Over the years I've read and heard some really good stories about photographers and equipment related incidents. One of the best was the photographer who accidentally pushed his brand new digital camera, that was mounted on a tripod, off a cliff while searching for a lens in his bag. Another story describes how a camera bag was dragged a few miles before the photographer realised what was happening. He'd put the bag on the boot (trunk for any Americans reading this) of the car, gone to collect something else and forgot about the bag. The Billingham bag strap had hooked onto the car's tow bar and was dragged for quite a distance; the bag was wrecked but the camera equipment remained intact inside.
The closest I've come to a disaster was in the summer of 2005 when my Nikon F4s ended up in a Norfolk harbour - me with it! I'd seen a shot and was making my way when sand turned to mud which, in turn, became deeper and stickier. I lost my balance and the camera ended up in the mud with the lens facing upwards. I can tell you that you get a sick feeling when you see your camera embedded in a muddy harbour! Fortunately the camera had rubber seals around the eyepiece and back which kept the mud at bay, otherwise it might well have killed the F4. Later on I was able to strip the camera down into it's various pieces and clean it thoroughly. Within a couple of hours it looked as good as new and the camera is still going strong today. Yippee!
As for me? well i probably looked like the monster from the black lagoon as i emerged from that harbour. I probably smelt just as bad too. Not nice stuff harbour mud!