List of unusual deaths

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The death of Aeschylus illustrated in the 15th-century Florentine Picture Chronicle by Maso Finiguerra.[1]

This is a list of unusual deaths. This list includes only unique or extremely rare circumstances of death recorded throughout history, noted as being unusual by multiple sources. Oxford Dictionaries defines the word "unusual" as "not habitually or commonly occurring or done" and "remarkable or interesting because different from or better than others."[2]

Some other articles also cover deaths that might be considered unusual or ironic, including list of entertainers who died during a performance, list of inventors killed by their own inventions, list of association footballers who died while playing, list of professional cyclists who died during a race and the list of political self-immolations.

Antiquity[edit]

Name of person Image Date of death Details
Draco of Athens c. 620 BC Draco, an Athenian lawmaker, was reportedly smothered to death by gifts of cloaks and hats showered upon him by appreciative citizens at a theatre on Aegina.[3][4]
Charondas
Illustration of the death of Charondas from 1787.jpg
late seventh to early fifth century BC Charondas was a Greek lawgiver from Sicily.[5][6] According to Diodorus Siculus, he issued a law that anyone who brought weapons into the Assembly must be put to death.[5][7][6] One day, he arrived at the Assembly after hunting in the countryside with a knife still attached to his belt.[5][6] In order to uphold his own law, he committed suicide.[5][7][6]
Arrhichion of Phigalia
Pankratiasten in fight greek statue 2 century bC.jpg
564 BC Arrichion of Phigalia, a Greek pankratiast, caused his own death during the Olympic finals. Held by his unidentified opponent in a stranglehold and unable to free himself, Arrichion kicked his opponent, causing him so much pain that the opponent made the sign of defeat to the umpires, but at the same time breaking Arrichion's neck. Since the opponent had conceded defeat, Arrichion was proclaimed the victor posthumously.[8][9]
Pythagoras of Samos
Kapitolinischer Pythagoras adjusted.jpg
c. 495 BC Ancient sources disagree on how the Greek philosopher Pythagoras died,[10][11] but one late and probably apocryphal legend reported by both Diogenes Laërtius, a third-century AD biographer of famous philosophers, and Iamblichus, a Neoplatonist philosopher, states that Pythagoras was murdered by his political enemies.[11] Supposedly, he almost managed to outrun them,[11] but he came to a bean field and refused to run through it because he had prohibited beans as ritually unclean.[12][11] Since cutting through the field would violate his own teachings, Pythagoras simply stopped running and was killed as a result.[11] This story may have been fabricated by Neanthes of Cyzicus, whom both Diogenes and Iamblichus rely on as a source.[11]
Heraclitus of Ephesus
Utrecht Moreelse Heraclite.JPG
c. 475 BC According to one account given by Diogenes Laërtius, the Greek philosopher Heraclitus was said to have been devoured by dogs after smearing himself with cow manure in an attempt to cure his dropsy.[13][14]
Themistocles
Busto di temistocle, da originale greco del V secolo ac, dal decumano presso il casamento del temistocle.JPG
c. 459 BC Themistocles, the Athenian general who won the Battle of Salamis, actually died of natural causes in exile,[15][16] but was widely rumored to have committed suicide by drinking bull's blood.[15][17][18][16] Since bull's blood is not actually poisonous,[16] Themistocles cannot have actually died in this way,[16] but the legend is widely retold in classical sources.[16] The early twentieth-century English classicist Percy Gardner proposed that the story about him drinking bull's blood may have been based on an ignorant misunderstanding of a statue showing Themistocles in a heroic pose, holding a cup as an offering to the gods.[16] The comedic playwright Aristophanes references Themistocles drinking bull's blood in his comedy The Knights (performed in 324 BC) as the most heroic way for a man to die.[19][16]
Aeschylus
