with it basically every year, pointing out how dangerous it was. Unfortunately, nothing was done about the warnings.
Several countries stepped forward to help Lebanon during the tough time. Moreover, UNESCO played a leading role in restoring historic buildings, museums, libraries, and houses.
The Collapse of A $300k Video Wall
This big oops accident happened at Mandalay Bay's arena in Las Vegas. Some industry professionals estimate that the damage could be from $300,000 to $700,000. We can suspect that someone may have lost their job after the mishap. But maybe this photo should never have been posted on the internet because what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.
There have been different rumors of the exact cause behind the incident that range from the critical failure of the cables and support to the failure of motors on the hoists lowering the wall.
Montreal Biosphere Fire
In 1976, a fire burned away Montreal Biosphere's transparent acrylic dome during structural renovations. The smell must have been horrific, along with toxic fumes. Although the hard steel truss structure remained intact, the site remained closed until 1990, before Environment Canada purchased it for $17.5 million and turned it into an interactive museum.
When this first opened in 1967 for the world’s fair, the dome was the USA pavilion and had a bunch of iconic American displays, including a Gemini space capsule.
Use of Plywood To Repair The Building
This happened when some geniuses thought using plywood to repair a building would be sufficient for the task. They were so sure about its success that they didn't take many precautions. Maybe they just wanted to complete the job as soon as possible. Or who knows perhaps the workers got a call from the boss at 4 AM to do just one small job. Did they try glue?
They didn’t know that plywood was never going to work. Only duct tape is the solution in situations like this one. When nothing works, use duct tape!
Incorrectly Installed Part Leads To a Colossal Gas Leak
This unfortunate event happened when workers were sent to investigate a gas leak and the house exploded. The explosion was so intense that the houses to the left and right were vacated and thoroughly inspected to make sure they were still stable. So much damage just because someone didn’t do their job properly.
Given that natural gas has no odor, gas companies add a harmless chemical to give gas a distinctive rotten egg-like smell. It is unfortunate they couldn’t fix the gas leak before the accident happened.
Tires. What Tires?
Imagine the force required to grind these tires of the United Flight that declared an emergency during takeoff. At first glance, it seems like the wheels sunk into the surface. But that is not the case. The wheels appear to have been so hot that they melted their way into the tarmac.
We have immense respect for the genius engineers for devoting their lives to making things that still function even during a failure.
When The Ship Loses Over 1800 Containers
This container ship called One Apus was involved in one of the worst container losses at sea ever recorded. The container ship lost 1,816 containers at sea while crossing the Pacific bound for California. One can imagine how many things were there inside and how they would affect the ocean for generations and generations. Some of the dangerous goods containers carried fireworks, eight containers held batteries, and two contained liquid ethanol.
We feel bad for the loss of so many containers, but we have to ask one question: scavengers hunt anyone?
More Respect For Window Cleaners
The cable on this window washing station snapped and hit a power line, which caused an electrical explosion. Luckily, the workers were saved by their emergency harnesses. One wonders how many window cleaners quit their jobs that day. People who are afraid of heights must be getting anxiety attacks by just looking at these pictures.
They need to show this to every window cleaner during the safety briefing as they start their careers. We’re pretty sure seeing this will make every cleaner wear their safety harness at any cost.
Indonesian Oil Refinery Fire
Hundreds of people were evacuated from an Indonesian village after an explosion in the country's largest oil refinery. The blast was heard up to a radius of ten kilometers. The locals had warned the authorities at least a week before the disaster, but the authorities ignored them. Although the actual cause remains unclear, there was lightning and heavy rainfall when the fire broke out.
Honestly, seeing this photo makes us feel so disgusted and sad at how we’ve treated our planet. We need a collective effort to reduce carbon emissions.
Fireworks Store Bursts Into Flames At The Market In Russia
We have seen numerous examples of fireworks causing so much destruction, yet we never seem to learn from them. It probably started from the central heating boiler and spread everywhere in the market pavilion. It took hundreds of firefighters to put out the fire. Luckily, no serious injuries were reported. Any guesses who hates fireworks the most: firefighters or dogs?
Honestly, fireworks should be banished; they are highly toxic for humans and wildlife. The noise level and the pollution created by them are disproportionate to the joy they bring humans.
Arecibo Radio Telescope After The Instrument Platform Collapsed
The Arecibo Observatory was the world's largest single-aperture telescope for about 53 years before China's Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST) took its place in 2016. When the National Science Foundation (NSF) announced it was decommissioning the telescope due to safety concerns, the main telescope collapsed before humans could demolish it.
There was even a petition signed by many people to fix it, but that couldn’t happen. This makes us feel sad. It was such a legendary observatory.
Failed Rocket Launch
This was an unmanned Proton-M launch failure, a Russian-built rocket. It's a Proton and has no SRBs. The rocket uses hypergolic fuels, namely Unsymmetrical Dimethylhydrazine and Nitrogen tetroxide, which are a lot more toxic and dangerous than mere SRBs. Oh, and since they're Russians, they don't use any flight termination system, they just let the rocket impact the ground, since they launch from such remote areas. In this case, the rocket disintegrated due to aerodynamic forces before it impacted.
We are sorry but this looks a bit funny. We feel that a single switch was installed upside down, which caused the rocket not to know up from down.
Brand New Boeing 737 Fuselages Wrecked In A Train Derailment, Montana
This incident happened in 2014, and all we can think of is the sound of David Attenborough narrating this image, "Each year fuselages return from the Pacific Ocean to their spawning grounds. Sadly, many don’t survive." Now that the Boeing 737 fuselages have got a taste of water, they are unfit for the air traveling industry. Instead, they should be converted to submarines.
So our question is whether Boeing declared this a total loss and claimed the un-crashed airframes or if they individually assessed each fuselage and determined its airworthiness.