Darwin Nominees

Darwin Nominees

GRAVITY KILLS... A 22-year-old Reston man was found dead yesterday after
he tried to use octopus straps (the stretchy little ropes with hooks on 
each end) to bungee jump off a 70-foot railroad trestle, police said.
  Fairfax County (Virginia) police said Eric A. Barcia, a fast-food
worker, taped a bunch of these straps together, wrapped an end around 
one foot, anchored the other end to the trestle at Lake Accotink Park, 
jumped and hit the pavement.
  Warren Carmichael, a police spokesman, said investigators think Barcia
was alone because his car was found nearby. "The length of the cord that
he had assembled was greater than the distance between the trestle and 
the ground," Carmichael said. Police say the apparent cause of death was
"major trauma."
  An autopsy is scheduled for later in the week.

  Three young men in Oklahoma were enjoying the coming forth of July 
holiday and wanted to apparently test fire some fireworks. Their only 
real problem was that their launch pad and seating arrangements were 
atop a several-hundred-thousand-gallon fuel distillation storage tank.
Oddly enough, some fumes were ignited, producing a fireball seen for 
miles and miles. They were launched, no doubt, countless thousands of
feet into the air and were found dead 250 yards from their respective

  A lawyer and two of his buddies were fishing on Caddo Lake in Texas. 
A lightning storm hit the lake and most of the fisherman immediately 
headed for the shore. But not our friend the lawyer. He was alone on 
the rear of his aluminum bass boat and his buddies were in the front.
This gentleman stood up, spread his arms wide (crucifixion style) and
  Needless to say, God delivered. (Well, wouldn't you?) The other two
passengers on the boat survived.

  A man in Alabama died from rattlesnake bites. Big deal, you may say, 
but there's a twist here that makes him a Darwin Award candidate. It
seems he and a friend were playing "catch" with a rattlesnake. You can
guess what happened from here. The friend was hospitalized.

  Not much was given to me on this unlucky fellow, but he qualifies 
nonetheless. You see, there was a gentleman from Korea who was killed 
by his cell phone, more or less. He was doing the usual "walking and 
talking" when he walked into a tree and managed somehow to break his 
neck. Keep that in mind the next time you decide to drive and dial 
at the same time.

  Several years ago, in a west Texas town, employees in a medium-sized
warehouse noticed the smell of a gas leak. Sensibly, management evacuated
the building, extinguishing all potential sources of ignition; lights, 
power, etc. After the building had been evacuated, two technicians from 
the gas company were dispatched. Upon entering the building, they found
they had difficulty navigating in the dark. To their frustration, none 
of the lights worked. Witnesses later described the vision of one of the
technicians reaching into his pocket, and retrieving an object that
resembled a lighter. Upon operation of the lighter-like object, the gas
in the warehouse exploded, sending pieces of it up to three miles away.
Nothing was found of the technicians, but the lighter was virtually
untouched by the explosion. The technician that was suspected of causing
the explosion had never been thought of as "bright" by his peers.

  Three Brazilian men were flying in a light aircraft at low altitude when
another plane approached. It appears they decided to "moon" the occupants 
of the other plane, but lost control of the plane and crashed. They were 
all found dead in the wreckage with their pants around their ankles.

AP) LOS ANGELES - Police officials would not release the name of a 
Pacoima man who was found dead yesterday after responding to complaints
from neighbors that a bad smell was coming from his apartment. Upon 
entering the apartment, officers were surprised to see that every square
inch of the apartment, including appliances and even the inside of the 
toilet, were covered with pornographic images cut from magazines.
  "The visual effect was very unsettling," said Officer Hradj of the 
Pacoima Police. "Because everything looked the same, you could not tell
where one wall ended and a doorway began."
  The surprises did not end there, however. Police described the man as
having "concocted a wire frame around his head" upon which he had taped
various pornographic images, apparently so he could freely move about 
his apartment without ever losing his close-up view of nude bodies.
  Small slits had been cut into the paper so he could find his way, but
according to Hradj, "He had almost no peripheral vision. He could barely
see a thing."
  The man was found nude with this wire frame entangled in a hanging lamp.
  "We think he had been dusting," said another police officer, "because
a feather duster was lying nearby, and his head gear had somehow become
caught in the lamp, which was chained to the ceiling."
  The man allegedly choked to death trying to extricate himself from his
predicament. According to his apartment manager, the white male in his
mid-30's never left his apartment, and had food delivered weekly. Funeral
services are planned for next week. His next of kin requested that his 
name be withheld.

