This is a list of weird deaths. This list contains unique or extremely rare circumstances of death recorded throughout history. This list also includes less rare, though still unusual, deaths of prominent people.
Note: Many of these stories are likely to be apocryphal.
c. 620 BC: Draco, Athenian law-maker, was smothered to death by gifts of cloaks showered upon him by appreciative citizens at a theatre on Aegina.
6th century BC: Legend says Greek wrestler Milo of Croton came upon a tree-trunk split with wedges. Testing his strength, he tried to rend it with his bare hands. The wedges fell, trapping his hands in the tree and making him unable to defend himself from attacking wolves, which devoured him.
401 BC: Mithridates, a soldier condemned for the murder of Cyrus the Younger, was executed by scaphism, surviving the insect torture for 17 days.
272 BC: According to Plutarch, Pyrrhus of Epirus, conqueror and the source of the term pyrrhic victory, died while fighting an urban battle in Argos when an old woman threw a roof tile at him, stunning him and allowing an Argive soldier to kill him.
270 BC: Philitas of Cos, Greek intellectual, is said by Athenaeus of Naucratis to have studied arguments and erroneous word-usage so intensely that he wasted away and starved to death. Alan Cameron speculates that Philitas died from a wasting disease which his contemporaries joked was caused by his pedantry.
207 BC: Chrysippus, a Greek stoic philosopher, is believed to have died of laughter after giving his donkey wine then seeing it attempt to eat figs.
162 BC: Eleazar Maccabeus was crushed to death at the Battle of Beth-zechariah by a war elephant that he believed to be carrying Seleucid King Antiochus V. Charging into battle, Eleazar rushed underneath the elephant and thrust a spear into its belly, whereupon it fell dead on top of him.
53 BC: The Roman general and consul Marcus Licinius Crassus was reported to have been put to death by the Parthians after losing the battle of Carrhae, by being forced to drink a goblet of molten gold, symbolic of his great wealth.’
4 BC: Herod the Great reportedly suffered from fever, intense rashes, colon pains, foot drop, inflammation of the abdomen, a putrefaction of his genitals that produced worms, convulsions, and difficulty breathing before he finally expired. However, gruesome deaths have often been attributed by various authors to disliked rulers, including several Roman emperors (for example, Galerius).
64 – 67: Saint Peter was executed by the Romans. According to tradition, he asked not to be crucified in the normal way, but was instead executed on an inverted cross. According to Origen of Alexandria, he said he was not worthy to be crucified in the same way as Jesus.
c. 98: Saint Antipas, Bishop of Pergamum, was roasted to death in a brazen bull during the persecutions of Emperor Domitian. Saint Eustace, as well as his wife and children, supposedly suffered a similar fate under Hadrian.
212: Lucius Fabius Cilo, a Roman senator of the 2nd century, “…choked…by a single hair in a draught of milk”.
258: Saint Lawrence of Rome was roasted alive on a giant grill.
336: Arius, presbyter of Alexandria, is said to have died of sudden diarrhea followed by copious hemorrhaging and anal expulsion of the intestines. He may have been poisoned.
415: Hypatia of Alexandria, Greek mathematician and pagan philosopher, was murdered by a mob that ripped her skin off with sharp sea-shells. Various types of shells have been named: clams, oysters, abalones, etc. Other sources claim tiles or pottery-shards were used.
9th century: The legendary Prince Popiel, leader of the proto-Polish Goplans and Polans, and his wife, were allegedly eaten alive by mice in a tower in Kruszwica. A similar tale is the Mouse Tower of Archbishop Hatto II of Mainz. This curse was a consequence of his lack of hospitability or obeying traditions.
882, The Carolingian king, Louis III of France, was riding after a woman with amorous intent; on her flight into a building, he followed, still mounted and struck his head on the lintel of the doorway, killing him.
892: Sigurd the Mighty of Orkney strapped the head of his defeated foe, Máel Brigte, to his horse’s saddle. The teeth of the head grazed against his leg as he rode, causing a fatal infection.
1063: Béla I of Hungary died when his throne’s canopy collapsed upon him.
1219: According to legend, Inalchuk, the Muslim governor of the Central Asian town of Otrar, was captured and killed by the invading Mongols, who poured molten silver in his eyes, ears, and throat.
1327: Edward II of England, after being deposed and imprisoned by his Queen consort Isabella and her lover Roger Mortimer, was rumored to have been murdered by having a red-hot iron inserted into his anus.
1410: Martin I of Aragon died from a lethal combination of indigestion and uncontrollable laughing.
1478: George Plantagenet, Duke of Clarence, was executed by drowning in a barrel of Malmsey wine at his own request.
1514: György Dózsa, Székely man-at-arms and peasants’ revolt leader in Hungary, was condemned to sit on a red-hot iron throne with a red-hot iron crown on his head and a red-hot sceptre in his hand (mocking at his ambition to be king), by Hungarian landed nobility in Transylvania. While Dózsa was still alive, he was set upon and his partially roasted body was eaten by six of his fellow rebels, who had been starved for a week beforehand.
