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Top 10 Worst Engineering Disasters

Everybody makes mistakes. Everybody deserves forgiveness. But, some mistakes are just plainly unforgivable, for those kinds of mistakes cause tragedies that can take the lives of people away. A lot of the world’s disasters have taken place because of several reasons and some of them are due to engineers’ errors, though they are considered some of the best explorers and inventors in the world and that is because Engineering is a science that is expected to always be very detailed and needs to maintain high standards that provide safety and prevent the occurrence of disasters; however, the achievements of the engineers can sometimes come accompanied with dreadful catastrophes that might take a lot of people’s lives. Still, these failures are deemed to be the best governess for how to prevent some errors in the future, but only after paying a great price.

The world might be waiting for the new inventions that the engineers are expected to come up with, but they tend to forget that they are not excluded from causing disasters that will be kept as painful memories for those who had lived and witnessed them. On the other hand, it is worldwide notion that the method of trial and error is the key to learning the perfect competencies for moving forward. Well, to make it clear what exactly an engineering disaster means; it is the catastrophe that is caused by faults resulted from an engineering failure. Despite all the successes and achievements that the world has come to, it is still impossible to provide a guaranteed way where errors have no room. This article introduces you 10 of the top disasters that happened around the world due to engineering failures.

10 Chernobyl

Back in 1986, Ukraine witnessed one of the biggest disasters in history near Pripyat in the Soviet Union when a container was mechanically out of order at Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant had blown up. The explosion discharged into the air radioactive constituent parts in substantial measures; these radioactive particles extended all over a big part of Europe and that led to the evacuation of a great number of people from the countries that were rigorously affected,  including Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia.
The tragedy started during testing the systems while a flow in the power was taking place, leading to a sudden power cut calling for an emergency. It was only a short time before the container was ripped apart, followed by unstoppable series of haze eruptions, but the reason that the reactor went up in flames was due to its exposure to the air. The flames that were resulted from the explosion formed a cloud condensed with a harmful effect of radioactive particulars, extending to several areas. This tragedy had resulted in a great number of calamities, for those areas that were located close to the explosion witnessed a greater number of immediate deaths because they were subjected to the highest levels of radiation while the relatively further areas that were exposed to fewer levels of radiation had a lot of people affected and dying of cancer.

9 Cleveland East Ohio Gas Explosion

This catastrophe took place in 1944; it is considered one of the oldest and most disastrous accidents in the world. The gas explosion that occurred in Cleveland was due to an outflow of the gas from a storage tank. The story was as the following; there was ground storage of which there were a number of tanks filled with natural gas and one of these tanks was poorly structured, so it started to discharge some of the gas from a small open that was on the side of it. The gas kept hanging in the air until it started blending with it, consequently, the mixture burst into flames and a few miles away, a manhole was found, but people stopped freaking out thinking that the disaster and its results were taken care of, but it was only a few minutes before one more tank exploded, causing even more manholes around the area.

8 Titanic

Titanic is one of the disasters that is known to the whole world; it has been ceaselessly featured in a lot of movies and books and that was the main reason it is known by all the corners of the planet, but what might not be recognized by people is that crashing into an iceberg was not the main reason for the ship to sink, but it actually was an additional reason. To make the story clearer; the disaster of titanic took place back in 1912; it was the largest ship that the world had ever witnessed back then, and unfortunately it did not get the chance to carry more than one journey; in fact, it was not even capable of completing that very first journey. On this voyage, a lot of the richest people were on board of the ship not expecting to meet their fatal destiny on the fourth day of the journey when the ship came into contact with an iceberg, causing a lethal impairment and damage that it was not able to carry on for more than a few hours after the crash. Researchers have discovered that the iceberg was not the only reason for the ship to end that way, but there was an error in the structure of the ship that allowed the nails and the rivets on the exterior parts to get ripped out, consequently, the water had the opportunity to leak into the stalls and the partitions that were supposed to be impermeable. Most of the passengers of this ship were not able to make it because the lifeboats were insufficient to carry that number of people. The only benefit that the world has been taught from that disaster is that the safety regulations were updated and ships became much safer than they used to be back then.