  A young Inuit man, searching for a way of getting drunk cheaply 
because he had no money to buy alcohol, mixed gasoline with milk. 
Not surprisingly, this concoction made him ill, and he vomited into 
the fireplace in his house. The resulting explosion and fire burned
his house down, killing both him and his sister.


  A 27 year-old French woman lost control over her car on a highway 
near Marseilles and crashed into a tree, seriously injuring her 
passenger and killing her. As a commonplace road accident, this would
not have qualified for a Darwin nomination were it not for the fact 
that the driver's attention had been distracted by her Tamagotchi 
keyring, which had started urgently beeping for food as she drove 
along. In attempting to press the correct buttons to save the 
Tamagotchi's life, the woman lost the control and hit the tree 
causing a severe head trauma.

  A man found dead and naked on the back of a killer whale in a tank 
at SeaWorld Orlando was a drifter who apparently drowned after picking
the wrong place to swim police said yesterday.  The same whale had 
earlier been involved in a trainer's death in Victoria.
  Police identified the man as Daniel Dukes, 27, a man who gave his 
address as a Miami Hare Krishna Temple.
  "There was no foul play or anything sinister on his part," said
Jim Solmons, a spokesperson for the Orange County Sheriff's Office.
"He was camped out in the park and just took the opportunity to swim 
with the whale."
  An employee at the Orlando marine them park discovered Dukes Tuesday
morning, dead, nude and draped across the back of a killer whale called
Tillikum, named after the western North American Indian Chinook word 
for "friend".
  Investigators said the 14-yea-old whale - almost 5,000 kilos, the 
largest in captivity - may have played with Dukes' 82 kilo body as if
it were a toy.
  Tillikum was involved in a fatal 1991 incident at a park in Victoria
after the drowning of Keltie Byrne, who fell into the whales' pool 
during a show.


CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (Nov. 13) -- A 39-year-old Charlottesville man died
Thursday in a freak accident involving his washing machine. According to
police reports, Samuel Randolph Strickson was doing laundry when he tried
to speed up the process. Strickson apparently tried to stuff approximately
50 pounds of laundry into his washing machine by climbing on top of the 
washer and attempting to force the clothing into the basin. Strickson then
apparently accidentally kicked the washing machine's ON button. When the 
machine turned on, Strickson lost his balance and both feet went down into
the machine, where they got stuck.  The machine started its cycle, and 
Strickson, unable to free himself, started thrashing around as the 
machine's agitator went into gear.  Strickson's head banged against 
a nearby shelf in the laundry room, knocking over a bottle of bleach, 
which poured over Strickson's face, blinding him. Forensic reports say 
Strickson apparently also swallowed some of the bleach.  He then vomited,
but was still unable to free himself. Strickson's dog, then apparently 
came into the laundry room. At about the same time, according to police,
a large box of baking soda fell from the shelf, startling the dog, who 
then urinated. Urine, like vinegar, is acidic, and the chemical reaction
between the urine and the baking soda resulted in "a small explosion," 
according to police reports. The dog, however, escaped unharmed.  
Strickson remained stuck in the washing machine, which eventually went
into its high-speed spin cycle, spinning Strickson around at about 
70 miles per hour, according to forensic experts. Strickson's head then
smashed against a steel beam behind the washing machine, immediately 
killing him.  A neighbor heard the commotion and called 911, but 
Strickson was pronounced dead at the scene.

Buxton, NC: A man died on a beach when an 8-foot-deep hole he had dug
into the sand caved in as he sat inside it. Beachgoers said Daniel 
Jones, 21, dug the hole for fun, or protection from the wind, and had
been sitting in a beach chair at the bottom Thursday afternoon when it
collapsed, burying him beneath 5 feet of sand. People on the beach, on
the outer banks, used their hands and shovels, trying to claw their 
way to Jones, a resident of Woodbridge, VA, but could not reach him. 
It took rescue workers using heavy equipment almost an hour to free 
him while about 200 people looked on. Jones was pronounced dead at a

  In February, Santiago Alvarado, 24, was killed in Lompoc, CA, 
as he fell face-first through the ceiling of a bicycle shop he 
was burglarizing.  Death was caused when the long flashlight he
had placed in his mouth (to keep his hands free) rammed into the
base of his skull as he hit the floor.

