Incredibly Expensive Mistakes Caused by Human Error

By: Calla Conway | Published: Oct 18, 2021

A newbie at anything is allowed a certain margin of error because mistakes are seen as part of the learning process. How are we supposed to get really good at something without messing it up a few times? Since nobody is perfect, it’s understood that you let a few things slide.

Sometimes people look back on these mistakes in a fond way – as something to laugh about. Other times, people look back at them in horror because the blunders cost a fortune to fix – a broken satellite, shattered solar panels, or a totally wrecked Ferrari. Below are 40 of these expensive mistakes.

1. Malfunctioning Underground Garage

Underground garages are a great way to park your cars, save space, and give your home a high-tech feel. However, they don’t always work. This garage lifter is part of a two-story design that malfunctioned when its electronic controls were submerged in a flood. The result? Not too pretty.


Source: tsMineDK

The parked Jeep on top was completely destroyed, and the automobile inside suffered water damage. It looks like this underground garage needs to have more robust safety measures in place. We just hope the owners had flood insurance.


2. Posing on a Sinking Yacht

The average yacht can cost close to a million dollars, and that’s just the start of an owner’s expenses. That’s why some say it may not be worth owning one. The maintenance costs are worth ruminating over a bit before deciding to finally purchase one.


Source: Ienjoyduckscompany

These girls are holding on to a sinking yacht without messing up their pose, which must be heartbreaking to the owner. The scene is like a meme of someone showing off perfection when their lives are actually in shambles.

3. Fighter Jets Exposed in the Clouds

If you look at the picture below, you’ll see American fighter jets stationed at the base hangar. Although it might seem like they’re covered in clouds, that’s not the case. It’s not enemy fire that they are vulnerable against here, but fire fighting foam that accidentally released from its canisters.


Source: 5_Frog_Margin

Since the foam is corrosive, it puts the aircraft in danger – metal material can develop holes, and vital parts can melt or become unstable. The accidental foam discharge put these $50-$80 million warplanes in danger.

4. A Damaged Space Satellite

Building a space satellite takes quite a long time. The planning stage alone can take several years, and then there’s the actual building stage itself – another year, at least. Power systems need to be determined, communication systems put up, and all the nuts and bolts have to be drilled in just right. Then, the test launch comes.


Source: Snow-Lemur

The picture above shows what one mishap can cause – namely, the whole space program to be rescheduled, enormous human effort to be wasted, and nearly $290 million to be lost.

5. Rear-End Crash 

This is what happens when drivers decide to speed up and become reckless. It’s as if they think they’re living in a movie where every vehicle on the highway speeds along to the tune of their own loud music.

Source: DPLaVay

Every year in the United States, there are around six million car crashes. Despite this, some people never learn to take proper driving precautions. Perhaps the temptation for speed is just too high when you own an expensive sports car. We just hope no one was seriously hurt.


6. Not Literally All-Terrain

An all-terrain Mercedes-Benz SUV is expensive yet reliable. It’s a comfortable luxury vehicle. But owners shouldn’t exaggerate its all-terrain description to mean it can fight its way out of a bog, or in this case, a wet shoreline that keeps sucking it in.

Source: Hera03a

It’s parked too close to the sea, and the loose sand is no longer able to put up with its weight. The waves breaking on the surface don’t help either. This needs to be towed, or it’s a goner.


7. Routine Roofing Job

The owners of the home below were in for quite a surprise when they found out that their lovely abode had been split in half like a poorly sliced birthday cake. Nearly everyone around seemed perplexed by what happened.

Source: IAmGodMode

It was supposed to be a routine roof job, but the result is far from routine. Most likely, it was an operator error unless a rogue crane went berserk on its own. We can’t imagine how the homeowners felt when they saw that for the first time. The roofers have a lot of explaining to do.


8. Curiosity Killed the Jet 

Curiosity killed the cat, as they say. If you replace “cat” with “jet,” then that’s a fair summary of what happened below. It all started with a curious aircraft technician who decided to tinker a bit on sensitive military hardware. This caused the M61 Gatling cannon to activate. 

Source: J00G0LD

Since it fires an average of six thousand rounds per minute, the F-16 fighter jet above had no chance. Quietly parked across the way, it had its entire jet body filled with holes until it exploded – a $35 million mistake. 


9. Prepare for Impact

Traveling by cruise liner is a fun and convenient way to explore the world. Alongside relaxing at the pool and enjoying delicious buffets, there are plenty of other onboard activities – zip lines, ice skating, and even Broadway shows!

For the vacationers above, however, their dream turned into a nightmare when another massive cruise ship collided with theirs. Windows were smashed, and parts of the deck were bent out of shape. Luckily, passengers on that side weren’t physically harmed, but they were probably traumatized by the crash.