1601: Tycho Brahe, Danish astronomer, according to legend, died of complications resulting from a strained bladder at a banquet. As it was considered extremely bad etiquette to leave the table before the meal was finished, he stayed until he became fatally ill. This version of events has since been brought into question as other causes of death (murder by Johannes Kepler, suicide, and mercury poisoning among others) have come to the fore.
1649: Sir Arthur Aston, Royalist commander of the garrison during the Siege of Drogheda, was beaten to death with his own wooden leg, which the Parliamentarian soldiers thought concealed golden coins.
1660: Thomas Urquhart, Scottish aristocrat, polymath and first translator of Rabelais into English, is said to have died laughing upon hearing that Charles II had taken the throne.
1667: James Betts died from asphyxiation after being accidentally sealed in a cupboard by Elizabeth Spencer in an attempt to hide him from her father, John Spencer.
1671: François Vatel, chef to Louis XIV, committed suicide because his seafood order was late and he could not stand the shame of a postponed meal. The authenticity of this story is questionable.
1673: Molière, the French actor and playwright, died after being seized by a violent coughing fit, while playing the title role in his play Le Malade imaginaire (The Hypochondriac).
1687: Jean-Baptiste Lully, composer, died of a gangrenous abscess after piercing his foot with a staff while he was vigorously conducting a Te Deum. It was customary at that time to conduct by banging a staff on the floor.
1751: Julien Offray de La Mettrie, a major materialist and sensualist philosopher and author of L’Homme machine, died of overeating at a feast given in his honor.
1753: Professor Georg Wilhelm Richmann, of Saint Petersburg, Russia, became the first recorded person to be killed while performing electrical experiments when he was struck and killed by a globe of ball lightning.
1762: Crown Prince Sado, then heir to Emperor Jeongjo of Joseon, was ordered to be sealed alive in a rice chest after his father decided he was unfit to succeed him. He survived inside for 8 days.
1771: Adolf Frederick, king of Sweden, died of digestion problems on 12 February 1771 after having consumed a meal of lobster, caviar, sauerkraut, smoked herring and champagne, topped off with 14 servings of his favourite dessert: semla served in a bowl of hot milk. He is thus remembered by Swedish schoolchildren as “the king who ate himself to death.”
1794: John Kendrick, an American sea captain and explorer, was killed in the Hawaiian Islands when a British ship mistakenly used a loaded cannon to fire a salute to Kendrick’s vessel.
1814: London Beer Flood, 9 people were killed when 323,000 imperial gallons (1,468,000L) of beer in the Meux and Company Brewery burst out of their vats and gushed into the streets.
1816: Gouverneur Morris, an American statesman, died after sticking a piece of whale bone through his urinary tract to relieve a blockage.
1830: William Huskisson, statesman and financier, was crushed to death by a locomotive (Stephenson’s Rocket), at the public opening of the world’s first mechanically powered passenger railway.
1834: David Douglas, Scottish botanist, fell into a pit trap accompanied by a bull. He was gored and possibly crushed.
1862: Jim Creighton, baseball player, died when he swung a bat too hard and ruptured his bladder.
1868: Matthew Vassar, brewer and founder of Vassar College, died in mid-speech while delivering his farewell address to the college board of trustees.
1871: Clement Vallandigham, U.S. Congressman and political opponent of Abraham Lincoln, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound while defending a murder suspect in court. Vallandigham was demonstrating for the jury how the victim could have accidentally shot himself while drawing the gun when his own gun, which he believed to be unloaded, discharged. His client was acquitted.
1884: Allan Pinkerton, detective, spy, and founder of the Pinkerton National Detective Agency, allegedly died when he contracted gangrene after slipping and biting his tongue. However, conflicting reports indicate that he died of a stroke instead.
1912: Franz Reichelt, tailor, fell to his death off the first deck of the Eiffel Tower while testing his invention, the overcoat parachute. It was his first ever attempt with the parachute.
1916: Grigori Rasputin, Russian mystic, was reportedly poisoned, shot in the head, shot three more times, bludgeoned, and then thrown into a frozen river after being castrated. When his body washed ashore, an autopsy showed the cause of death to be hypothermia. However, there is now some doubt about the credibility of this account. Another account said that he was poisoned, shot, and stabbed, at which time he got up and ran off – and was later found to have drowned in a frozen river.
1918: Gustav Kobbé, writer and musicologist, was killed when the sailboat he was on was struck by a landing seaplane off Long Island, New York.
1919: In the Boston Molasses Disaster, 21 people were killed and 150 were injured when a tank containing as much as 2,300,000 US gal (8,700,000 L) of molasses exploded, sending a wave travelling at approximately 35 mph (56 km/h) through part of Boston, Massachusetts, United States.
1920: Ray “Chappie” Chapman, shortstop for the Cleveland Indians baseball team, was killed when a submarine ball thrown by Carl Mays hit him in the temple. He took two steps after being given a walk, collapsed, and died the next day.