Herma of Aeschylus, Klas08.jpg
c. 455 BC According to Valerius Maximus, Aeschylus, the eldest of the three great Athenian tragedians, was killed by a tortoise dropped by an eagle that had mistaken his bald head for a rock suitable for shattering the shell of the reptile. Pliny, in his Naturalis Historiæ, adds that Aeschylus had been staying outdoors to avert a prophecy that he would be killed by a falling object.[20][21][22]
Empedocles of Akragas
Empedocles in Thomas Stanley History of Philosophy.jpg
c. 430 BC Empedocles of Acragas was a Pre-Socratic philosopher from the island of Sicily, who, in one of his surviving poems, declares himself to have become a "divine being... no longer mortal".[23] According to Diogenes Laërtius, he tried to prove he was an immortal god by leaping into Mount Etna, an active volcano.[24][25] This legend is also alluded to by the Roman poet Horace.[26]
Sophocles
Sophocles pushkin.jpg
c. 406 BC A number of "remarkable" legends concerning the death of Sophocles, another of the three great Athenian tragedians, are recorded in the late antique Life of Sophocles.[20] According to one legend, he choked to death on an unripe grape.[20] Another says that he died of joy after hearing that his last play had been victorious.[20] A third account reports that he died of suffocation after reading aloud a lengthy monologue from the end of his play Antigone without pausing to take a breath for commas or punctuation.[20]
Mithridates 401 BC Mithridates was a Persian soldier who embarrassed his king, Artaxerxes II, by boasting of killing his rival, Cyrus the Younger (who was the brother of Artaxerxes II), was executed by scaphism. The king's physician, Ctesias, reported that Mithridates survived the insect torture for 17 days.[27][28]
Democritus of Abdera
Hendrik ter Brugghen - Democritus.jpg
c. 370 BC According to Diogenes Laërtius, the Greek Atomist philosopher Democritus of Abdera died at the age of 109;[29][30] as he was on his deathbed, his sister was greatly worried because she needed to fulfill her religious obligations to the goddess Artemis in the approaching three-day Thesmophoria festival.[29][30] Democritus told her to place a loaf of warm bread under his nose[29][30] and was able to survive for the three days of the festival by sniffing it.[29][30] He died immediately after the festival was over.[29][30]
Agathocles of Syracuse
Siracusa, agatocle, 25 litre, 310-300 ac ca.JPG
289 BC Agathocles, a Greek tyrant of Syracuse, was murdered by a poisoned toothpick.[31]
Philitas of Cos
Antikythera philosopher.JPG
c. 270 BC Philitas of Cos, a Greek intellectual, is said by Athenaeus to have studied arguments and erroneous word usage so intensely that he wasted away and starved to death.[32] British classicist Alan Cameron speculates that Philitas died from a wasting disease which his contemporaries joked was caused by his pedantry.[33]
Qin Shi Huang
Qinshihuang.jpg
10 September 210 BC Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China, whose artifacts and treasures include the Terracotta Army, died after ingesting several pills of mercury in the belief that it would grant him eternal life.[34][35][36]
Chrysippus of Soli
Chrysippos BM 1846.jpg
c. 206 BC One ancient account of the death of Chrysippus, a third-century BC Greek Stoic philosopher, tells that he died of laughter after he saw a donkey eating his figs; he told a slave to give the donkey neat wine to drink to wash them down with, and then, "...having laughed too much, he died" (Diogenes Laërtius 7.185).[37]
Eleazar Avaran
Harley3240 f.28 ElephantDetail.jpg
c. 163 BC Elazar Avaran was the brother of Judas Maccabeus. According to 1 Maccabees 6:32-33, he rushed into a battle by thrusting his spear into the belly of a king's elephant, which collapsed and fell on top of Avaran, killing him instantly.[38]
Saint Lawrence
Martyrdom of Lawrence - Edited.jpg
258 AD The deacon Saint Lawrence was roasted alive on a giant grill during the persecution of Valerian.[39][40] Prudentius tells that he joked with his tormentors, "Turn me over—I'm done on this side".[41] He is now the patron saint of cooks, chefs and comedians.[42]