10. A Mess of Data Cables

This road construction project, run by workers that lacked the necessary engineering experience, ended up excavating underground data cables. The drill dug up important wires that were meant to bring internet connection to the whole neighborhood.

Source: jazz_man

The laborer seems to be smiling it off, but the damage done to the service operators and their subscribers cannot be downplayed, which translates to a ton of lost opportunities and money from canceled business transactions. Drilling on the wrong side of the road has drawn the ire of many people.


11. Toppled Over Server

Data servers are designed to make the lives of employees who need constant access to vital information easier. These servers can increase productivity and, despite the high cost of maintenance, companies are happy to know their data is secure.

Source: _w0xy

Well, most of the time, but not if their data was stored on that server. Unfortunately, it looks like someone accidentally toppled it over, and this affected untold numbers of users. Now, customer service will have to take the fall for it by answering all the angry clients.


12. Poor Hillside Anchoring

The freeway below is crucial to the progress of Taiwan. It links together with other major cities so that vehicles can bypass congested roads and businesses can run smoothly. However, this landslide blocked the freeway on both sides, causing millions of dollars of damage.

Source: voy_conlag_mental

Engineering reports have shown that the landslide may have been due to poor hillside anchoring. This means that legal obligations may have to be unearthed, and court cases may be started against construction firms if they’re deemed negligent. 


13. A Million-Dollar Wreck

Driving down the freeway might feel like a plane taking off from the runway if you have a fast sports car. That jet-like sound of the engine revving can be too addictive to take it easy. However, as we saw from the expensive car accident below, that can lead to all kinds of trouble.

Source: Liberal_Leopard

All three drivers gave in to the temptation for speed and power, and it cost them dearly. Luckily, they managed to survive, but the financial damage cost around a million dollars. Perhaps it’s best to take it slow.


14. In the Red

During his first day as a wine steward, the unimaginable happened. Before the customers came in and the workday began, a seventy-six-year-old bottle of wine slipped off his hands and nosedived to the floor like an aerial bomb.

Source: I_kickflipped_my_dog

It’s a Chateau Mouton Rothschild. It’s not just wine but an investment worth $16,000. The waiter was stunned and nearly choked as he watched the spill. He was in complete disbelief of his rotten luck – it was only the first day of work, and already 16k worth of breakage was on his hands.


15. How to Split Up a Pickup Truck 

Pickup trucks are designed to be sturdy. Unlike smaller cars, they don’t get damaged easily and can handle difficult terrain with plenty of muscle power. So, when some people look at the image below, they assume the mechanic in charge had intentionally planned on splitting up the vehicle.

Source: OvercastHaze

That’s not the case. Common sense says that it’s best to unload the truck bed before lifting the whole frame. However, that didn’t happen. The result is the split truck above. Who knows, maybe the point was to test just how much the truck could handle.


16. A Ferry Bad Parking Job  

The passengers on board the ship were probably looking outside the boxy windows and marveling at the waters below. It had been a pleasant trip. But the captain in charge was indifferent to all that and instead, focused on finishing the journey rather than enjoying it.

Source: istionyyc

Unfortunately, the finish wasn’t anything to brag about. The ferry was going at high speed against the roaring winds and had low visibility. The captain and crew were unable to distinguish little dots on the horizon – dots which turned out to be a line of rocks!


17. Cemented Automobile 

The operator of this concrete had completely miscalculated the distance between the truck and the car parked behind it. He was relying solely on the side mirror rather than having assistance or going out to double-check. When the concrete was poured out, it hit more than the road.

Source: KevlarYarmulke

The car owner walked out of his apartment to find his car intact but a new shade of grey –  cement grey. Fixing that new “paint job” will likely cost a few thousand dollars. Yikes!


18. A Broken Gem 

The driver of this cool, classic automobile failed to take a cue from the legendary James Bond. Instead of remaining calm in the face of adversity, the driver got a bit too nervous at how fast the car was going and ended up swerving this vintage Aston Martin into a traffic pole.

Source: Jorarl

That means a car valued at $1.5 million was totaled against a worthless post. Aston Martins are like gems in that their value increases over time, and paying for its restoration is going to cost much more than a traffic post. 


19. Unsalvageable, One-of-a-Kind Instrument

The one-of-a-kind piano below had four pedals installed in it. On her best days, the proud owner felt like all her worries were gone as she got lost playing all the carefully crafted keys. It was almost like she was floating above the world.

Source: Dcln-e

But it was from such a height that the piano, with an estimated value of $194,000, was dropped by its contracted movers. It was instantly deemed irreparable, and this unique piece of musical artistry was gone for good.


20. Abused MRI 

It’s hard to believe that an MRI technician could forget that the $5 million machine is like a magnetic vortex that causes protons in a person’s body to align.

