The 14 Most Expensive Mistakes Ever Made in History
Every person on Earth makes mistakes. No one is perfect. Yet sometimes a combination of incorrect actions leads to such large-scale consequences that there’s only one question left in mind: How could this happen?
Bright Side collected the biggest mistakes in the history of humanity, the effects of which cost a fortune.
14. The fall of an apartment building
The residential complex Lotus Riverside in Shanghai was comprised of 11 high-rises. Until one morning, when one of the 13-story buildings collapsed. It was a miracle that it avoided hitting other buildings and causing a knock-on effect. The reason for the collapse was noncompliance with construction standards and a poor-quality foundation.
13. The accidental destruction of a 150-year-old guitar
The guitar Jennifer Jason Leigh played in The Hateful Eight by Quentin Tarantino was a real 150-year-old rarity, rented from the Martin Guitar Museum. It was assumed that the 6-string 19th-century guitar would be replaced with a fake one for a particular scene. Yet it seems that Kurt Russell wasn’t informed of this fact, and he broke the museum exhibit into pieces.
12. Wide wagons and narrow platforms
In 2014, the SNCF railway company decided to modernize the transport network and ordered 2,000 new trains for €15 billion. Unfortunately, they were given measurements for stations designed in the last 30 years, and many platforms were older and a little narrower. They urgently had to be widened, which cost an additional €50 million.
11. $225 million lost because of a misprint
The Japanese company Mizuho Securities wanted to sell one share for ¥610,000 (about $5,000) on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Yet it seems a stockbroker hadn’t had enough sleep and made a little mistake when entering the data. He put up for sale 610,000 shares for only ¥1 each. Despite the company’s protest, the Stock Exchange processed the order, which resulted in the loss of $225M.
10. An overly heavy submarine that won’t resurface
The Spanish government invested £1.75 billion in a new submarine — The Isaac Peral. Yet the process of construction showed that it was excessively heavy and risked not being able to surface after immersion. It turned out that someone made a mistake in the calculations at the very beginning. To correct the “unfortunate slip,” they had to solve the problem of excess weight and increase the length of the hull.
9. The sale of Alaska
At the end of the 19th century, Alexander II of Russia regarded Alaska only as an ice-covered land. In March 1867, Russia decided to sell the vast territory to the United States for only $7.2 million. Since the ratio of the ruble to the dollar was almost equal at that time, Russia won little from this deal but lost natural resources worth billions of dollars.
8. Millennium, the dancing bridge
The Millennium Bridge, connecting the 2 banks of the River Thames in London, was opened in 2000…and closed almost immediately. It turned out that a large crowd of people made it sway dramatically. The original cost of the bridge — £18.2 million — was increased by another £5 million to carry out reconstruction and add movement stabilizers. Now it’s safe for use.
7. The loss of a spaceship
The Mars Climate Orbiter was developed by NASA to study the climate on Mars. However, due to an incredible mistake, contact with the ship was lost when it was in the atmosphere. To transfer coordinates, one NASA crew used imperial units (feet and yards) and another used metric. As a result, the orbiter entered the atmosphere of Mars too low and collapsed.
6. The sale of Apple shares
Ronald Wayne was one of Apple’s founders. He drew the first logo and wrote a manual for Apple I. In 1976, he sold his 10% shareholding for $800, mostly because he had assets that could be withdrawn if the company went bankrupt. He could’ve been a billionaire by now!
5. A skyscraper that melts cars
Thanks to its concave shape and glass surface, the London skyscraper “Walkie-Talkie” has become nothing but a giant mirror. The sizzling glares were so bright they melted cars parked nearby. Some enthusiasts even fried eggs on them. To prevent further damage, sun protection was attached to the building.
4. The leaked lake
In 1980, in search of oil, a whole lake was leaked — more than 13B liters (3.5B gal) of water. Due to an error in the calculations when drilling a well, the drill damaged the dome of a salt mine beneath Lake Peigneur (USA). Over time, salt and water washed a small piece into an immense hole. A whirlpool formed, which sucked in the rig, 11 barges, a tugboat, trucks, and even an island. Miraculously, no one was hurt.
3. Thrown bitcoins
In 2009, bitcoins just appeared, so they were easy enough to earn. Englishman James Howell collected 7,500 in the digital currency. However, they cost almost nothing then. By 2013, the cost of his bitcoins has increased to $7.5 million. When the guy realized his luck, it turned out he had thrown the hard drive containing the bitcoins into a dump.
2.Vasa, the sunken ship
Vasa, built by the king’s order, was to become the flagship of the 17th-century Swedish navy. Yet it didn’t even manage to leave Stockholm’s bay and sank right after leaving the shipyard. Due to an incorrect design, the ship was really unstable. With the first gust of wind, it overturned and quickly went to the bottom before the eyes of thousands of city residents.
1. The collapsed section of a bridge
The bridge over the Han River in Seoul became notorious when it collapsed during rush hour in 1994. The central section of the bridge couldn’t stand the load and fell into the river along with cars, minibuses, and a fully loaded bus. The cause of the crash was blamed on poorly welded steel structures that supported the plates.
Preview photo credit reddit