Middle Ages[edit]

Name of person Image Date of death Details
Ragnar Lodbrok
Ragnar Lodbroks död by Hugo Hamilton.jpg
c. 865 Ragnar Lodbrok, a semi-legendary Viking leader whose exploits are narrated in the Ragnars saga loðbrókar, a thirteenth-century Icelandic saga, is said to have been captured by Ælla of Northumbria, who had him executed by throwing into a pit of snakes.[43]
Sigurd the Mighty of Orkney 892 Sigurd the Mighty, the second Earl of Orkney, strapped the head of his defeated foe, Máel Brigte, to his horse's saddle. Brigte's teeth rubbed against Sigurd's leg as he rode, causing a fatal infection, according to the Old Norse Heimskringla and Orkneyinga sagas.[44]
Edmund Ironside
Edmund Ironside - MS Royal 14 B VI.jpg
30 November 1016 Edmund Ironside was stabbed whilst on a toilet, by an assassin hiding underneath.
Béla I of Hungary
Béla I (Chronica Hungarorum).jpg
11 September 1063 Béla I of Hungary, when the Holy Roman Empire decided to launch a military expedition against Hungary to restore young Solomon to the throne, was seriously injured when "his throne broke beneath him" in his manor at Dömös.[45] The King—who was "half-dead", according to the Illuminated Chronicle—was taken to the western borders of his kingdom, where he died at the creek Kanizsva on 11 September 1063.[46][47]
Crown Prince Philip of France
Philip of France (1131).jpg
13 October 1131 Crown Prince Philip of France died while riding through Paris, when his horse tripped over a black pig running out of a dung heap.[48]
Al-Musta'sim
HulaguInBagdad.JPG
20 February 1258 Al-Musta'sim, the last Abbasid Caliph of Baghdad, was executed by his Mongol captors by being rolled up in a rug and then trampled by horses.[49]
Edward II of England
Edward II - British Library Royal 20 A ii f10 (detail).jpg
21 September 1327 Edward II of England was rumoured to have been murdered, after being deposed and imprisoned by his wife Isabella and her lover Roger Mortimer, by having a horn pushed into his anus through which a red-hot iron was inserted, burning out his internal organs without marking his body.[50][51] However, there is no real academic consensus on the manner of Edward II's death and it has been plausibly argued that the story is propaganda.[52]
John of Bohemia
John of Luxemburg.PNG
26 August 1346 John of Bohemia, after being blind for 10 years, died in the Battle of Crecy when his companions tied their horses' reins to his own and charged. He was slaughtered in the ensuing fight.[53]
Charles II of Navarre
Charles II of Navarre.png
1 January 1387 Charles II of Navarre known as "Charles the Bad". The contemporary chronicler Froissart relates that the king, suffering from illness in old age, was ordered by his physician to be tightly sewn into a linen sheet soaked in distilled spirits. The highly flammable sheet accidentally caught fire and Charles later died of his injuries. Froissart considered the horrific death to be God's judgment upon the king.[54][55][56]
Martin of Aragon
Martín I de Aragón.jpg
31 May 1410 Martin of Aragon died from a combination of indigestion and uncontrollable laughing. According to tradition, Martin was suffering from indigestion on account of eating an entire goose when his favorite jester, Borra, entered the king's bedroom. When Martin asked Borra where he had been, the jester replied with: "Out of the next vineyard, where I saw a young deer hanging by his tail from a tree, as if someone had so punished him for stealing figs." This joke caused the king to die from laughter.[57][58]

Renaissance[edit]

Name of person Image Date of death Details
George Plantagenet, Duke of Clarence
George Plantagenet, Duke of Clarence.jpg
18 February 1478 George Plantagenet, 1st Duke of Clarence, was allegedly executed by drowning in a barrel of Malmsey wine at his own request.[59]
Hans Staininger
Braunau am Inn 003.JPG
1567 Hans Staininger, the burgomaster of Braunau (then Bavaria, now Austria), died when he broke his neck by tripping over his own beard.[60] The beard, which was 4.5 feet (1.4 m) long at the time, was usually kept rolled up in a leather pouch.[61]
Tycho Brahe
Tycho Brahe.JPG
24 October 1601 Tycho Brahe contracted a bladder or kidney ailment after attending a banquet in Prague, and died eleven days later. According to Kepler's first-hand account, Brahe had refused to leave the banquet to relieve himself because it would have been a breach of etiquette.[62][63] After he had returned home he was no longer able to urinate, except eventually in very small quantities and with excruciating pain.[64]

Early modern period[edit]

