These poor people. They all met a sticky end, some out of their own stupidity…actually pretty much all through their own stupidity.
5. (2 February 2008, Bulgaria) It was a cold but sunny February afternoon. Lidia, a biology teacher from Sofia, was driving two friends home from a memorial service. Suddenly the vehicle stopped. Bystanders saw all three occupants dash from the car to a nearby manhole, and start pouring down liquids and powders from various bottles and jars.
Apparently, the biology teacher had been performing chemistry experiments in her free time, and had some leftover noxious chemicals. It is still not entirely clear what the chemicals were, but two of the bottles were labelled diethyl ether and methanol, both highly flammable substances. The former is also used as a sedative, so one explanation for their actions is that they felt dizzy from the ether vapors and thought it was a good idea to pour them in the sewer.
As it turns out, a good idea it definitely was not. The cocktail of flammable substances in the enclosed space of the sewer caused an explosion so powerful that it launched the manhole cover into the air, decapitating the (briefly) surprised Lidia. Left without a head on her shoulders, she decided it was time to kick the bucket.
4. (8 March 2008, Czech Republic) Steel is valuable, especially the high grade alloy used in steel cable. Scrap metal dealers do not ask questions. They pay in cash. And a good supply of cables can be found in elevator shafts.
This particular goldmine was a towering shaft inside an empty grainery near Zatec, 40 miles northwest of Prague. The cable was tightly fastened, and the far end of it disappeared into the shadowy distance above.
After substantial wear and tear on a hacksaw, our man finally cut through the strong steel cable. At that instant, the counterbalance, no longer held in check, started to move silently downwards, accelerating until it reached the bottom of the shaft.
Result: one proud winner of a “terminal velocity” Darwin Award.
3. The telephone company was replacing above-ground telephone lines with buried lines. In one sparsely populated farming area, if lines crossed a country road they would dig a trench halfway across, so rural traffic could continue through. Then they would fill in the trench, and dig a trench on the other side.
One morning, local farmers called the sheriff to report a smashed-up pickup. Inside were two ranch hands who were last seen the previous night, heading home after last call. You see…
On their way to the bars, the men had decided to play a prank. They stopped their pickup, and moved the flashing warning signs from the trenched side to the good side of the country road. Crime scene analysis later confirmed that they were the culprits who moved the flashing stands. Investigations also revealed that at the time of the accident, they were driving at an excessive speed with an impressive amount of alcohol in their systems.
No crime scene analysis is capable of determining whether the ranch hands forgot their prank, or chose to see what would happen if they hit that trench at a high rate of speed in the middle of the night.
2. (July 16, 2008, Italy) Ivece Plattner, 68, was queued at a traffic light in his Porsche Cayenne sportscar. Before one reaches the light, there is a railroad crossing. As you might imagine, given Murphy’s law, a train was coming.
The man did not let the queue progress forward far enough before he crossed the railroad. The safety bars came down, leaving the Porsche trapped on the rails. It took the driver awhile to realize he was stuck, according to witnesses. Finally, he jumped from the car and started to run — toward the oncoming train, waving his arms in an attempt to save his car!
The attempt was successful. The car received less damage than its owner. He was pushed hard enough to land 30 meters away, and attempts to revive him were unsuccessful.
1. (20 April 2008, Atlantic Ocean, Brazil) Adelir Antonio de Carli, 41, was attempting to set the world record for clustered balloon flight to publicize his plan to build a spiritual rest stop for truckers.
Sitting for more than 19 hours in a lawn chair is not a trivial matter, even in the comfort of your own backyard. The priest took numerous safety precautions, including wearing a survival suit, selecting a buoyant chair, and packing a satellite phone and a GPS. However, the late Adelir Antonio made a fatal mistake.
He did not know how to use the GPS.
The winds changed, as winds do, and he was blown inexorably toward open sea. He could have parachuted to safety while over land, but chose not to. When the voyager was perilously lost at sea, he prudently phoned for help. But rescuers were unable to reach him since he could not use his GPS! HE struggled with the control panel as the charge on the satellite phone dwindled.
Instead of a GPS, the priest let God be his guide, and God guided him straight to heaven. Bits of balloons began appearing on mountains and beaches. Ultimately the priest’s body surfaced, confirming that he, like Elvis, had left the building.