1920: Dan Andersson, a Swedish author, died of cyanide poisoning while staying at Hotel Hellman in Stockholm. The hotel staff had failed to clear the room after using hydrogen cyanide against bedbugs.
1920, 25 October: Alexander I, King of the Hellenes, was taking a walk in the Royal Gardens, when his dog was attacked by a monkey. The King attempted to defend his dog, receiving bites from both the monkey and its mate. The diseased animals’ bites caused sepsis and Alexander died three weeks later.
1923: Frank Hayes, a debutant jockey at Belmont Park, New York, died of a heart attack during the course of his first race. His mount finished first with his body still attached to the saddle, and was only discovered to be dead when the horse’s owner went to congratulate him.
1923: George Herbert, 5th Earl of Carnarvon, became the first to die from the alleged King Tut’s Curse after a mosquito bite on his face, which he cut while shaving, became seriously infected with erysipelas, leading to blood poisoning and eventually pneumonia.
1923: Martha Mansfield, an American film actress, died after sustaining severe burns on the set of the film The Warrens of Virginia after a smoker’s match, tossed by a cast member, ignited her Civil War costume of hoopskirts and ruffles.
1925: Zishe (Siegmund) Breitbart, a circus strongman and Jewish folklore hero, died after demonstrating he could drive a spike through five one-inch (2.54 cm) thick oak boards using only his bare hands. He accidentally pierced his knee and the rusted spike caused an infection which led to fatal blood poisoning.
1926: Phillip McClean,16, from Queensland, Australia became the only person documented to have been killed by a cassowary. After encountering the bird on their family property, McClean and his brother decided to kill it with clubs. When McClean struck the bird it knocked him down, then kicked him in the neck, opening a 1.25 cm long cut in one of his main blood vessels. Though the boy managed to get back on his feet and run away, he collapsed a short while later and died from the hemorrhage.
1926: Harry Houdini, a famous American escape artist, was punched in the stomach by an amateur boxer. Though this had been done with Houdini’s permission, complications from this injury caused him to die days later, on October 31, 1926. It was later determined that Houdini died of a ruptured appendix.
1927: J.G. Parry-Thomas, a Welsh racing driver, was decapitated when his car’s drive chain snapped and whipped into the cockpit.
1927: Isadora Duncan, dancer, died of a broken neck when her long scarf caught on the wheel of a car in which she was a passenger.
1928: Alexander Bogdanov, a Russian physician, died following one of his experiments, in which the blood of L. I. Koldomasov, a student suffering from malaria and tuberculosis, was given to him in a transfusion.
1930: William Kogut, an inmate on death row at San Quentin, committed suicide with a pipe bomb created from several packs of playing cards and the hollow leg from his cot. At the time, the red ink in playing cards contained flammable nitrocellulose, which when wet can create an explosive mixture. Kogut used the heater in his cell to activate the bomb.
1932: Eben Byers died of radiation poisoning after having consumed large quantities of a popular patent medicine containing radium.
1933: Michael Malloy, a homeless man, was murdered by five men in a plot to collect on life insurance policies they had purchased. After surviving multiple poisonings, intentional exposure, and being struck by a car, Malloy succumbed to gassing.
1935: Baseball player Len Koenecke was bludgeoned to death with a fire extinguisher by the crew of an aircraft he had chartered, after provoking a fight with the pilot while the plane was in the air.
1939: Finnish actress Sirkka Sari died when she fell down a chimney into a heating boiler. She mistook a chimney for a balcony.
1940: Marcus Garvey died as a result of two strokes after reading a negative premature obituary of himself.
1941: Sherwood Anderson, writer, died of peritonitis after swallowing a toothpick at a party.
1942: 32 men died when the British cruiser HMS Trinidad accidentally torpedoed herself.
1943: Critic Alexander Woollcott suffered a fatal heart attack during an on-air discussion about Adolf Hitler.
1944: 74 men died when the US Submarine USS Tang accidentally torpedoed itself during a combat patrol off the coast of Taiwan.
1944: Inventor and chemist Thomas Midgley, Jr. accidentally strangled himself with the cord of a pulley-operated mechanical bed of his own design.
1945: Scientist Harry K. Daghlian, Jr. accidentally dropped a brick of tungsten carbide onto a sphere of plutonium while working on the Manhattan Project. This caused the plutonium to come to criticality; Daghlian died of radiation poisoning, becoming the first person to die in a criticality accident.
1946: Louis Slotin, chemist and physicist, died of radiation poisoning after being exposed to lethal amounts of ionizing radiation from the same core that killed Harry K. Daghlian, Jr. The core went critical after a screwdriver he was using to separate the halves of the spherical beryllium reflector slipped.
1947: The Collyer Brothers, extreme cases of compulsive hoarders, were found dead in their home in New York. The younger brother, Langley, was crushed to death when he accidentally triggered one of his own booby traps that had consisted of a large pile of objects, books, and newspapers. His blind and paralyzed brother Homer, who had depended on Langley for care, died of starvation some days later.