Name of person Image Date of death Details
Thomas Urquhart
ThomasUrquhart.png
1660 Thomas Urquhart, a Scottish aristocrat, polymath and first translator of François Rabelais's writings into English, is said to have died laughing upon hearing that Charles II had taken the throne.[65][66]
James Betts 1667 James Betts died from asphyxiation after being sealed in a cupboard by Elizabeth Spencer, at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge in an attempt to hide him from her father, John Spencer.[67][68]
Molière
Pierre Mignard - Portrait de Jean-Baptiste Poquelin dit Molière (1622-1673) - Google Art Project (cropped).jpg
17 February 1673[69] The French playwright Molière suffered a pulmonary hemorrhage caused by tuberculosis while playing the character Argan, a severe hypochondriac, in his own play Le malade imaginaire (The Imaginary Invalid).[69][70] He disguised his convulsion as part of his performance and finished out the show,[69] which included a scene in which the character he was playing faked his own death to find out how his wife really felt about him.[69][71] After the show, Molière's actual wife, who played the daughter of his character, realized that he really was ill[69] and carried him across the street to their house in the same chair he had pretended to die in as part of the performance.[69] He began coughing up blood and she sent for a priest to hear him renounce his acting career so he could be buried on sacred ground,[69] but Molière died before a sympathetic priest could be found.[69][70]
Jean-Baptiste Lully
Paul Mignard - Jean-Baptiste Lully.jpg
22 March 1687 Jean-Baptiste Lully, the French composer, died of a gangrenous abscess after accidentally 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.[72]
Adolf Frederick, King of Sweden
Gustaf Lundberg - Portrait of Adolf Frederick, King of Sweden - WGA13779.jpg
12 February 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, called "hetvägg".[73] He is thus remembered by Swedish schoolchildren as "the king who ate himself to death."[74]

19th century[edit]

Name of person Image Date of death Details
William Snyder 1854 William Snyder, a 13-year-old, died when a circus clown swung him around by his heels.[75][76]
Clement Vallandigham
Clement Vallandigham - Brady-Handy.jpg
17 June 1871 Clement Vallandigham, a lawyer and Ohio politician defending a man accused of murder, accidentally shot himself while demonstrating how the victim might have accidentally shot himself. His client was cleared.[77][78]
Henry Taylor November 1872 Henry Taylor, a pall bearer at the Kensal Green Cemetery in London, tripped over a stone and stumbled as he was carrying a coffin.[79] The other pall bearers let go of the coffin[79] and it fell on top of Taylor, crushing him to death in front of all the mourners.[79] The wife of the man whose coffin Taylor had been carrying reportedly "nearly went into hysterics".[79]
Allan Pinkerton
Allan Pinkerton-retouch.jpg
1 July 1884 Allan Pinkerton, the founder of the Pinkerton Detective Agency, was in Chicago, Illinois when he tripped on the pavement and severely bit on his tongue.[80] His tongue became infected with gangrene, ultimately leading to his death.[80]

20th century[edit]

1901 – 1950[edit]

Name of person Image Date of death Details
Topsy the elephant
Topsy the elephant.png
4 January 1903 Topsy was executed by poisoning, electrocution, and strangulation. A 74-second film of the electrocution was recorded and preserved. It may have been the first time death was ever captured in a motion picture film.[81][better source needed]
Unknown Early 1903 An unnamed person was beaten to death with a Bible during a healing ceremony gone wrong in Honolulu.[82] The victim was being treated for Malaria[83] when his family decided he was possessed by devils and summoned a Kahuna to exorcise the demons; the Kahuna was brought up on a charge of manslaughter.[84]
Mary the elephant
Elephantmary.jpg
13 September 1916 The day after Mary, a five-ton cow elephant, killed a trainer for the Sparks World Famous Shows circus in Sullivan County, Tennessee, she was hanged by the neck from a railcar-mounted industrial crane.[85][86]
Twenty-one people
BostonMolassesDisaster.jpg
15 January 1919 A large storage tank burst in Boston's North End, releasing a wave of molasses which killed 21 people and injured 150. This event was later dubbed the Great Molasses Flood.[87][88]
George Herbert, 5th Earl of Carnarvon
Carnarvon.jpg
5 April 1923 George Herbert, 5th Earl of Carnarvon, who financed Howard Carter's search for Tutankhamun, died after a mosquito bite, which he had cut while shaving, became infected. Some attributed his death to the so-called curse of the pharaohs.[89][90]
Bobby Leach
BobbyLeachNiagaraFalls.jpg
1926 Bobby Leach, an American stunt performer, died after a botched amputation of the infected leg which he had broken after slipping on an orange peel.[91][92]
Phillip McClean 1926 Phillip McClean, aged 16, and his brother were clubbing a cassowary on the family property in Mossman, Queensland,[93] when the bird knocked him down, kicked him in the neck, and opened a large cut, killing McClean instantly.[94]
Isadora Duncan
Isadora Duncan portrait.jpg
14 September 1927 Isadora Duncan, a dancer, broke her neck when her long scarf caught on the wheel of a car in which she was a passenger.[95]
William Kogut 1930 William Kogut, an inmate of San Quentin State Prison, committed suicide by a self-made pipe bomb filled with torn bits of playing cards. Kogut made the pipe from a hollow steel leg from his bed and filled it with torn cards and water.[91] The pipe was then put on the heater in his room and Kogut placed his head nearby.[91] The buildup of steam pressure ruptured the pipe, shooting the card bits with enough force to penetrate Kogut's skull.[91]
Sherwood Anderson
Sherwood Anderson (1933).jpg
8 March 1941 Sherwood Anderson, an American novelist and short story writer, died from peritonitis brought on by an accidentally swallowed toothpick, which had damaged his internal organs.[91]