  According to police in Dahlonega, GA, ROTC cadet Nick Berrena, 20,
was stabbed to death in January by fellow cadet Jeffrey Hoffman, 23,
who was trying to prove that a knife could not penetrate the flakvest
Berrena was wearing.

  Sylvester Briddell, Jr., 26, was killed in February in Selbyville, 
Del., as he won a bet with friends who said he would not put a revolver
loaded with four bullets into his mouth and pull the trigger.

PADERBORN, GERMANY - Overzealous zookeeper Friedrich Riesfeldt fed his
constipated elephant Stefan 22 doses of animal laxative and more than 
a bushel of berries, figs and prunes before the plugged-up pachyderm 
finally let fly - and suffocated the keeper under 200 pounds of poop!
Investigators say ill-fated Friedrich, 46, was attempting to give the
ailing elephant an olive-oil enema when the relieved beast unloaded 
on him like a dump truck full of mud.
  "The sheer force of the elephant's unexpected defecation knocked 
Mr. Riesfeldt to the ground, where he struck his head on a rock and 
lay unconscious as the elephant continued to evacuate his bowels on 
top of him," said flabbergasted Paderborn police detective Erik Dern.
"With no one there to help him, he lay under all that dung for at 
least an hour before a watchman came along, and during that time he 
suffocated. It seems to bejust one of those freak accidents.

  Five Philippines treasure hunters were killed in March in Rizal
province after they found a live World War II bomb and tried to pound 
it open with a crowbar.  And a Philippines naval officer died in January
in Zamboanga City while renovating his home when he used a live mortar 
shell as a hammer. 

  In October, a 49-year-old San Francisco stockbroker, who "totally
zoned when he ran," according to his wife, accidentally jogged off
of a 200-foot-high cliff on his daily run.

  In September in Detroit, a 41-year-old man got stuck and drowned in 
two feet of water after squeezing headfirst through an 18-inch-wide
sewer grate to retrieve his car keys.

  In September, a 7-year- old boy fell off a 100-foot-high bluff near
Ozark, Ark., after he lost his grip swinging on a cross that marked 
the spot where another person had fallen to his death in 1990.

  In Guthrie, Okla., in October, Jason Heck tried to kill a millipede 
with a shot from his .22-caliber rifle, but the bullet ricocheted off
a rock near the hole and hit pal Antonio Martinez in the head, 
fracturing his skull.

  In Elyria, Ohio, in October, Martyn Eskins, attempting to clean out 
cobwebs in his basement, declined to use a broom in favor of a propane
torch and caused a fire that burned the first and second floors of his

  Paul Stiller, 47, was hospitalized in Andover Township, N. J., in
September, and his wife Bonnie was also injured, by a quarter-stick
of dynamite that blew up in their car.  While driving around at 2 a.m.,
the bored couple lit the dynamite and tried to toss it out the window 
to see what would happen, but they apparently failed to notice that 
the window was closed.

  Four people were injured in a string of related bizarre accidents.
Sherry Moeller was admitted with a head wound caused by flying masonry,
Tim Vegas was diagnosed with a mild case of whiplash and contusions on 
his chest, arms and face, Bryan Corcoran suffered torn gum tissue, and 
Pamela Klesick's first two fingers of her right hand had been bitten off.
  Moeller had just dropped her husband off for his first day of work
and, in addition to a good-bye kiss, she flashed her breasts at him.
  "I'm still not sure why I did it," she said later "I was really close
to the car, so I didn't think anyone would see. Besides, it couldn't have
been for more than two seconds".
  However, cab driver Vegas did see and lost control of his cab, running
over the curb and into the corner of the Johnson Medical Building.
  Inside, Klesick, a dental technician, was cleaning Corcoran's teeth.
The crash of the cab against the building making her jump, tearing  
Corcoran's  gums with a cleaning pick. In shock, he bit down, severing 
two fingers from Klesick's hand.  Moeller's wound was caused by a falling
piece of the  medical building.

  A paraglider from Riverton turned into a parasailor, and dropped into 
the Murdoch Canal near Lehi in Utah County on Monday evening. Craig's 
parachute filled with water, and he was unable to escape as he was 
dragged towards a siphon on the east side of the canal, sucked under 
the I-15 Freeway, and eventually pinned against a grate 400 feet 
downstream. An employee found his body for the Provo Water Users 
  Who knew that one of the dangers of paragliding is drowning?  

