Home > Wonders > 10 Most Expensive Accidents in History

10 Most Expensive Accidents in History

Throughout history, humans have always been prone to accidents. Some, such as the exotic car crashes seen on this page, can be very expensive. But that’s trivial compared to the truly expensive accidents. My aim is to list the top 10 most expensive accidents in the history of the world as measured in dollars.


This includes property damage and expenses incurred related to the accident such as cleanup and industry losses. Many of these accidents involve casualties which obviously cannot be measured in dollar terms. Each life lost is priceless and is not factored into the equation.


On April 26, 1986, the world witnessed the costliest accident in history. The Chernobyl disaster  made 50% of the area of Ukraine in some way contaminated. The total costs has been estimated to be roughly $200 Billion.

Space Shuttle Columbia

The Space Shuttle Columbia was destroyed during re-entry over Texas on February 1, 2003. The total cost of the accident came out to $13 Billion according to NASA.


Prestige Oil Spill

On November 13, 2002, the Prestige oil tanker was carrying 77,000 tons of heavy fuel oil in Galicia, Spain. According to a report  the total cleanup cost was $12 billion.


Challenger Explosion

The Space Shuttle Challenger was destroyed 73 seconds after takeoff due on January 28, 1986 due to a faulty O-ring. The cost of replacing the Space Shuttle 5.5 billion in today’s dollars.
Piper Alpha Oil Rig

This is world’s worst off-shore oil disaster. On July 6, 1988 due to a mistake by a technician Within 2 hours, the 300 foot platform was engulfed in flames. It eventually collapsed, killing 167 workers and resulting in $3.4 Billion in damages.

Exxon Valdez

The Exxon Valdez oil spill was not a large one in relation to the world’s biggest oil spills. On March 24, 1989, 10.8 million gallons of oil was spilled when the ship’s master. The cleanup cost Exxon $2.5 billion.


B-2 Bomber Crash

This B-2 stealth bomber crashed shortly after taking off from an air base in Guam on February 23, 2008. Investigators blamed distorted data in the flight control computers caused by moisture in the system.
Metro Link Crash

On September 12, 2008, 25 people were killed when a Metro link commuter train crashed head-on into a Union Pacific freight train in Los Angeles. Wrongful death lawsuits expected to cause $500 million in losses for Metro link.
Tanker Truck vs. Bridge

On August 26, 2004, a car collided with a tanker truck containing 32,000 liters of fuel on the Wiehltal Bridge in Germany. Temporary repairs cost $40 million and the cost to replace the bridge is estimated at $318 Million.

The sinking of the Titanic is possibly the most famous accident in the world. But it barely makes our list of top 10 most expensive. On April 15, 1912, the Titanic sank on its maiden voyage . The ship cost $7 million to build ($150 million in today’s dollars).

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