Where there are machines and devices, there’s always a chance they may, one day, out of nowhere, just stop working. Sometimes, it’s just a mere nuisance, other times, if we’re talking about big, major structures, the outcome may be catastrophic.
There’s even a whole corner of Reddit dedicated to the latter. The subreddit Catastrophic Failure is a place to share some unfortunate and peculiar scenarios of what happens when things like a chemical storage facility has a leak or when water lines freeze and burst in Texas during the record low temperatures.
So let’s scroll through the compilation below, which is honestly both frightening and a reminder that we all have to be more careful to make sure such accidents won’t happen.
#1 April 28, 1988: The Roof Of An Aloha Airlines Jet Ripped Off In Mid-Air At 24,000 Feet
The plane still managed to land safely. One Stewardess was sucked out of the plane. Her body was never found.
Image credits: Sleeeepy_Hollow
#2 May 7, 2021: Tourist Trapped 100m High On Chinese Glass Bridge After Floor Panels Blow Out
Image credits: UrungusAmongUs
#3 The View Of The Tacoma Narrows Bridge Collapse From Atop The Suspension Cabling, 1940
Image credits: MurdocBR
Created back in 2015, the subreddit features “videos, gifs, or aftermath photos of machinery, structures, or devices that have failed catastrophically during operation,” states its description. Today, it has a whopping 1.5M members, so it’s obvious that huge audiences find the content very entertaining.
#4 November 02, 2020: Train Breaks Through Barrier Onto Statue At The End Of The Line. Happened In The Middle Of The Night, No Injuries As Of Yet. Spijkenisse, The Netherlands
Image credits: HeyRobin_
#5 August 14, 2020: Chocolate Snows Down On Swiss Town Due To Factory Defect
Image credits: MsMegane
#6 December 2019 In Detroit: A Large Amount Of Chromium-6 Leaked Into The Ground From A Chemical Storage Facility That Contained It Improperly. It Was Only Found Out When It Leaked Onto A Nearby Highway
Image credits: drewbdrewb
Even though the group’s title “Catastrophic Failure” suggests that some very unsettling content is shared there, the subreddit’s rules are strict to make sure the posts don’t cross any lines. The group doesn’t allow submissions that depict people visibly being seriously injured: “you must apply the ‘Visible Injuries’ flair to your post and tag it ‘NSFW.’”
Moreover, “If a submission depicts a situation where people were killed, but those people are not directly visible, you must apply the ‘Fatalities’ flair to your post (e.g. the Hindenburg Disaster, or a plane crash).”
#7 Gas Leak Into Water Main Taiwan
Image credits: reddit.com
#8 2019: Cars Getting Transported On An Open Deck Catch On Fire After Salty Water Shorts Their Batteries
Image credits: procrastinator_diedz
#9 Red Wine Cistern Catastrophically Ruptures At Sicilian Winery
Image credits: Radec594
Speaking of catastrophes themselves, there have been far too many of them in the past and recent history. Since one of them, the Aloha Airlines flight 243 tragedy in the skies, over 30 years have already passed. The incident happened when cruising at 24,000 feet: an 18-foot section of the plane’s roof suddenly ripped off. It caused an explosive decompression, creating a gaping hole in the fuselage and sucking a flight attendant out of the plane.
#10 January 17, 2021: Final Seconds Of The Ukrainian Cargo Ship Before Breaks In Half And Sinks At Bartin Anchorage, Black Sea
Image credits: DARENDELl
#11 December 19, 2019: Drill Bit After Taking Out Some Of London’s Internet
Image credits: smorga
#12 35 Years Ago, Space Shuttle Challenger Disintegrated And Killed All 7 Crew, Due To Failure Of A Joint In The Right Srb, Which Was Caused By Inability Of The Srb’s O-Rings To Handle The Cold Temperatures At Launch
Image credits: SwagBugatti
After the incident, a passenger reported that before boarding, she noticed a crack in the fuselage, but she did not report it prior to takeoff. Later, a National Transportation and Safety Board investigation suggested that the incident may have been caused by the plane’s old age and poor maintenance. Moreover, Aloha Airlines short flights like this should have received check-ups twice as often as they had.
