This Day in Failure: December 16

2008: Thirteen people are injured and dozens trapped for hours in unheated gondola cars when a tower on the Excalibur gondola at Canada’s Whistler ski resort buckles, bouncing two gondola cabins off the ground. The resort indicates that the tower failure occurred when water seeped into a splice on a section of the tower, then an extreme deep freeze turned that water to ice, rupturing the splice in an uncommon phenomenon known as “ice-jacking.”

2008: Police announce that serial killer Ottis Toole is the individual responsible for decapitating the six-year-old son of America’s Most Wanted host John Walsh in 1981. The announcement closes a case that remained open for more than a quarter-century, and led to revolutionary advances in the methods authorities use to search for missing children.

2007: After 32 seasons, 498 games and 1,865 kickoff returns, Michael Spurlock of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers returns a kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown during a 37-3 rout of the Atlanta Falcons, becoming the first Tampa Bay player to score on a kickoff return in franchise history.

2001: Arizona Cardinals placekicker Bill Gramatica, 23, jumps high in the air in celebration after converting a 42-yard field goal in the first quarter of a game against the New York Giants. He lands awkwardly, however, and tears the anterior cruciate ligament and medial meniscus in his right knee, an injury that requires major reconstructive surgery.

1960: A United Airlines DC-8 en route from Chicago, Illinois, to Idlewild Airport (now John F. Kennedy International Airport), and a TWA Super Constellation en route from Dayton, Ohio, to LaGuardia Airport, collide over New York City, killing all 128 people aboard the planes as well as six others on the ground.

1773: A group of Massachusetts colonists disguised as Mohawk Indians board three British tea ships and dump £10,000 worth of tea into Boston Harbor. The midnight raid, now known as the Boston Tea Party, was a protest against the British Parliament’s Tea Act of 1773.