  A 25-year-old soldier died of injuries sustained from a 3-story fall,
precipitated by his attempt to spit farther than his buddy. His plan was
to hurl himself towards a metal guardrail while expectorating, in order 
to add momentum to his saliva. In a tragic miscalculation, his momentum
carried him right over the railing, which he caught hold of for a few 
moments before his grip slipped, sending him plummeting 24 feet to the
cement below. The military specialist had a blood alcohol content of 
0.14%, impairing his judgment and paving the way for his opportunity 
to win a Darwin Award.  

  An unusual sport called "body-canyoning" claimed the lives of 19 people
in Bern, with two more missing and presumed dead. Practitioners of "body-
canyoning" don life jackets and leap into white-water rapids, swimming 
and climbing through narrow river gorges in a race to go the farthest 
the fastest. Outfitting companies in the Swiss Alps provide river guides
for body-canyoning excursions.
  On this day, the unfortunate daredevils were woefully underprepared 
for the weather. A flash flood swept through the Saxteen River canyon,
burying them under mud and debris. The victims were from Britain, 
Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Switzerland. 

  Seven Sequoyah Volunteer Firefighters decided to impress their Chief
by surreptitiously setting fire to a house, then heroically extinguishing
the blaze. The men apparently hatched the plan in order to help Daniel,
a former firefighter, return to duty. Unfortunately, Daniel's career 
plans were irreversibly snuffed when he became trapped while pouring 
gasoline inside the house. Surrounded by smoke and flames, he was 
unable to escape, and died inside the burning house on June 26.
  His six accomplices are facing 87 years in prison for conspiracy, 
arson, and burglary.

  On February 3, 1990, a Renton (Seattle area) tried to commit a 
robbery. This was probably his first attempt, as suggested by his 
lack of a record of violent crime, and by his terminally stupid
  1. The target was H & J Leather & Firearms, a gun shop;
  2. The shop was full of customers, in a state where a substantial
fraction of the adult population is licensed to carry concealed
handguns in public places;
  3. To enter the shop, he had to step around a marked King County
Police patrol car parked at the front door;
  4. An officer in uniform was standing next to the counter, having
coffee before reporting to duty.
 Upon seeing the officer, the would-be robber announced a holdup and
fired a few wild shots. The officer and a clerk promptly returned fire, 
removing him from the gene pool.  Several other customers also drew 
their guns, but didn't fire. No one else was hurt.

 MOSCOW, RUSSIA - A drunk security man asked a colleague at the Moscow 
bank they were guarding to stab his bullet-proof vest to see if it 
protected him against the knife...It didn't and the 25-year-old guard 
died of a heart wound.  Isn't it good to see the Russians getting into 
the spirit of the awards.

 A couple of years ago the old brewery in our city closed down. When the
wrecking crew was demolishing the site they made an unexpected discovery.
The brewery was built into the side of a hill along the river, and
unknown to the builders, there was a cave right close by, which snaked
down under the building. Someone had dug the rest of the way up to the
floor, and then, unknown to anyone, had attached a small tube to the
underside of one of the pipes giving them an unlimited supply of free
beer. When the cave was discovered, a decomposing male human body was
found right beside the tap! The authorities concluded that the person 
had drunk himself to death!

 Jacques LeFevrier left nothing to chance when he decided
to commit suicide. He stood at the top of a tall cliff 
and tied a noose around  his neck. He tied the other end 
of the rope to a large rock. He drank some poison and set 
fire to his clothes. He even tried to shoot himself at 
the last moment. He jumped and fired the pistol. The 
bullet missed him and cut through the rope above him. 
Free of the threat of hanging, he plunged into  the sea.
The sudden dunking extinguished the flames and made him
vomit the poison. He was dragged out of the water by a 
kind fisherman and was taken to hospital, where he died...
of exposure!!!

Los Angeles, CA.  Ani Saduki, 33, and his brother decided
to remove a bees nest from a shed on their property with 
the aid of a "pineapple."  A pineapple is an illegal fire-
cracker which is the explosive equivalent of one-half stick 
of dynamite.  They ignited the fuse and retreated to watch 
from inside their home, behind a window some 10 feet away 
from the hive/shed.  The concussion of the explosion 
shattered the window inwards, seriously lacerating Ani. 
 Deciding Mr. Saduki need stitches, the brothers headed out 
to go to a nearby hospital. While walking towards their car, 
Ian was stung three times by the surviving bees.  Unbeknownst 
to either brother, Ani was allergic to bee venom, and died of 
suffocation enroute to the hospital.

