A friend damaged a USB thumb drive accidentally. There were files on the drive that were valuable to him, so making some effort to recover them seemed worthwhile.
The damage was entirely mechanical. Something had whacked the drive while it was inserted in the front panel USB slot of a PC. The whack was hard enough to break the USB A connector off of the drive’s PCB. I don’t know how the stick got whacked, and I don’t know if any damage was done to the PC.
One lesson here is this: No matter how tempting it looks, a thumb drive is not a step. Do not climb your PC by standing on any devices that stick out of your front panel connectors.