1955: Margo Jones, theater director, was killed by exposure to carbon tetrachloride fumes from her newly cleaned carpet.
1958: Gareth Jones, actor, collapsed and died between scenes of a live television play, Underground, at the studios of Associated British Corporation in Manchester. Director Ted Kotcheff continued the play to its conclusion, improvising around Jones’ absence.
1959: In the Dyatlov Pass incident, nine ski hikers in the Ural Mountains abandoned their camp in the middle of the night, some clad only in their underwear despite sub-zero weather. Six died of hypothermia and three by unexplained injuries. The corpses showed no signs of struggle, but one had a fatal skull fracture, two had major chest fractures, and one was missing her tongue. Tests showed that all of the hikers had been exposed to large amounts of radiation. Soviet investigators determined only that “a compelling unknown force” had caused the deaths.
1960: In the Nedelin catastrophe, more than 100 Soviet rocket technicians and officials died when a switch was accidentally turned on, causing the second stage engines of a rocket to ignite, directly above the fully fueled first stage. The casualties included Red Army Marshal Nedelin, who was sitting just 40 meters away overseeing launch preparations.
1960: Inejiro Asanuma, 61, the head of the Japanese Socialist Party, was stabbed to death with a wakizashi sword by extreme rightist Otoya Yamaguchi during a televised political rally.
1960: Alan Stacey, Formula One race driver, died in a crash during the Belgian Grand Prix when a bird flew into his face, causing him to lose control.
1961: Valentin Bondarenko, a Soviet cosmonaut trainee, died after suffering third-degree burns over much of his body from a flash fire in the pure oxygen environment of a training simulator.
1963: Thích Quảng Đức, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, sat down in the middle of a busy intersection in Saigon, covered himself in gasoline, and lit himself on fire, burning himself to death.
1966: Worth Bingham, son of Barry Bingham, Sr., died when a surfboard, lying atop the back of his convertible, hit a parked car, swung around, and broke his neck.
1966: Skydiver Nick Piantanida died from the effects of uncontrolled decompression four months after an attempt to break the world record for the highest parachute jump. During his third attempt, his face mask came loose (or he possibly opened it by mistake), causing loss of air pressure and irreversible brain damage.
1967: Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger B. Chaffee, NASA astronauts, died when a flash fire began in their pure oxygen environment during a training exercise inside the Apollo 1 spacecraft. The spacecraft’s escape hatch could not be opened during the fire because it was designed to seal shut under pressure.
1967: Cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov became the first person to die during a space mission after the parachute of his capsule failed to deploy following re-entry.
1971: Jerome Irving Rodale, an American pioneer of organic farming, died of a heart attack while being interviewed on The Dick Cavett Show. The show was never broadcast.
1972: Leslie Harvey, guitarist of Stone the Crows, was electrocuted on stage by a live microphone.
1974: Basil Brown, a 48-year-old health food advocate from Croydon, drank himself to death with carrot juice.
1974: Christine Chubbuck, an American television news reporter, committed suicide during a live broadcast on July 15. At 9:38 am, eight minutes into her talk show on WXLT-TV in Sarasota, Florida, she shot herself in the head with a revolver.
1974: Deborah Gail Stone, 18, an employee at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, was crushed to death between a moving wall and a stationary wall inside of the revolving America Sings attraction.
1975: Bandō Mitsugorō VIII, a Japanese kabuki actor, died of severe poisoning when he ate four fugu (puffer-fish) livers. Although the liver is considered one of the most poisonous parts of the fish, Mitsugorō claimed to be immune to the poison. The fugu chef felt he could not refuse Mitsugorō.
1975: Alex Mitchell, a 50-year-old from Norfolk, England, died laughing while watching The Goodies. A particular scene had caused Mitchell to laugh nonstop for twenty-five minutes before dying of heart failure.
1976: Keith Relf, former singer for British rhythm and blues band The Yardbirds, died while practicing his electric guitar. He was electrocuted by an improperly grounded amplifier.
1977: Tom Pryce, a Formula One driver at the 1977 South African Grand Prix, was killed when he was struck in the face by a track marshal’s fire extinguisher. The marshal, Frederik Jansen van Vuuren, was running across the track to attend to Pryce’s team-mate’s burning car when he was struck, and killed instantly, by Pryce’s car.
1978: Georgi Markov, a Bulgarian dissident, was assassinated in London with a specially modified umbrella that fired a metal pellet with a small cavity full of ricin into his calf.
1978: Janet Parker, a British medical photographer, died of smallpox in 1978, ten months after the disease was eradicated in the wild, when a researcher at the laboratory where Parker worked accidentally released some virus into the air of the building. Parker is believed to be the last smallpox fatality in history.