  A driver, who crashed into the side of a 3000 ton wheat train  
and was dragged in his car more than a kilometer before being 
slammed into a pylon at the edge of a cliff, fell to his death 
as he walked for help.  The Queensland, Australia man, 63, and 
his female companion, 64, were driving along the Newell Highway 
near Moree, in Northwestern New  South Wales, on Wednesday night,
police said.   Their car crashed into the side of a fully laden, 
600 meter long train at a level crossing.  (I guess that would 
be harder to miss than the side of a barn!)  The vehicle became 
wedged between the second last and last carriages and was dragged
sideways beside the track as the train continued towards Moree, 
a police spokeswoman  said.   After being carried more than a 
kilometer and a half they approached  an unfenced bridge with a 
10 meter drop, the spokeswoman said. Moments before they reached 
the precipice, the car was struck by a  pylon, dislodged from 
the train and spun several times. When it came to rest, the pair 
managed to free themselves from the wreck (I wonder if it was a 
Volvo?) with minor bruising and the man set off along the railway 
line for help.  But he slipped on the bridge and fell to his death,
the spokeswoman said.  The woman was eventually able to raise the 
alarm and was recovering in Moree hospital with chest injuries.

  Derrick L. Richards, 28, was charged in April in Minneapolis with  
third-degree murder in the death of his beloved cousin, Kenneth E.  
Richards. According to police, Derrick suggested a game of Russian  
roulette and put a semiautomatic pistol (instead of the more 
traditional revolver) to Ken's head and fired.

  Phillipsburg, NJ.  An unidentified 29 year old male choked to death 
on a sequined pastie he had orally removed from an exotic dancer at a 
local establishment.
  "I didn't think he was going to eat it," the dancer identified only 
as "Ginger" said, adding "He was really drunk."

  In February, according to police in Windsor, Ont., Daniel Kolta, 27,  
and Randy Taylor, 33, died in a head-on collision, thus earning a tie 
in the game of chicken they were playing with their snowmobiles.

 [San Jose Mercury News] An unidentified man, using a shotgun like
a club to break a former girlfriend's windshield, accidentally shot 
himself to death when the gun discharged, blowing a hole in his gut

 [Kalamazoo Gazette,]  James Burns, 34, of Alamo, Mich., was
killed in March as he was trying to repair what police described 
as a "farm-type truck." Burns got a friend to drive the truck on 
a highway while Burns hung underneath so that he could ascertain 
the source of a troubling noise. Burns' clothes caught on something, 
however, and the other man found Burns "wrapped in the drive shaft."

 [Reuters, Mississauga, Ontario] A man cleaning a bird feeder on
his balcony of his condominium apartment in this Toronto suburb 
slipped and fell 23 stories to his death, police said Monday.  
Stefan Macko, 55, was standing on a wheeled chair Sunday when 
the accident occurred, said Inspector D'Arcy Honer of the Peel 
regional police. "It appears the chair moved and he went over 
the balcony," Honer said. "It's one of those freak accidents. 
No foul play is suspected."

[Hickory Daily Record] Ken Charles Barger, 47, accidentally shot 
himself to death in December in Newton, NC, when, awakening to 
the sound of a ringing telephone beside his bed, he reached for 
the phone but grabbed instead a Smith&Wesson 38 Special, which 
discharged when he drew it to his ear.


[UPI, Toronto]  Police said a lawyer demonstrating the safety of
windows in a downtown Toronto skyscraper crashed through a pane 
with his shoulder and plunged 24 floors to his death. A police 
spokesman said Garry Hoy, 39, fell into the courtyard of the 
Toronto Dominion Bank Tower early Friday evening as he was 
explaining the strength of the building's windows to visiting 
law students. Hoy previously had conducted demonstrations of
window strength according to police reports. Peter Lauwers, 
managing partner of the firm Holden Day Wilson, told the Toronto
Sun newspaper that Hoy was "one of the best and brightest" members 
of the 200-man association.

 [AP, Cairo, Egypt, CAIRO, Egypt (AP)  Six people drowned Monday 
while trying to rescue a chicken that had fallen into a well in 
southern Egypt.  An 18-year-old farmer was the first to descend 
into the 60-foot well.  He drowned, apparently after an 
undercurrent in the water pulled him down, police said.  His 
sister and two brothers, none of whom could swim well, went 
in one by one to help him, but also drowned.  Two elderly 
farmers then came to help, but they apparently were pulled by 
the same undercurrent. The bodies of the six were later pulled 
out of the well in the village of Nazlat Imara, 240 miles south 
of Cairo. The chicken was also pulled out. It survived.