7 Tacoma Narrows Bridge

It seems like the 40’s was not the world’s favorite decade, for more than a disaster happened at that time. One more disaster that took place in May 1940 was the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. The construction of this bridge started two years before the disaster and it was considered to be one of the longest suspension bridges around the world, but surprisingly it was not stable enough that it, literally, used to bounce, so engineers attempted to stop the bouncing by setting up a shock absorbers in order to make the bridge sturdier and steadier, but it seemed like the absorbers were not functioning as they were expected to. The main reason that the bridge had collapsed was due to the instability of the elastic structure.

6 The Bhopal Disaster

The Bhopal Disaster was one of the world’s largest catastrophes that took place in India in 1984. There were almost over 40 tons of tanks that were filled with a toxic material known as Methyl Isocyanate; it was mainly used for manufacturing insecticides. What happened was that this material was mixed with water; consequently, an exothermic reaction took place, resulting in a sudden surge in the temperature of the tanks. The high temperature created a lot higher pressure than the tanks can take; to release the pressure, a large volume of these toxic gasses leaked out and spread all over the place. Because it had a relatively high density, it traveled to a city that was close to that place, known as Bhopal, resulting in taking away the lives of so many people. Although the disaster took place over thirty years ago, the region around that city is still toxic for the living creatures. It led the industries to take higher precautions and approaches when it comes to the management of safety.

5 St. Francis Dam Flooding

This one is considered the second largest disaster that California has ever witnessed. The dam was constructed by William Mulholland, who was known as the father of the water systems in Los Angeles, but it wasn’t long before his very first dam had failed, for it was poorly structured, resulting in the submerging and overflowing of the water into the north of Los Angeles, burying a whole city and killing over 600 people. Definitely, that was the ultimate end of William Mulholland’s career.

4 Hyatt Regency Hotel Walkway Collapse

Well, apparently, the 80’s were actually even worse than the 40’s in the history of the world’s disasters record due to failures caused by engineers. In 1981, the engineering authorizations of some engineers were absolutely taken away when Kansas City witnessed a catastrophe that ended the lives of over a hundred people due to an engineering negligence and huge failure when two straight up walkways of the Hyatt Regency Hotel were found to be having major defects and errors in their designs, leading them to come crashing down falling into the lobby and immediately killing a great number of people.

3 Apollo 13

Apollo 13 was carrying on a mission operated by the American Apollo space program to land on the Moon back in 1970. The mission was immediately terminated when the tank of the oxygen blew up after it had already launched and stayed for two whole days, but, for the world’s greatest surprise, the crew was able to return to our beloved planet safely, though the space vehicle had several defects including limited power and the damaged heat of the log cabin. The survival of the crew provided the film industry with several popular and successful movies including Failure is not an Option.

2 The Space Shuttle Challenger

In 1986, the Space Shuttle Challenger broke apart in a matter of few seconds after it already launched and, as expected, none of its crew had survived. It was found that the accident was caused due to a failure of the O-rings; as a result, a flare as well as hot gas leaked, hitting the external tank which leads to a destructive failure of the structure. There were several issues and defects that were ignored by the engineers as well as the managers of NASA, so seemingly, there are a lot of people to be blamed for the destructive disaster and the lost lives.

1 Hindenburg Disaster

In 1937, a German passenger airship, known as The LZ 129 Hindenburg, burst into flames and crashed when it was trying to port in New Jersey, leading to the death of more than thirty people. The reason for the disaster took years to be investigated until it was finally discovered; the airship burst into flames due to the leakage of hydrogen.

The lesson learned; all inventions are great, but an eye for details is the most significant skill needed for preventing such horrific disasters.

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