This Day in Failure: May 8

2018: On the same day a new Ebloa outbreak is declared in Congo, Rear Adm. Timothy Ziemer—the top White House official responsible for leading the U.S. response in the event of a pandemic—is pushed out of the Trump Administration, and the global health security team he oversaw is disbanded. Ziemer’s departure—and the breakup of his team—comes at a time when many experts say the United States is already underprepared for the increasing risk of a pandemic.

Less than two years later, a coronavirus pandemic spreads across the world, and the United States quickly becomes the epicenter of the crisis, with more confirmed cases than any other country in the world.

2009: A Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority trolley rear-ends another MBTA trolley in downtown Boston, injuring 49 people. The operator of the moving trolley—a 24-year-old who had been on the job for 22 months—admits he was sending a text message to his girlfriend at the time of the accident.

2006: Guy Goma, a prospective BBC employee, is accidentally interviewed live on BBC News 24 about the Apple Corps v. Apple Computer lawsuit. Goma arrives at the BBC’s London headquarters to interview for an information technology job, but is mistaken for Guy Kewney—a British Internet expert and the intended interview subject—in the reception area. After being introduced on live television as “Guy Kewney,” Goma evinces a look of shocked disbelief, yet he plays along and answers the interviewer’s questions to the best of his ability.

2003: A Russian-made transport plane en route from Kinshasa to Lubumbashi (both cities in the Congo), loses its cargo door at an altitude of 33,000 feet. Dozens of men, women and children tumble to their deaths after being sucked out of the suddenly depressurized cabin.

1985: New Coke becomes available to the public on the 99th anniversary of Coca-Cola.

1950: A flood caused by 14 inches of rain kills 23 people in southeastern Nebraska. Most of the victims drown after being trapped in their vehicles by flash flooding.