1950s[edit]

  • 1951: Mary Hardy Reeser, 67, was found "virtually cremated" in her otherwise relatively unharmed apartment in St. Petersburg, Florida, leaving a left foot in an undamaged black satin slipper, a shrunken portion of her skull and part of her spine. The FBI report at the time stated that she had apparently fallen asleep while smoking, setting fire to her acetate nightgown, housecoat, and chair.[96]
  • 1958: Gareth Jones, an actor, died of a heart attack between scenes of a live television play, Underground. Other members of the cast improvised lines, such as "I'm sure if So‑and‑so were here he would say..." to compensate for Jones's absence. Coincidentally, Jones's character was supposed to die of a heart attack in a later scene of the play.[97][98]

1960s[edit]

  • 1961: U.S. Army specialists John A. Byrnes and Richard Leroy McKinley and Navy electrician's mate Richard C. Legg were killed by a water hammer explosion during maintenance on the SL-1 nuclear reactor in Idaho.[99][100][101][102][103]
  • 1966: Nick Piantanida, a skydiver, died four months after an attempt to break the record for the highest parachute jump; his suit had depressurized causing brain damage.[104][105]

1970s[edit]

1980s[edit]

Tennessee Williams
  • 1981: Boris Sagal, a Ukrainian-American film director, died while shooting the TV miniseries World War III in Portland, Oregon, when he walked into the tail rotor blade of a helicopter and was partially decapitated.[125][126]
  • 1982: David Grundman, shooting at cacti with his shotgun near Lake Pleasant, Arizona, was crushed when a 4 ft (1.2 m) limb of the cactus detached and fell on him.[126][127][128]
  • 1983: Tennessee Williams, an American playwright, died after accidentally choking on a plastic bottle cap which he was using to ingest barbiturates.[129] Reports at the time of his death indicated he had died applying eyedrops while holding the cap between his teeth, but this was corrected in the official medical examiner's report six months later.[130]
  • 1983: Truls Hellevik, a diver, exploded into many small parts when accidentally exposed to an eight-atmosphere change in air pressure.[131][132]
  • 1983: Dick Wertheim, a tennis linesman, died after a ball struck him in the groin and he fell out of his chair.[133][134][135]
  • 1983: Jimmy Ferrozzo, a bouncer, died in Condor Club, San Francisco while engaging in sexual intercourse with his girlfriend Theresa Hill on a grand piano that was lowered from the ceiling by a hydraulic motor. Ferrozzo accidentally activated the lifting mechanism which pinned him against the ceiling leading to his suffocation.[136] Hill survived the accident.[136]
  • 1987: Paul G. Thomas, owner of a wool mill in Thompson, Connecticut, died of suffocation after falling into a machine in the wool mill and becoming wrapped in 800 yards (730 meters) of wool.[137]

1990s[edit]

