This Day in Failure: March 15

2020: “It’s a very contagious virus, it’s incredible, but it’s something we have tremendous control over.”
—U.S. president Donald Trump, seeking to downplay the threat of COVID-19, even as the World Health Organization declared it a worldwide pandemic just days earlier

2018: A newly-installed pedestrian bridge collapses at Florida International University, crushing vehicles and causing multiple fatalities. Family-owned Munilla Construction Management, which installed the bridge, issued a statement on Twitter, saying, “The new University City Bridge, which was under construction, experienced a catastrophic collapse causing injuries and loss of life.”

According to an article on the University’s Web site, the $14.2 million bridge was designed to “provide a safer crossing of the eight-lane thoroughfare for the 4,200 FIU students living in Sweetwater.” And “to keep the inevitable disruption of traffic associated with bridge construction to a minimum, the 174-foot portion of the bridge was built adjacent to Southwest 8th Street using a method called Accelerated Bridge Construction (ABC) and was driven into its perpendicular position across the road in only six hours [just five days earlier].”

2018: The cargo hatch on an An-12 transport plane carrying 9.3 tons of gold comes open during takeoff, scattering gold bars all over the runway in Yatutsk, the capital city of the Sakha Republic, Russia. The gold—belonging to the Chukota Mining and Geological Company—is valued at more than 21 billion rubles (approximately $378 million). The crew returns to Yatutsk immediately following the incident.

2011: The 21-foot-high Omega digital clock counting down to the 2012 Summer Olympics breaks down just hours after being unveiled in London’s Trafalgar Square. The timepiece remains stuck at 500 days seven hours six minutes 56 seconds for several hours before workers are able to repair it.

1999: Relatives of Buddy Holly file a suit against MCA Records for allegedly forging contracts, illegally producing albums and non-payment of royalties.

1938: The U.S. Secret Service launches a “Know Your Money” campaign, an effort to beat the long-standing problem of counterfeit currency.