This Day in Failure: July 16

2009: A crane collapses at the 60,000-seat Stade Velodrome in Marseille (France) while construction workers are lifting a large metallic truss in preparation for an upcoming Madonna concert. Two workers are killed and ten others injured in the accident.

2008: Wine Spectator magazine reveals the winners of its 2008 Restaurant Awards at, a list that includes Osteria L’Intrepido, a non-existent restaurant ostensibly located in Milan, Italy. A wine critic had entered the imaginary restaurant in the contest (submitting a wine list, contact information and $250 entry fee), wondering if the publication would fall for the scam, which he subsequently exposed, thereby earning free publicity for his new book at the magazine’s expense.

2008: U.S. Women’s soccer star Abby Wambach, 28, fractures both the tibia and fibula in her left leg after colliding with Brazil’s Andreia Rosa during a “friendly” in San Diego, California, ending her chances of competing in the Beijing Summer Olympics.

1999: John F. Kennedy, Jr., his wife, Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, and her sister, Lauren Bessette, all die when the single-engine Piper Saratoga that John was piloting crashes into the Atlantic Ocean near Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. Later, the National Transportation Safety Board concludes that the crash was caused by an inexperienced pilot who became disoriented in the dark and lost control.

1990: Steve “Psycho” Lyons, a utility infielder for the Chicago White Sox, bunts the ball during a game against the Detroit Tigers and proceeds to dive headlong into first base, where he is called safe by umpire Jim Evans. Tigers pitcher Dan Petry argues the call, and Lyons, absorbed in the discussion, absent-mindedly pulls his pants down and casually brushes away the dirt that had lodged inside his uniform. The argument stops, and Lyons, realizing his blunder, flashes an I-can’t-believe-I-pulled-my-pants-down gape.

1981: Singer/songwriter Harry Chapin dies in a car crash on Long Island en route to a benefit concert.

1979: Ninety-four million gallons of acidic water pour into the north fork of New Mexico’s Rio Puerco River after an earthen uranium tailings dam fails.