The Ten Most Expensive Accidents in the World
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Find out about the most expensive accident that ever occurred in the history on human kind.
10. Titanic – $150 million
We all know the tragic history of the immense Titanic passenger steamship. Its maiden voyage was the only one it ever took, and that one ended in tears. On April 15, 1912, the Titanic hit an iceberg and started sinking into the freezing cold water. More than 1,500 people lost their lives in the accident. The overall losses, adjusted to today’s money, rise to $150 million.
9. Tanker Truck accident on bridge – $258 million
About 32,000 liters of fuel were transported in a tanker truck on August 26, 2004, when a car ran into the large vehicle and caused it to crash through the guardrail of the Wiehltal Bridge in Germany. The truck fell 90 feet off the Autobahn and exploded without delay. This led to a massive destruction of the bridge. The total cost of this accident rose to $385 million.
8. MetroLink Crash – $500 million
The cause of this disaster is much less complicated than you’d expect. No mechanic problems, no physics involved, only human inattention. The conductor of the MetroLink train is believed to have let the train run through a red signal, while he was preoccupied with texting a message. His absent-mindedness led to a huge crash between his train and a Union Pacific freight. About 25 people were killed in the accident and the total losses rose to some $500 million.
7. B-2 Bomber Crash – $1.4 billion
On February 23, 2008, the B-2 stealth bomber crashed almost immediately after takeoff in Guam. What caused the accident? Moisture. Yes, moisture reached into the system and caused some distorted data in the flight control computers. Fortunately, both pilots managed to safely eject themselves from the plane, but because this was one of only 21 units ever built, the losses were immense: $1.4 billion. This is considered to be the most expensive disaster in aviation history.
6. Exxon Valdez – $2.5 billion
The Exxon Valdez oil spill was not the biggest one in history, but it was very costly because of its remote location. When Joseph Hazelwood, the ship’s master, left the controls on March 24, 1989, the vessel crashed into a reef and spilled 10.8 million gallons of oil into the water. The location was accessible only by boat and helicopter, and the cleanup process cost $2.5 billion.
5. Piper Alpha Oil Rig – $3.4 billion
On July 6, 1988, the world’s biggest off-shore disaster happened when the 300-foot oil production platform in the North Sea exploded. No less than 167 workers were killed in the terrible accident, and all this due to a “minor” safety mistake. The maintenance technicians should have checked all the 100 safety valves before hitting the start button, but they accidentally skipped one. That was enough to cause a massive accident with damages of $3.4 billion.
4. Challenger Explosion – $5.5 billion
At liftoff on January 28, 1986, an O-ring seal in Challenger’s right solid rocket booster failed. This lead to a chain of events that finally culminated with a massive explosion, 73 seconds after takeoff. All seven crew members lost their lives in the accident. Replacing the shuttle cost $2 billion in 1986, while the investigation, the problem correction and the new equipment cost another $450 million. After inflation-adjusting these sums, we reach an impressive total of $5.5 billion.
3. Prestige Oil Spill – $12 billion
The Prestige oil tanker sank on November 19, 2002, due to a wild sea storm that eventually tore the vessel in half. Prestige was carrying 77,000 tons of oil, and one of the tanks burst during the storm. The captain asked Spain, France and Portugal for help, but neither of them allowed the vessel to get into their harbors. The 20 million gallons of oil that were spilled into the sea affected nature in a terrible way. $12 billion were needed to clean the mess.
2. Space Shuttle Columbia – $13 billion
NASA’s Columbia Space Shuttle was destroyed during re-entry, over Texas. This happened on February 1, 2003, due to a hole in one of its wings. The hole was punctured during the shuttle’s launch. When Columbia was built in 1978, it cost about $2 billion, which means approximately $6.3 billion in today’s money. Add to this the investigation costs (some $500 million) and other expenses, and you’ll soon get to $13 billion. And that doesn’t even include the replacement of the shuttle.
1. Chernobyl – $200 billion
The nuclear disaster at Chernobyl happened on April 26, 1986. It is considered to be the worst nuclear power plant accident ever, or the only level 7 accident on the International Nuclear Event Scale. The total number of victims (including the people who developed cancer because of the radiations and died years later) is estimated at 125,000. However, many more were directly affected by the disaster: 1.7 million. The overall cost of this huge accident, including the evacuated people’s resettlement, the cleanup and much more is about $200 billion.