#13 Boeing 777 Engine Failed At 13000 Feet. Landed Safely
Image credits: werdmouf
#14 $1,250,000 Worth Of Corn Spilled After Silo Collapse In New Carlisle, Ohio On Jan 28, 2018
Image credits: GetReadyForTakeOff
#15 A Functioning Dutch Windmill From 1848 Burned Down
Image credits: knakworst36
#16 In Pittsburgh. Sinkhole Eats Bus. No One Seriously Hurt
Image credits: reddit.com
Another peculiar incident happened a year ago at a Swiss chocolate factory where, due to internal malfunction, it sent out a plume of cocoa ‘snow.’ Fine particles dusted the ground around Lindt & Spruengli factory in town of Olten after the ventilation system stopped functioning properly.
#17 $300k Video Wall Came Down In Vegas
Image credits: Lemeister
#18 April 20, 2010: The Oil Rig Deep Water Horizon Suffered A Catastrophic Blowout
Image credits: I_Spilt_my_milk
#19 On May 20, 1976, During Structural Renovations, A Fire Burned Away The Montreal’s Biosphère Transparent Acrylic Dome
Image credits: PrudentGogurt
#20 August 4, 2020: Storage Before The Blast, Beirut
Image credits: chillsnotskills90
The area where the malfunction happened was in charge of making roasted cocoa nibs. These nibs are fragments of crushed cocoa beans, which are the basis of chocolate. Due to the strong winds, the powder spread around the factory, covering it in fine cocoa dust.
#21 Tires From The United Flight That Declared Emergency During Takeoff. No Injuries
Image credits: Nexuist
#22 Incorrectly Installed Part LED To Gas Leak. One Fatality And 3 Injured After Explosion When Workers Were Sent To Investigate
Image credits: ThoseWhoH2O
#23 Container Ship ‘One Apus’ Arriving In Japan After Losing Over 1800 Containers Whilst Crossing The Pacific Bound For California
Image credits: MV_MerchantMan
#24 Markham, Ontario, Plywood Used To Repair Building Proves Insufficient For The Task
Image credits: songinheart17
A year ago, a giant whale sculpture became a national hero in The Netherlands for stopping a train that overran the tracks. Luckily, the driver of the train in Rotterdam city escaped serious injury as the train crashed through barriers at the final station of De Akkers in Spijkenisse, near the Dutch port city of Rotterdam. The accident occurred on a raised platform, ten meters (30 feet) off the ground, where the carriage could have easily plummeted into the water below.
Maarten Struijs, the architect who designed the whale sculpture, expressed his astonishment and relief that the structure had played a life-saving role. “I’m surprised it’s so strong,” he told a Dutch news outlet. “If plastic has been standing for 20 years, you don’t expect it to hold a metro carriage.”
#25 Drone View Of Indonesia’s Largest Oil Refinery Explosion In Indramayu
Image credits: maiyare
#26 Fireworks Store Bursts Into Flames At The Market In Rostov-On-Don, Russia, On The 6th Of December, 2020
Image credits: KhitrykhNikita
#27 Cable On A Window Washing Station Snaps And Hits A Power Line, Causing An Electrical Explosion. The Workers Were Saved By Their Emergency Harnesses
Image credits: to_the_tenth_power
#28 July, 2014: Brand New Boeing 737 Fuselages Wrecked In A Train Derailment, Montana
Image credits: JPDLD
When it comes to the term “catastrophic failure” itself, it refers to a sudden and total failure from which recovery is impossible. Catastrophic failures often lead to cascading system failure. These failures are usually investigated with the methods of forensic engineering. It aims to isolate the cause or causes of failure.
#29 Arecibo Radio Telescope After The Instrument Platform Collapsed. (11/30/2020)
Image credits: twixerthewolf
#30 Failed Rocket Launch
Image credits: himynameisnotdave