[Bloomburg News Service, 25 March] A terrible diet and a room
with no ventilation are being blamed for the death of a man who 
was killed by his own gas  There was no mark on his body but 
autopsy showed large amounts of methane gas in his system.  His 
diet had consisted primarily of beans and cabbage (and a couple 
of other things). It was just the right combination of foods.  
It appears that the man died in his sleep from breathing from 
the poisonous cloud that was hanging over his bed. Had he been 
outside or had his windows been opened, it wouldn't have been 
fatal. But the man was shut up in his near airtight bedroom. 
He was ". . .a big man with a huge capacity for creating [this 
deadly gas]."  Three of the rescuers got sick and one was 

 [, San Jose Mercury News]  A 24-year-old salesman from Hialeah, 
Fla., was killed near Lantana, Fla., in March when his car smashed 
into a pole in the median strip of Interstate 95 in the middle of 
the afternoon.  Police said that the man was traveling at 80 MPH 
and, judging by the sales manual that was found open and clutched 
to his chest, had been busy reading.

[The News of the weird.]  JOINT NOMINEE  Michael Anderson Godwin
made News  of the Weird posthumously in 1989.  He had spent several 
years awaiting South Carolina's electric chair on a murder conviction 
before having his sentence reduced to life in prison.  While sitting 
on a metal toilet in his cell and attempting to fix his small TV set, 
he bit into a wire and was electrocuted.  On Jan. 1, 1997, Laurence 
Baker, also a convicted murderer once on death row, but later serving 
a life sentence at the state prison in Pittsburgh, Pa., was 
electrocuted by his homemade earphones as he watched his small TV 
while sitting on his metal toilet.

["The Indianapolis Star"].  A Jay County man using a cigarette 
lighter to check the barrel of a muzzleloader was killed Monday 
night when the weapon discharged in his face, sheriff's 
investigators said Gregory David Pryor, 19, died in his parents' 
rural Dunkirk home about 11:30 p.m.  Investigators said Pryor was 
cleaning a .54-caliber muzzleloader that had not been firing 
properly.  He was using the lighter to look into the barrel 
when the gunpowder ignited.

[AP, Mammoth Lakes]  A San Anselmo man died yesterday when he
hit a lift tower at the Mammoth Mountain ski area while riding down
the slope on a foam pad, authorities said. Matthew David Hubal, 22, 
was pronounced dead at Centinela Mammoth Hospital. The accident 
occurred about 3 a.m., the Mono County Sheriff's Department said.  
Hubal and his friends apparently had hiked up a ski run called Stump 
Alley and undid some yellow foam protectors from the lift towers, 
said Lieutenant Mike Donnelly of the Mammoth Lakes Police Department.  
The pads are used to protect skiers who might hit the towers.  The 
group apparently used the pads to slide down the ski slope and Hubal 
crashed into a tower. It was not clear if the tower he hit was one 
with its pad removed.  "With the cold temperatures, the snow was
probably pretty fast," said Donnelly.


[Reuters, Warsaw, Poland]  A poacher electrocuting fish in a lake 
in central Poland fell into the water and suffered the same fate as 
his quarry, police said Thursday.  The 24-year-old man was one of four 
who went fishing with a cable, one end of which they attached to a net 
and the other to a high-voltage electricity supply line, the PAPnews 
agency quoted a police official in Wloclawek as saying.  "For a while 
everything went according to the poachers' plan and they had fish in 
their bags. But at a certain moment the man holding the net tripped 
and fell into the water," the agency said. The other poachers tried 
in vain to revive him, it said.


 [AP, St. Louis]  Robert Puelo, 32, was apparently being
disorderly in a St. Louis market.  When the clerk threatened to call 
police, Puelo grabbed a hot dog, shoved it in his mouth, and walked 
out without paying for it. Police found him unconscious in front of 
the store: paramedics removed the six-inch wiener from his throat, 
where it had choked him to death.


[Unknown]  The poacher Marino Malerba, who shot a stag standing
above him on an overhanging rock, and was killed instantly when 
it fell on him.

[Fort Worth Star-Telegram]  In December near Mineral Wells, Tex., 
three men who were attempting to steal copper wire off live 
electrical lines for resale were electrocuted.  Copper wiring 
is a valuable scrap metal in Texas but is usually stolen from 
electric cables that are not being used.