1978: Kurt Gödel, the Austrian/American logician and mathematician, died of starvation when his wife was hospitalized. Gödel suffered from extreme paranoia and refused to eat food prepared by anyone else. He was 65 pounds (approx. 30 kg) when he died. His death certificate reported that he died of “malnutrition and inanition caused by personality disturbance”.
1979: Robert Williams, a worker at a Ford Motor Co. plant, was the first known human to be killed by a robot, after the arm of a one-ton factory robot hit him in the head.
1979: John Bowen, a 20-year-old of Nashua, New Hampshire, was attending a halftime show at a New York Jets football game at Shea Stadium on December 9, 1979. During an event featuring custom-made remote control flying machines, a 40-pound model plane shaped like a lawnmower accidentally dived into the stands, striking Bowen and another spectator, causing severe head injuries. While the other spectator survived, Bowen died in hospital four days later.
1980: James Frederick Polley, a 23-year-old from Raytown, Missouri, died while riding the Fire In The Hole ride in Branson, Missouri, at Silver Dollar City theme park. The train of cars he was riding in was mistakenly switched to enter the maintenance and storage area of the ride. The door to the maintenance area had a low-hanging bay door and his head got caught between the door and the train.
1981: David Allen Kirwan a 24-year-old, died after attempting to rescue a friend’s dog from the 200°F (93°C) water in Celestine Pool, a hot spring at Yellowstone National Park on July 20, 1981. Kirwan suffered third-degree burns over 100% of his body and died the next morning at a Salt Lake City hospital.
1981: Boris Sagal, a film director, died while shooting the TV miniseries World War III when he walked into the tail rotor blade of a helicopter and was decapitated.
1981: Jeff Dailey, a 19-year-old gamer, became the first known person to die while playing video games. After achieving a score of 16,660 in the arcade game Berzerk, he succumbed to a massive heart attack. A year later, an 18-year-old gamer died after achieving high scores in the same game.
1981: Kenji Urada, a Japanese factory worker, was killed by a malfunctioning robot he was working on at a Kawasaki plant in Japan. The robot’s arm pushed him into a grinding machine, killing him.
1981: Paul Gauci, a 41-year-old Maltese man, died after welding a butterfly bomb to a metal pipe and using it as a mallet, thinking it was a harmless can.
1982: Vic Morrow, actor, was decapitated by a helicopter blade during filming of Twilight Zone: The Movie. Two child actors were also killed; Myca Dinh Le, who was decapitated, and Renee Shin-Yi Chen, who was crushed.
1982: David Grundman was killed near Lake Pleasant, Arizona while shooting at cacti with his shotgun. After firing several shots at a 26 ft (8 m) tall Saguaro Cactus from extremely close range, a 4 ft limb of the cactus detached and fell on him, crushing him.
1982: Navy Lieutenant George M. Prior, 30, died in Arlington from a severe allergic reaction to Daconil, a fungicide used on a golf course he attended. He had unwittingly ingested the substance through his habit of carrying the tee in his mouth when playing.
1983: Four divers and a tender were killed on the Byford Dolphin semi-submersible, when a decompression chamber explosively decompressed from 9 atm to 1 atm in a fraction of a second. The diver nearest the chamber opening literally exploded just before his remains were ejected through a 24 in (60 cm) opening. The other divers’ remains showed signs of boiled blood, unusually strong rigor mortis, large amounts of gas in the blood vessels, and scattered hemorrhages in the soft tissues.
1983: Sergei Chalibashvili, a professional diver, died as a result of a diving accident during the 1983 Summer Universiade in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. When he attempted a three-and-a-half reverse somersault in the tuck position from the ten meter platform, he struck his head on the platform and was knocked unconscious. He died after being in a coma for a week.
1983: American author Tennessee Williams died when he choked on an eyedrop bottle-cap in his room at the Hotel Elysee in New York. He would routinely place the cap in his mouth, lean back, and place his eyedrops in each eye.
1983: Jimmy Lee Gray, a man executed in Mississippi’s gas chamber, died bashing his head against a metal pole behind the chair he was strapped into. The poisonous gas had failed to kill him but left him in agony and gasping for eight minutes.
1983: Dick Wertheim was an American tennis linesman who died from blunt cranial trauma as a result of his injury at a match at the 1983 US Open. Stefan Edberg sent an errant serve directly into his groin, causing him to fall and hit his head on the pavement.
1984: Tommy Cooper, British comedian, died of a heart attack while performing during a live TV broadcast at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London. Initially the audience, thinking it was part of the act, continued to laugh as he lay collapsed on the stage. He was then pulled from sight as attempts were made to revive him off stage.
1984: Jon-Erik Hexum, an American television actor, died after he shot himself in the head with a prop gun loaded with a single blank cartridge. Hexum was playing Russian Roulette during a break in filming.
1986: Hrand Arakelian, a Brink’s armored truck guard, was crushed by several 25-pound boxes of quarters when the driver braked suddenly in Los Angeles, California.
