(17 April 2006, England) There’s always someone who thinks good advice doesn’t apply to him. For example, if a doctor advises that the one thing you must not do is go near a flame, as you are going to be covered wtih a flammable material, most people would take this advice onboard, and not strike a match until the flammable material has been removed.
However, Phillip, 60, knew better than his doctor. Philip was in the hospital to treat a skin disease, said treatment consisting of being smeared in paraffin-based cream. Philip was warned that the cream would ignite, so he definitely should NOT smoke. But he just couldn’t live without that cigarette.”
Smoking was not permitted anywhere on the ward, but Phillip took this setback in stride, and sneaked out onto a fire escape. Once he was hidden, he lit up… inhaled… and peace descended as he got his nicotine fix. Things went downhill only after he finished his cigarette, at the moment he ground out the butt with his heel.
The paraffin cream had been absorbed by his clothing. As his heel touched the butt, fumes from his pyjamas ignited. The resulting inferno “cremated” his skin condition, and left first-degree burns on much of his body. Despite excellent treatment, he died in intensive care.
(3 June 2006, Florida) Two more candidates have thrown themselves into the running for a Darwin Award. The feet of Jason and Sara, both 21, were found protruding from a deflated, huge helium advertising balloon. Jason was a college student, and Sara attended community
When one breathes helium, the lack of oxygen in the bloodstream causes a rapid loss of consciousness. Some euthanasia experts advocate the use of helium to painlessly end one’s life
The pair pulled down the 8′ balloon, and climbed inside. Their last words consisted of high-pitched, incoherent giggling as they slowly passed out and passed into the hereafter.
August 2006, Brazil) August brings us a winner from Brazil, who tried to disassemble a Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) by driving back and forth over it with a car. This technique was ineffective, so he escalated to pounding the RPG with a sledgehammer. The second try worked–in a sense. The explosion proved fatal to one man, six cars, and the repair shop wherein the efforts took place.
4. Look Before You Leap
(New York) “My father works as an investigator for an insurance company, a job he frequently reminds me of how much he hates. One of his major clients is a train station. On a day not unlike any other, a man awoke on a train to find that he had missed his stop. Instead of looking out the window, or asking another passenger where the train was, he ripped open the doors of the train and threw himself through them, much to the astonishment of onlooking passengers.
“Had the ill-fated passenger taken the time to look out the window before leaping off the train, he would have noticed that it was moving in excess of 50 MPH, and it was also moving over a bridge. “Look before you leap.” He died at the scene in the Hudson River.
(September 2006, Florida) A fearsome mythical giant was felled by a humble slingshot. But a modern speargun vs. an underwater leviathan is another tale altogether, as a Florida man discovered.
Outlawed in 1990, hunting Goliath-sized groupers remains surprisingly popular. These fish can weigh hundreds of pounds, yet there are underwater hunters who choose to tether themselves to such muscular sea creatures. However unlikely a pursuit, the poaching of groupers by divers and snorkelers continues, in defiance of both the law and common sense.
Of this elite group, our Darwin Award winner distinguished himself yet further by disregarding one essential spearfishing precaution. By embarking on this hunt without a knife to cut himself loose, the “fit and experienced snorkeler” was guaranteeing that his next attack on a giant grouper would be his last.
Why anyone thinks it’s a good idea to tether yourself to a fish twice your size, I don’t know. Some time later, the body of the spearfisher was found pinned to the coral, 17 feet underwater. Three coils of line were wrapped around his wrist, and one very dead grouper was impaled at the other end of the line.
(August 2006, Libreville, Gabon) In August, a congregation’s 35-year old pastor insisted one could literally walk on water, if one only had enough faith. Big and bold was his speech. He extolled the heavenly power possessed by a faithful man with such force that he may well have convinced himself. Whether or not he believed in his heart, his sermons left room for only shame should he leave his own faith untested. Thus, the pastor set out to walk across a major estuary, the path of a 20-minute ferry ride. But the man could not swim.
Lacking the miraculous powers of David Copperfield, let alone holy Jesus Christ, this ill-fated cleric found only a Darwin Award at the end of his final path.
7. High Tension
(19 March 2006, Belize) Benjamin Franklin reputedly flew his kite in a lightning storm, going on to discover that lightning equals electricity. However, certain precautions must be taken to avoid sudden electrocution. Kennon, 26, replicated the conditions of Ben Franklin’s experiment, but without Ben’s sensible safety precautions. Kennon was flying a kite with a short string that he had extended with a length of thin copper wire. The copper made contact with a high-tension line, sending a bolt of electrical lightning towards the man. Just bad luck? Kennon’s father told listeners his son was an electrician, and “should have known better.” Kennon is survived by his parents, six sisters, and five brothers.
(7 February 2005, Malaysia) Fireworks are a longstanding lunar New Year’s tradition among Malaysia’s large Chinese minority, and continue to be widely used to celebrate, despite a ban on their saleS and use.
Wan, a 29-year-old excavator operator, spent the evening watching people set off fireworks outside a suburban Kuala Lumpur nightclub. These were no mere firecrackers. They were rockets that shot as high as a ten-story building before exploding.
His curiosity piqued, Wan bent over one of the launching tubes for a closer look, wondering how these powerful rockets worked. He was peering down the tube when it fired, sending him flying ten meters. He died instantly from severe head injuries, according to a senior police official.
9. American’s Funniest Home Video Gone Wrong
(16 January 2005, Florida) Two North Fort Myers residents, 23-year-old Molly and her husband, had rented a room in a local motel for some unspecified activity, perhaps involving perpetuation of the species. As Molly entered the second-floor room, she went straight for the lanai, which overlooked a concrete patio. Most guests would have seen the railing on the edge of the lanai as a safety feature, but for Molly it brought to mind fond memories of her youthful gymnastic abilities.
Molly called out to Todd, “Watch to see what I can still do.” These would be her last words. She did a flip onto the railing for a handstand, just the way she used to do, then toppled over the other side, slamming into the patio 15 feet below. She was pronounced dead at the hospital
(8 February 2005, Caerphilly, Wales) “If Wales wins, I’ll cut my balls off,” Geoff told his mates at a social club while watching the rugby match between England and its arch-rival. His friends thought the 26-year-old was joking, but after Wales’ 11-9 victory over England, he went home, castrated himself with a knife, and walked the length of two rugby fields back to the bar to show his shocked friends the evidence.