  • 1991: A male flight instructor and a female student, Carl Beauford Terry and Linda Varnar Keath, were killed when the Piper PA-34 Seneca airplane they were flying crashed, believed to have been caused by the two people having sex in the cockpit of the plane.[138] Movements in the cockpit led to the stick being pushed down and the airplane exceeding its speed limitations and breaking off the right wing.
  • 1993: Brandon Lee, 28-year-old film actor, martial artist, and son of Bruce Lee, was accidentally shot to death by co-star Michael Massee while filming a scene for The Crow, as the result of an improperly-loaded prop gun.[139][140][141]
  • 1993: Garry Hoy, a lawyer in Toronto, Ontario, fell to his death from the 24th floor of the Toronto-Dominion Centre while demonstrating to a group of visitors that the building's windows were "unbreakable". Hoy threw himself against the window, which indeed did not break—but it popped out of its frame.[142][143]
  • 1994: Gloria Ramirez, 31, died from kidney failure related to her cervical cancer. While treating her, several of the hospital staff became ill, suffering from loss of consciousness, shortness of breath and muscle spasms. Shortly before dying, Ramirez was allegedly covered with an oily sheen, which smelled of fruit and garlic. When drawing her blood with a syringe, nurses noticed it had a smell similar to ammonia and there were unusual particles floating in it.[144]
  • 1994: Jeremy Brenno, 16, was killed on a golf course when, frustrated, he struck a bench with a 3-wood golf club. The shaft broke, bounced back at him, and pierced his heart.[145]
  • 1997: Karen Wetterhahn, a professor of chemistry at Dartmouth College, died ten months after a few drops of dimethylmercury landed on her protective gloves. Although Wetterhahn had been following the required procedures, the material permeated the gloves and her skin within seconds.[146][147][148]
  • 1998: Jonathan Capewell, 16, died from a heart attack brought on by the buildup of butane and propane in the blood after excessive use of deodorant sprays.[91][149] Capewell was reported to have an obsession with personal hygiene.[91][149] An autopsy showed that Capewell had 0.37 mg of butane per litre in his blood, and the same amount of propane, whereas 0.1 mg per litre can be fatal.[149]
  • 1999: Betty Stobbs, 67, died after delivering a bale of hay to her sheep. The starving sheep rushed Stobbs, who was on her motorcycle. In the ensuing scuffle, Stobbs was knocked down into a deep ravine near Durham, England. While she survived the fall, her motorcycle landed on her, killing her instantly.[150]

21st century[edit]

2000s[edit]

2010s[edit]