1986: More than 1,700 were killed after a limnic eruption from Lake Nyos in Cameroon, released approximately 100 million cubic meters of carbon dioxide that quickly descended the lake and killed oxygen-dependent life within a 15-mile (25 kilometer) radius, including three villages. The same phenomenon is also blamed for the deaths of 37 near Lake Monoun in 1984.
1987: Budd Dwyer, the State Treasurer of Pennsylvania, committed suicide during a televised press conference in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Facing a potential 55-year jail sentence for alleged involvement in a conspiracy, Dwyer shot himself in the mouth with a revolver.
1987: Franco Brun, a 22-year-old prisoner at Toronto East Detention Centre, in Toronto, Ontario, choked to death after attempting to swallow a Gideon’s Bible.
1988: Clarabelle Lansing, an Aloha Airlines Flight 243 flight attendant, was sucked out of the Boeing 737 when a large section of its fuselage tore off in mid flight.
1991: Maximo Rene Menendez, a 25-year-old man from Miami, fell into a coma after drinking the Colombian soft drink Pony Malta de Bavaria. The bottle had been laced with cocaine in an apparent smuggling scheme. He was declared brain dead and died after doctors disconnected his life-support equipment.
1991: Edward Juchniewicz, a 76-year-old man, was killed when the ambulance stretcher he was strapped to rolled down a grade and overturned. The ambulance attendants, while speaking to a doctor’s staff, had left the stretcher unattended. Juchniewicz suffered a head injury and died a short time later.
1991: Carl Hulsey, 77, of Cherokee County, Georgia, was butted to death by his pet goat. Hulsey had regularly hit the goat with a stick in an apparent attempt to make it more aggressive so it could act as a “guard dog” for Hulsey’s home.
1991: Lori Keevil-Mathews, a 33-year-old woman from Camarillo, California, was killed during a visit to the artistic work “The Umbrellas” by Christo and Jeanne Claude when one of the 6-meters tall, 488-pound umbrellas was blown by a windstorm and hit her, causing fatal fractures to her back and skull. A worker subsequently died in an accident while dismantling the giant umbrellas following this incident.
1993: Actor Brandon Lee, son of Bruce Lee, was shot and killed by a prop gun during the making of the movie The Crow. The accident happened after a mistake in prop handling procedures. In a prior scene a revolver was fired using a cartridge with only a primer and a bullet, but the primer provided enough force to push the round out of the cartridge into the barrel of the revolver, where it stuck. The gun was then reused to shoot the death scene of Lee’s character. This time it was reloaded with a blank cartridge that contained propellant and a primer. When actor Michael Massee fired the gun, the bullet was propelled into Lee.
1993: Garry Hoy, a 38-year-old lawyer and a senior partner at the Holden Day Wilson Law firm in Toronto, Canada, fell to his death on July 9, 1993, after he threw himself against a window on the 24th floor of the Toronto-Dominion Centre in an attempt to prove to a group of visiting law students that the glass was “unbreakable.” The glass didn’t break, but popped out of the window frame, and he fell over 300 feet to his death.
1993: Michael A. Shingledecker Jr. was killed almost instantly when he and a friend were struck by a pickup truck while lying flat on the yellow dividing line of a two-lane highway in Polk, Pennsylvania. They were copying a daredevil stunt from the movie The Program. Marco Birkhimer died of a similar accident while performing the same stunt in Route 206 of Bordentown, New Jersey.
1994: Gloria Ramirez was admitted to Riverside General Hospital, in Riverside, California, for complications of advanced cervical cancer. Before she died, her caregivers claimed that Ramirez’s body mysteriously emitted toxic fumes that made several emergency room workers very ill.
1994: Jeremy Brenno, a 16 year-old golfer from Gloversville, New York, was killed when he threw his club against a bench in a fit of rage, breaking the shaft. Part of the shaft bounced back and pierced his heart.
1995: A 39-year-old man committed suicide in Canberra, Australia by shooting himself three times with a pump action shotgun. The first shot passed through his chest and went out the other side. He reloaded and shot away his throat and part of his jaw. Breathing through the wound in his throat, he again reloaded, held the gun against his chest with his hands and operated the trigger with his toes. This shot entered the thoracic cavity and demolished the heart, killing him.
1995: A 14-year-old girl was killed on Timber Wolf at Worlds of Fun in Kansas City, Missouri. The park owners said the girl had removed her restraints and tried to switch seats with her friend while the ride was moving and that no malfunctions had occurred.
1996: Sharon Lopatka, an Internet entrepreneur from Maryland, allegedly solicited a man via the Internet to torture and kill her for the purpose of sexual gratification. Her killer, Robert Fredrick Glass, was convicted of voluntary manslaughter for the homicide.
1998: Tom and Eileen Lonergan are presumed dead after being stranded after scuba diving with a group of divers off Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. The group’s boat accidentally abandoned them after an incorrect head count taken by the dive boat crew. Their bodies were never recovered.
1998 October: An entire visiting association football team playing against Basanga was killed instantly when the field was struck by lightning during a match in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Everyone on Basanga, the home team, survived.