Source: sdoodle

The metal-framed chair was sucked in by the MRI when the force field was activated, causing the critical hospital equipment to malfunction. What could be the technician’s reason for bringing things with metal parts inside? If it was an oversight, then it’s quite a severe oversight that might follow the technician around for a while.


21. Porsche, Chewable Edition

Expensive cars are quite easy to love. The Porsche below quickly found its way into the owner’s heart, bypassing other valuable things like family, friends, and the owner’s own dog. The last one didn’t take that too kindly. Dogs might be loyal, but only if they’re shown loyalty in return.

Source: koogledoogle

Locked inside an ill-ventilated garage and bored out of its mind, this dog decided to chew on the ultra-expensive vehicle. The dog didn’t like being alone for long periods, so it poured out its emotions on the master’s other love – the Porsche.


22. Damaged Plane Fuselages

One part of whitewater rafting and kayaking is learning how to ride the rapids. Another part is finding your way around different obstacles like boulders and sticks – or, as in the case below, airplane fuselages.

Source: PerciFlage88

These fuselages fell off the train tracks and tumbled over the side of a cliff. Apparently, the tracks were a bit too curvy. Although these parts were meant for Boeing’s assembly plants, now it is more likely that they will be picked up and junked to avoid safety issues.


23. Perforated Solar Panels

At first, it might appear that mother nature caused the damage below, that no one is to blame for these pierced solar panels. But alas, it seems that human error was at play. What a waste to see these environment-friendly devices ruined by the sun – the very thing they were designed to use as energy. Could something have been done to avoid this from happening?

Source: Absentfriends

It seems so. Apparently, there were some installation mistakes. The panels were installed without an essential protective layer, which caused this expensive mistake.


24. Inflated Raft Onboard

It seems that one of the airplane staff members wasn’t mindful of safety protocols when they were moving around the aircraft to prepare for incoming passengers. Although they might have been rushed, that still doesn’t excuse what happened below.

Source: viboux

Apparently, the aircraft door was accidentally opened while it was actively armed. If you bypass safety steps before opening it, the slide raft will activate. As you can see from above, this leads to a giant balloon inflating inside the cabin. To repack the slide, the manufacturer charges around $25,000.


25. A Wine Collector’s Catastrophe 

The wine collector below had a beautiful collection of wines from all over the world. Nearly all of the money spent on this collection went into the wine bottles themselves. Whatever was left over went to building a budget wine rack that was meant to hold them all in place.

Source: OrangeJeepWdw

As you can see from above, that didn’t work out too well. Perhaps the contractor was underpaid because the rack wasn’t securely fastened to the wall, and this caused a calamitous scene of wine bottles smashing on the floor. Yikes!


26. Gamer’s Haven Charred 

The pandemic brought along many outdoor restrictions, so lots of people found it more appealing to invest in indoor activities. These can range from sprucing up your home office with all the latest gadgets to creating an elaborate “man cave” in the basement.

Source: ElBarani

This person invested a fortune in upgrading and customizing his gaming system but failed to spend much on fire safety measures. It’s supposed to be a no-brainer considering all the wires and electricity running through the network, but it was tragically overlooked. That’s one expensive lesson. 


27. A Trapped Excavator

Excavators ought to be able to remove objects that are stuck in the loose ground, but this one finds itself as the object of concern. Although designed to operate in all types of terrain, it still has its limits. The operator failed to check on those parameters beforehand.

Source: Turtlechampy

The consequence of overlooking these things can be pricey and hard to fix as the excavator gets further sucked in by the coming of the tide. Unfortunately, someone’s probably going to get fired for this expensive blunder.


28. Botched Rescue Team

“It’s not about what you have, but how you use it.” When the owner of a $300,000 speedboat noticed his craft sinking, he didn’t panic. After a few attempts to keep the boat afloat, he decided it was time to call in his own army.

Source: SloppyToppyDownSouth

His rescue team, composed of a Jeep and a pickup truck, not only failed to haul the boat ashore, but they sank along with it! The neighbors watched on scratching their heads, rolling their eyes as thousands of dollars worth of vehicles began sinking.


29. Consolidated Bank Notes

The bills we use in our everyday transactions are vessels for bacteria and viruses. In pandemic times, people are extra careful about that. However, this person took it a bit too far in using a microwave to disinfect Canadian banknotes.

Source: jdk

Made out of polymer, the banknote material succumbed to the heat in the oven – and so did its monetary value! What used to be $5,000 Canadian is now a crumpled-up ball of melted plastic that’s barely recognizable. 


