Engineering Incidents – Notable


Table: Engineering Incidents - Notable

DateLocationEvent - Location - Description
27ADFidanae, Roman Empire

Fidenae Ampitheathre Collapse
In 27 AD, an apparently cheaply built wooden amphitheatre, constructed by an entrepreneur named Atilius, collapsed in Fidenae resulting in by far the worst stadium disaster in history with as many as 20,000 dead and wounded out of the total audience of 50,000.

140ADRome, Italia, Roman Empire

Upper-Tier Collapse of the Circus Maximus
The Circus Maximus site was used for public games and entertainment in Rome and would accommodate about 150,000 spectators. In 140AD, a collapse of the upper tier caused the death of 1,112 spectators. It remains the deadliest sports-related disaster to date.

1863 Santiago, Chile

Church of the Company Fire
On December 8, 1863, the Church of the Company of Jesus, a Jesuit church located in downtown Santiago, Chile caught fire when an oil lamp at the top of the main altar ignited veils that adorned the walls that quickly spread to the wooden structure - trapping and collapsing onto the worshippers. Between 2,000 and 3,000 people died, probably the most people to die in an accidental fire in any one building anywhere in the world.

1912North Atlantic Ocean

RMS Titanic
RMS Titanic was a British passenger liner that sank in the North Atlantic Ocean on 15 April 1912 after colliding with an iceberg during her maiden voyage from Southampton, UK to New York City, US. The sinking of Titanic caused the deaths of more than 1,500 people in one of the deadliest peacetime maritime disasters in modern history.

1917Halifax, Nova Scotia, CanadaHalifax Explosion
On December 6, 1917, the SS Mont-Blanc, a French cargo ship fully loaded with wartime explosives, was destroyed by a fire on board causing a cataclysmic explosion that devastated the Richmond District of Halifax. Approximately 2,000 people were killed by debris, fires, and collapsed buildings, and it is estimated that nearly 9,000 others were injured.
1942Benxi, Liaoning, ChinaBenxihu Colliery
On April 26, 1942, a gas and coal-dust explosion in the mine killed 1,549, 34% of the miners working that day, making it the worst disaster in the history of coal mining and the second worst recorded industrial accident.
1975 Zhumadian City, Henan Province, ChinaBanqiao Dam Collapse
In August 1975, torrential rains from Typhoon Nina, caused 62 smaller dams upstream to break resulted in high water and the eventual catastrophic failure of the Banqiao Dam. Evacuation orders could not be delivered in time due to communications failures, resulting in approximately 26,000 people that died as a result of the initial flood with up to 145,000 succumbing to subsequent epidemic and famine. 11,000,000 people were affected by the disaster.
1977Tenerife, Canary Islands, SpainTenerife Airport Disaster
The Tenerife airport disaster was a fatal collision between two Boeing 747 passenger aircraft which occurred on Sunday, March 27, 1977, on the runway of Los Rodeos Airport, on the Spanish island of Tenerife, one of the Canary Islands. With a total of 583 fatalities, the crash is the deadliest accident in aviation history.
1984Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India

Bhopal Disaster
In 1984, a Union Carbide India Limited Plant (majority owned by Union Carbide in partnership with the Indian government) leaked thousands of tons of methyl isocyanate gas. 3,787 people were confirmed dead by the Indian government. Others claim thousands more have since died because of illnesses related to disaster.

1986 over Cape Canaveral, Florida

Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster
On January 28, 1986, when Space Shuttle Challenger (mission STS-51-L) broke apart 73 seconds into its flight, leading to the deaths of its seven crew members. The spacecraft disintegrated over the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Cape Canaveral, Florida. Disintegration of the vehicle began after an O-ring seal in its right solid rocket booster (SRB) failed at liftoff.

1987Dumali Point, PhilippinesMV Doña Paz
On December 20, 1987, a Philippine-registered passenger ferry, the MV Doña Paz sank after colliding with the oil tanker, MT Vector. With an estimated death toll of 4,386 people, the collision resulted in the deadliest peacetime maritime disaster in history.
2003over Texas and Louisiana Space Shuttle Columbia Disaster
The Space Shuttle Columbia (STS-107) disaster occurred on February 1, 2003, when Columbia disintegrated over Texas and Louisiana as it reentered Earth's atmosphere, killing all seven crew members. During the launch, a piece of foam insulation broke off from the Space Shuttle external tank and struck the left wing. When the Shuttle reentered the atmosphere of Earth, the damage allowed hot atmospheric gases to penetrate and destroy the internal wing structure, which caused the spacecraft to become unstable and slowly break apart.
2004 Peraliya, Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka Sri Lanka Tsunami-Rail Disaster
The 2004 Sri Lanka tsunami-rail disaster was a rail disaster with the highest count of deaths in history. It occurred when an overcrowded passenger train was destroyed on a coastal railway in Sri Lanka by the tsunami which followed the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake, and resulted in the greatest loss of life in railroad history. More than 1,700 people died, much higher than the previous rail disaster with most fatalities, the Bihar train disaster in India in 1981 that killed between 500-800.
2013 Savar Upazila, Dhaka District, Bangladesh

Savar Building Collapse
On 24 April 2013, Rana Plaza, an eight-story commercial building collapsed and is considered to be the deadliest garment-factory accident in history, as well as the deadliest accidental structural failure in modern human history with a death toll of 1,129.