1999: Owen Hart, a Canadian-born professional wrestler for WWF, died during a pay-per-view event while performing a stunt. It was planned to have Owen come down from the rafters of the Kemper Arena on a safety harness tied to a rope to make his ring entrance. The safety latch was accidentally released early and Owen dropped 78 feet (24 m) and landed chest-first on the top rope, severing his aorta and causing his lungs to fill with blood.
1999: Professional golfer Payne Stewart and five others died when the airplane they were on lost cabin pressure in-flight, causing fatal hypoxia. The aircraft continued on auto-pilot for several hours, carrying the deceased passengers several hundred miles off course before running out of fuel and crashing in South Dakota.
2001: Bernd-Jürgen Brandes, from Germany, was voluntarily stabbed repeatedly and then partly eaten by Armin Meiwes (who was later called the Cannibal of Rotenburg). Brandes had answered an internet advertisement by Meiwes looking for someone for this purpose. Brandes explicitly stated in his will that he wished to be killed and eaten.
2001: Gregory Biggs, a homeless American man in Fort Worth, Texas, was struck by a car being driven by Chante Jawan Mallard, who had been drinking and taking drugs. Biggs’ torso became lodged in Mallard’s windshield with severe but not immediately fatal injuries. Mallard drove home and left the car in her garage with Biggs still lodged in her car’s windshield. Biggs died of his injuries several hours later.
2001: Michael Colombini, a 6-year-old American boy from Croton-on-Hudson, New York, was struck and killed, at Westchester Regional Medical Center, by a 6.5-pound metal oxygen tank when it was pulled into the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine while he underwent a test. He had begun to experience breathing difficulties while in the MRI and when an anesthesiologist brought a portable oxygen canister into the magnetic field, it was pulled from his hands and struck the boy in the head.
2002: Brittanie Cecil, a 13-year-old American, was struck in the head by a hockey puck shot by Espen Knutsen at an NHL hockey game in Columbus, Ohio. She died two days later in the hospital.
2002: Kenneth Farr, a 37-year-old man from Penarth, Wales, was partially decapitated when an unsecured safety barrier in a supermarket carpark was blown through the windshield of his car by a sudden gust of wind.
2002: Richard Sumner, a British artist suffering from schizophrenia, went into a remote section of Clocaenog Forest in Denbighshire, Wales, handcuffed himself to a tree and threw the keys out of his reach. His skeleton was discovered three years later.
2003: Brian Douglas Wells, an American pizza delivery man in Erie, Pennsylvania, was killed by a time bomb that had been fastened around his neck. He was apprehended by the police after robbing a bank, and claimed he had been forced to do it by three people who had put the bomb around his neck and would kill him if he refused. The bomb later exploded, killing him.
2003: Dr. Hitoshi Christopher Nikaidoh, a surgeon, was decapitated as he stepped onto an elevator at Christus St. Joseph Hospital in Houston, Texas, USA on August 16, 2003.
2004: Phillip Quinn, a 24-year-old American from Kent, Washington, was killed during an attempt to heat up a lava lamp bulb on his kitchen stove while observing it from a few feet away. The heat built up pressure in the bulb until it exploded, spraying shards of glass. One shard pierced his heart, killing him.
2004: Ronald McClagish, from England, died after being trapped inside a cupboard for a week. A wardrobe outside had fallen over, trapping him. In an effort to free himself, McClagish accidentally wrenched a water pipe from the wall and the water gushing from the pipe eventually caused his death from bronchitis.
2004: An unidentified Taiwanese woman died of alcohol intoxication after immersion for 12 hours in a bathtub filled with 40% ethanol. Her blood alcohol content was 1.35%. It was believed that she had immersed herself as a response to the ongoing SARS epidemic.
2005: Linda Williams, 37, of San Diego, California, died after being trapped in her condominium that had been enclosed in a fumigation tent while undergoing fumigation for termites.
2005: Kenneth “Mr. Hands” Pinyan of Gig Harbor, Washington, U.S. died of acute peritonitis after receiving anal intercourse from a stallion. The case led to the criminalization of bestiality in Washington state.
2005: Lee Seung Seop, a 28-year-old South Korean, collapsed of fatigue and died after playing the videogame StarCraft online for almost 50 consecutive hours in an Internet cafe.
2006: Erika Tomanu, a seven-year-old girl in Saitama, Japan, died when she was sucked 10 metres down the intake pipe of a current pool at a water park. The grille that was meant to cover the inlet came off, yet lifeguards at the pool at the time deemed it safe after issuing a verbal warning to swimmers.
2006: Steve Irwin, an Australian television personality and naturalist known as the Crocodile Hunter, died when his heart was impaled by a short-tail stingray barb while filming a documentary entitled “Ocean’s Deadliest” in Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef.
2006: Alexander Litvinenko, a former officer of the Russian State security service, and later a Russian dissident and writer, died after being poisoned with polonium-210 causing acute radiation syndrome.