  John Pernicky and friend Sal Hawkins, of the great state of Washington,
decided to attend a local Mettalica concert at the Amphitheater at Gorge, 
Washington.  Having no tickets but 18 beers among them they sat in the 
parking lot and after finishing the beer, decided that it would be easy 
enough to hop over the nine foot high fence and sneak into the show.
  The two friends pulled their pickup truck to the fence and the plan
was for John, 100 pounds heavier than Sal, to hop over, and then
assist his friend over the fence. Unfortunately for John, the fence
had a 30 foot drop on the other side.
  Having heaved himself over he found himself crashing through a tree,
falling to the ground. His fall was abruptly stopped by a large branch
which had been snagged by his shorts.  Dangling from the tree, with
one arm broken, John looked down and saw a group of bushes below him.
Figuring the bushes would break his fall, John removed his pocket
knife and proceed to cut away his shorts to free himself from the tree.
  When finally free, John crashed below into Holly bushes, the sharp
leaves scratched his whole body, and now being without his shorts he
was the unwilling victim of a Holly branch penetrating his rectal
cavity.  To make matters worse, his pocket knife proceeded to fall
with him and landed three inches into his left thigh.
  Seeing his friend in considerable pain and agony, Sal decided to
throw him a rope and pull him to safety.  However, weighing about 100
pounds less, he decided the best course of action would be to tie the
rope to the pickup truck.
  This is when things went bad.  Sal in his drunken state, put the
truck into the wrong gear, and proceeded to press on the gas and crash
through the fence, landing on and killing his friend.  Sal was thrown
from the truck, suffered massive internal injuries and died at the scene.
  Police arrive to find, a pickup truck, with its driver thrown 100
feet from the vehicle, and upon moving the truck, a half naked man,
with numerous scratches, a holly stick up his ..., a knife in his
thigh, and a pair of shorts dangling from the trees, 25 feet in the air.

A fierce gust of wind blew 45-year-old Vittorio Luise's car into a 
 river near Naples, Italy, in 1983. He managed to break a window,
 climb out and swim to shore -- where a tree blew over and killed him. 

 Mike Stewart, 31, of Dallas was filming a movie in 1983 on the 
 dangers of low-level bridges when the truck he was standing on
 passed under a low-level bridge -- killing him. 


 Walter Hallas, a 26-year-old store clerk in Leeds, England, was so 
 afraid of dentists that in 1979 he asked a fellow worker to try to
 cure his toothache by punching him in the jaw. The punch caused
 Hallas to fall down, hitting his head, and he died of a fractured 

 Two West German motorists had an all-too-literal head-on collision 
 in heavy fog near the small town of Guetersloh. Each was guiding
 his car at a snail's pace near the center of the road. At the
 moment of impact their heads were both out of the windows when they 
 smacked together. Both men were hospitalized with severe head
 injuries. Their cars weren't scratched. 

 George Schwartz, owner of a factory in Providence, R.I., narrowly 
 escaped death when a 1983 blast flattened his factory except for one 
 wall. After treatment for minor injuries, he returned to the scene
 to search for files. The remaining wall then collapsed on him, 
 killing him.

 Depressed since he could not find a job, 42-year-old Romolo
 Ribolla sat in his kitchen near Pisa, Italy, with a gun in his hand 
 threatening to kill himself in 1981. His wife pleaded for him not
 to do it, and after about an hour he burst into tears and threw the 
 gun to the floor. It went off and killed his wife.

 In 1983, a Mrs. Carson of Lake Kushaqua, N.Y., was laid out in 
 her coffin, presumed dead of heart disease. As mourners watched, 
 she suddenly sat up. Her daughter dropped dead of fright.

 A man hit by a car in New York in 1977 got up uninjured, but laid 
 back down in front of the car when a bystander told him to pretend 
 he was hurt so he could collect insurance money. The car rolled
 forward and crushed him to death. 

 Surprised while burgling a house in Antwerp, Belgium, a thief fled 
 out the back door, clambered over a nine-foot wall, dropped down and 
 found himself in the city prison.

   Hitting on the novel idea that he could end his wife's incessant 
 nagging by giving her a good scare, Hungarian Jake Fen built an
 elaborate harness to make it look as if he had hanged himself. When 
 his wife came home and saw him she fainted. Hearing a disturbance a 
 neighbor came over and, finding what she thought were two corpses, 
 seized the opportunity to loot the place. As she was leaving the
 room, her arms laden, the outraged and suspended Mr. Fen kicked her 
 stoutly in the backside. This so surprised the lady that she
 dropped dead of a heart attack. Happily, Mr. Fen was acquitted of 
 manslaughter and he and his wife were reconciled.