30. Totaled DeLorean

Fans of the Back to the Future series will remember the famous DeLorean that Marty and Doc used to go back and forth in spacetime. Although it’s a magnificent car, there’s only so much it can take. The real-life DeLorean below seems to have found its final resting place.

Source: Venom4174

Unless Doc gets this repaired somehow. This seems unlikely, though, considering how totally wrecked the DeLorean is. Hopefully, they can go back in time before the crash and make sure it doesn’t happen. 


31. Zapped Panels

That carefree attitude of being trigger-happy and firing weapons out in the open can prove costly – not only to people and animals but to property as well. Some people think that the bullets they fire upwards are never going to make it back to earth.

But the owner of this newly installed solar panel can attest to the fact that bullets are pulled back to the ground by the force of gravity. Sadly, it’s at the expense of his expensive equipment. 


32. Tarmac Hazards

As you’re waiting for departure at the airport and looking down the tarmac, everything may seem to be systematic. However, these ground operations actually involve a certain degree of risk, and accidents are not uncommon.

Source: ttv_Alotta

Baggage vehicles come and go along a limited space that’s shared with other vehicles – trucks, planes, movable aircraft ladders, and more. Some of them are difficult to maneuver. Unfortunately, this luggage truck managed to crash into one of the jet’s engines during its maze of operations.


33. Raised Dump Truck Damages Property

People gawk at the sight of a raised dump truck bed damaging the front section of a building. How did it happen? Maybe the operator thought that the bed was already lowered before trying to move out, or perhaps the bed began to rise all by itself as the driver was leaving.

Source: phetish23

The building facade looks like it’s about to fall apart. This isn’t as rare as we think, unfortunately, and it can happen when dump trucks are too tall for underpasses and other low places.


34. Doppelganger Collision

The pandemic has meant that city streets have been uncharacteristically empty. This has been irresistible to some drivers – specifically, drivers of luxury sports cars. With no one on the road, they can’t resist the urge to play with their expensive cars. They must feel like demigods.

Source: feliciteer_mij

Until the day ended with their two identical vehicles colliding out in an empty intersection – that’s an expensive mistake. How could something like this happen? The gods must be playing tricks on them.


35. Armored Vehicle Capsizes

In war-torn areas, a scene like this is usually assumed to involve heavy gunfire. Soldiers would run for cover behind tanks and armored personnel carriers to return fire while looking for possible snipers in the hills. The cause of this damage, as the report shows, was not as dramatic.

Source: Saint9407

At least no soldier was hurt as the tank turned upside down. What caused it? The driver tried to set it on the tank transporter but must have miscalculated the loader’s width.


36. Flaming Drinks

It is not clear what caused the fire at this whisky distillery, but it was most likely some kind of adverse chemical reaction. The flames grew quickly because there were thousands of whiskey barrels stacked on top of each other inside the facility. Some even exploded.

Source: liamurray12

At that point, there’s only so much you can do. Luckily, they managed to contain the fire somewhat by smothering it a bit. This puts a whole new meaning on the famous flaming drinks.


37. Sinkholes Lead To Tunnels

Residents of this small subdivision had no idea how much danger they were exposed to on a daily basis. Not one of them had an inkling that they were living on top of an abandoned mine that may collapse at any time.

Source: Dan Austin/Paha Sapa Grotto

Then, two sinkholes appeared, leading to a network of tunnels. How did the contractors get their project approved in the first place? That’s pending investigation. Affected families remain up in the air about what to do with their situation.


38. Banzai at McLaren Dealership

A large dent on the side of the BMW SUV proves that the vehicle had been sideswiped by another. This caused it to crash against a parked McLaren sports car, side pocketing it against the dealership office with more cars inside.

Source: urmommyre

A single McLaren costs about $300,000, and at least two cars were badly damaged. The BMW’s driver must be feeling quite anxious while trying to come up with ideas on how to compensate for such damages without becoming bankrupt. 


39. Negligent Grease Monkey 

Often it’s better to pay a bit more and go with certified mechanics than to take a chance on unproven amateurs. The owner of this car found that out the hard way. While driving back home, a new sound came from the engine – one completely unrelated to the original issue.

Source: Geovestigator

Turns out the mechanic accidentally left some rags inside that broke the engine. Unfortunately, it looks mangled, shaped like an alien octopus with its tentacles clutching on the engine’s nooks and crannies. That’s one expensive mistake!


40. Scheduled Maintenance Repair Turns Into Disaster

When handling extremely valuable property, like this $72 million superyacht, there should be no room for experimenting amateurs. This is not the time to try your hand at something fun – it’s a serious job that calls for only the best professionals out there.

Source: TheRigSauce

A slight miscalculation in the lifting of the yacht out of the water resulted in this waterlogged disaster. It’s going to be a long time before this yacht can be used for any parties or special events with celebrities again.