2007: Jennifer Strange, a 28-year-old American woman from Sacramento, died of water intoxication while trying to win a Nintendo Wii console in a KDND 107.9 “The End” radio station’s “Hold Your Wee for a Wii” contest, which involved drinking large quantities of water without urinating.
2007: Humberto Hernandez, a 24-year-old Oakland, California resident, was killed from being struck in the face by an airborne fire hydrant while walking on a sidewalk; a passing car blew a tire and swerved onto the sidewalk, striking the fire hydrant. The force of the water pressure shot the 200-pound hydrant at Hernandez with enough force to kill him.
2007: Kevin Whitrick, a 42-year-old British man, committed suicide by hanging himself live on a webcam during an Internet chat session.
2007: Surinder Singh Bajwa, the Deputy Mayor of Delhi, India, was warding off several Rhesus Macaque monkeys at his home and fell from a first-floor balcony, suffering serious head injuries. He later died from his injuries.
2008: Abigail Taylor, a 6-year-old American girl, died nine months after several of her internal organs were partially sucked out of her lower body while she sat on an excessively powerful swimming pool drain. After several months, surgeons replaced her intestines and pancreas with donor organs, but she later succumbed to a rare transplant-related cancer.
2008: Gerald Mellin, a U.K. businessman, committed suicide by tying one end of a rope around his neck and the other to a tree. He then got into his Aston Martin DB7 and drove down a main road in Swansea until the rope decapitated him.
2008: David Phyall, 58, the last resident in a block of flats due to be demolished in Bishopstoke, near Southampton, Hampshire, England, cut his own head off with a chainsaw to highlight the injustice of being forced to move out.
2008: James Mason, 73, of Chardon, Ohio, died of heart failure after his wife exercised him to death in a public swimming pool. Christine Newton-John, 41, was seen on video tape pulling Mason around the pool and preventing him from getting out of the water 43 times.
2008: Isaiah Otieno, 23, a Kenyan student living in Cranbrook, British Columbia, Canada, was killed when a Bell 206 helicopter crashed on top of him as he walked along a residential street.
2008: Nordin Montong, 32, a janitor at the Singapore Zoo, committed suicide by entering an enclosure containing white tigers and provoking them with brooms and a pail until they mauled him to death.
2009: Jonathan Campos, an American sailor charged with murder, killed himself in his Camp Pendleton, San Diego, California, cell by stuffing toilet paper into his mouth until he asphyxiated.
2009: Sergey Tuganov, a 28-year-old Russian, bet two women that he could continuously have sex with them both for twelve hours. Several minutes after winning the $4,300 bet, he suffered a heart attack and died, apparently due to having ingested an entire bottle of Viagra just after accepting the bet.
2009: Taylor Mitchell, a Canadian folk singer, was attacked and killed by two coyotes, only the second recorded human fatality from a coyote attack.
2009: Vladimir Likhonos, a Ukrainian student, died after accidentally dipping a piece of homemade chewing gum into explosives he was using on another project. He mistook the jar of explosive for citric acid, which was also on his desk. The gum exploded, blowing off his jaw and most of the lower part of his face.
2010: Jenny Mitchell, a 19-year-old English hairdresser, was killed when her car exploded after fumes, caused by chemicals mixing with hydrogen peroxide leaking from a bottle of hair bleach, ignited as she lit a cigarette.
2010: Vladimir Ladyzhensky, a competitor from Russia, died in the World Sauna Championships in Finland after he had spent six minutes in a sauna that had been heated up to 110 °C (230 °F). Because of this incident, no further World Sauna Championships will be held.
2010: Mike Edwards, 62, a musician and a founding member of rock group Electric Light Orchestra, was killed instantly when a 600 kg (1,300 lb) bale of hay rolled down a hill and landed on his passing van in Devon, southwest England. A farm contractor had laid the fresh hay bale against a fence in a field above the road. However, the bale had toppled over, rolled down the slope, and smashed through a fence onto Edwards’s vehicle.
2010: Jimi Heselden, owner of the Segway motorized scooter company, was killed when he accidentally drove off a cliff on a Segway at his estate and drowned in the River Wharfe.
2010: Robert Boardman, 63, was gored to death by a mountain goat while he was eating lunch at Olympic National Park.
2010: Robert Gary Jones, 38, was jogging and listening to his iPod when he was hit from behind and killed by a small plane making an emergency landing on a beach in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.
2011: Jose Luis Ochoa, 35, died after being stabbed in the leg at a cockfight by one of the birds that had a knife attached to its limb.
2011: Arthur Sexton, 80, died after falling off a step ladder and landing upside down in a water butt containing only a couple of feet of water. He drowned with his legs sticking out of the top.
2011: Janet Richardson, 73, died after being taken ill onboard a cruise ship off the coast of Norway. The ship’s captain ordered her to be evacuated to the mainland for medical care. However, as she was being transferred to a rescue boat, paramedics dropped her stretcher into the Arctic Ocean. She remained in the sub-zero waters for several minutes and died several days later in a hospital.