  There are many transmission lines that criss cross Connecticut. 
These are held up by Transmission Towers of various constructions. 
Those most commonly installed near urban areas are called "metal 
Ornamental Towers" (supposedly prettier than wood towers).
  Sometimes adventurous folks climb the towers in order to enjoy the 
view and the night air. Most stay away from the wires, and when they 
get bored, come back down.  Apparently, a man who was forlorn after 
a recent spat with his girlfriend needed some fresh air to clear his 
head and decided to climb a tower. He stopped for a 6 pack to help 
clear his thoughts, went to a tower south of Hartford, next to I-91, 
and climbed it. Public Service employees later pieced the story 
  The man sat there 60 feet above the highway, drank his beer and 
consoled his bruised ego. After 5 beers, he needed to do what people 
often need to do after 5 beers. It being such a long hike down, he 
unzipped and did his business right there off the tower.
  Electricity is a funny thing. One doesn't need to touch a wire in 
order to get shocked. Depending on conditions, 115,000 volt lines, 
like those supported by the tower, could shock a person as far away 
as 6 feet.  When the man "whizzed" near the conductor (wire), the 
power arced to his "stream" (urine is an excellent conductor of 
electricity), traveled up to his private parts, and blew him off 
the tower.
  The guys at the power company noted a momentary outage on this 
line and sent repairmen to see if there was any damage. When they 
got to the scene of the accident, they found a very dead person, 
his fly down, what was left of his private parts smoking, and a 
single beer left on top of the tower.

 In November, a 60-year-old Polish man in the village of
Kosianka Trojanowka, identified only as "Czeslaw B," was
accidentally shot to death by two homemade guns he had
mounted on his garage door to ward off trespassers (just 2 of 28
booby traps in his house). And in Slidell, La., in December,
Jason Jinks, 20, decided to open his car door and back up at 25
mph in order to look for his hat that had just fallen off; when he
hit the brakes, he fell out on his head and, three days later, died. 

Liverpool, England -- A man picking his nose on the way to work
was rear-ended by another car, causing him to ram his finger so
far into his head he punctured his brain and died.
David Chesterton was a compulsive nose picker until the day of
the fender bender that caused his probing finger to go too far.
"I always told David it was a filthy habit," said Chesterton's
widow, Martha, "but I had no idea it would lead to this."

  The Arizona Highway Patrol came upon a pile of smoldering 
metal embedded into the side of a cliff rising above the road 
at the apex of a curve.  The wreckage resembled the site of 
an airplane crash, but it was a car.  The type of car was 
unidentifiable at the scene.  The lab finally figured out 
what it was and what had happened.  It seems that a guy had 
somehow gotten hold of a JATO unit (Jet Assisted Take Off--
actually a solid fuel rocket) that is used to give heavy 
military transport planes and extra "push" for taking off 
from short airfields.  He had driven his Chevy Impala out 
into the desert and found a long, straight stretch of road.
  Then he attached the JATO unit to his car, jumped in, got 
up some speed and fired off the JATO!!
  The facts as best could be determined are that the operator of 
the 1967 Impala hit JATO ignition at a distance of approximately 
3.0 miles from the crash site.  This was established by the 
prominent scorched and melted asphalt at that location.  The 
JATO, if operating correctly, would have reached maximum thrust 
within 5 seconds, causing the automobile to reach speeds well in 
excess of 350 MPH and continuing at full power for 20-25 seconds.
The driver, soon to be pilot, would have experienced g-forces 
usually reserved for dog-fighting F-14 jocks, under full after
-burners, basically causing him to become insignificant for the 
rest of the event.  However, the automobile remained on the 
straight highway for 2.5 miles (15-20 seconds) before the driver 
applied and completely melted the brakes, blowing the tires, and 
leaving thick rubber marks on the road surface, then becoming 
airborne for an additional 1.4 miles and impacting the cliff 
face at a height of 125 feet leaving a blackened crater 3 feet 
deep in the rock.
  Most of the driver's remains were not recoverable; however, 
small fragments of bone, teeth, and hair were extracted from the 
crater and fingernail and bone shards were removed from a piece 
of debris believed to be a portion of the steering wheel.

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