  • 2010: Mike Edwards, 62, cellist and a founding member of the band Electric Light Orchestra, died when a large round bale of hay rolled down a hill and collided with the van he was driving.[170][171][172]
  • 2010: Jimi Heselden, 62, owner of Segway Inc., died after apparently riding a Segway Personal Transport System, his own product, off a cliff.[173]
  • 2011: Jose Luis Ochoa, 35, died after being stabbed in the leg at an illegal cockfight in Tulare County, California, by a bird with a knife-like spur strapped to its leg.[174][175]
  • 2012: Edward Archbold, 32, of West Palm Beach, Florida, choked on "arthropod body parts" during a cockroach-eating contest.[176][177]
  • 2012: Erica Marshall, a 28-year-old British veterinarian in Ocala, Florida, died when the horse she was treating in a hyperbaric chamber kicked the wall, released a spark from its horseshoes and triggered an explosion.[178][179][180]
  • 2013: Elisa Lam, from Vancouver, British Columbia, was missing for several weeks before being found dead in a large water tank on the roof of the Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles, after guests complained about the taste of the water.[181]
  • 2013: Takuya Nagaya, 23, from Japan, started to slither on the floor and claimed he had become a snake. Takuya died after his father spent the next two days head-butting and biting him "to drive [out] the snake that had possessed him."[182]
  • 2013: Roger Mirro was crushed by a trash compactor while looking through a dumpster for his phone.[183]
  • 2013: An unnamed Belarusian fisherman, 60, bled to death after being bitten by a beaver which he had tried to grab in order to have his picture taken with it.[184][185]
  • 2013: João Maria de Souza, 45, was crushed by a cow falling through the roof of his home in Caratinga, Brazil. The cow was unharmed.[186]
  • 2013: Denver Lee St. Clair was asphyxiated by a wedgie administered by his stepson during a fight. After St. Clair had been knocked unconscious, the elastic band from his torn underwear was pulled over his head and stretched around his neck, strangling him.[187][188]
  • 2013: Kendrick Johnson, 17, was discovered trapped upside down in a rolled-up gym mat in his high school gymnasium. Police originally concluded he had climbed in to retrieve a shoe and became trapped, but the case was later reopened as a possible homicide.[189][190][191][192][193]
  • 2013: Miguel Martinez, 14, from Lubbock, Texas, was impaled through the chest by the horn of a bull statue while playing hide-and-seek at night in front of the National Ranching Heritage Center.[194]
  • 2013: Two young boys were killed by an African rock python during a sleepover in New Brunswick, Canada. The large snake had escaped a pet store and slithered up through ducts into the apartment where they slept. It suffocated the children but did not attempt to eat them.[195][196]
  • 2014: Heval Yıldırım, 13, of Turkey was killed when a sacrificial goat bought for Eid al-Adha jumped off the roof over a protective fence and fell onto him. Yıldırım's father placed the goat on the roof of the building where he lived because he could not find another suitable place to keep it.[197]
  • 2014: Christophe de Margerie, an oil executive, was killed when his corporate jet collided with a snowplow reportedly driven by a drunk driver.[198][199]
  • 2014: Peng Fan, a chef in Foshan, China, was bitten by a cobra's severed head, which he had cut off 20 minutes earlier while preparing a soup.[200][201]
  • 2015: Chelsea Ake-Salvacion, 24, an employee of a Henderson, Nevada salon, was suffocated while using a cryotherapy machine set to the wrong level, which eliminated the oxygen in the chamber.[202][203]
  • 2015: Ravi Subramanian, an Air India technician, was sucked into an aircraft's jet engines.[204][205]
  • 2016: V. Kamaraj, a 40-year old Indian bus driver. Local Indian newspapers claimed he was killed by a meteorite which left a 2-foot (61 cm) crater, although officials from NASA oppose that view saying that the most likely explanation was a land-based explosion.[206][207][208][209]
  • 2016: Lottie Michelle Belk, 55, was fatally stabbed in the chest by a beach umbrella blown by a strong wind.[210] Wind speeds at the time reached 20–25 miles per hour (32–40 km/h).[211][212]
  • 2016: Caleb Schwab, 10, was decapitated when he was ejected from his raft on Verrückt, a 168-foot-tall (51 m) water slide.[213][214]
  • 2016: Irma Bule, 29, an Indonesian dangdut singer who performed with live snakes, died during a concert after being bitten by a king cobra and refusing treatment.[215][216]
  • 2016: Anton Yelchin, 27, an actor known for portraying Pavel Chekov in the Star Trek reboot movie series, was found pinned between his car and a brick wall. His driveway is on an incline and his car was found running and in neutral.[217][218]
  • 2016: A seven-year-old girl died after being struck by a stone thrown by an elephant from its enclosure at the zoo at Rabat, Morocco.[219][220]
  • 2017: Charlie Holt, 5, was killed at the Sun Dial Restaurant, a rotating restaurant at the top of Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia; his head was caught in a small space between the rotating and non-rotating sections.[221]
  • 2017: Robert Dreyer, 89, drowned on his birthday after crashing his car into a fire hydrant.[222]
  • 2017: Debra Bedard, 58, died after falling from a golf cart onto shards of wine glasses that had broken in her hands in Calaveras County, California.[223]
  • 2017: Rebecca Burger, 33, a fitness blogger and model, died after a pressurized canister of whipped cream exploded and struck her in the chest.[224]
  • 2017: Hidr Korkmaz, 42, a Turkish-Dutch drug dealer and informant, died while fishing when he threw his fish hook into an electric wire. Though he was a witness in the case against infamous Dutch criminal Willem Holleeder, he was not important to the case and authorities treated it as an accident.[225]
  • 2018: Rajesh Maru, 32, died at Nair Hospital in Mumbai after carrying a metal oxygen tank into a room housing an MRI scanner; the machine's magnetic field pulled Maru in, pinning his hand and breaching the tank, releasing liquid oxygen.[226] A hospital employee had asked Maru to transport the tank, as Maru's hospitalized relative would need it during her scan.[226][227] An autopsy showed that Maru died instantly from pneumothorax brought on by exposure to very high levels of leaked oxygen.[226] Conflicting reports state two or three hospital employees were arrested for negligence.[228][226] The Maharashtra state government compensated Maru's family 500,000 rupees.[228]
  • 2018: Elaine Herzberg, a 49-year old woman in Tempe, Arizona, died after being hit by a self-driving car operated by Uber, as she crossed the road, in what was reported to be the first death of a pedestrian struck by a self-driving car on public roads. In response to the fatal accident, Uber suspended self-driving car tests in all U.S. cities.[229][230]
  • 2018: Ateef Rafiq, 24, died from cardiac arrest in Birmingham, UK, whilst looking for his dropped mobile phone. His head became wedged under the electronic footrest of a cinema seat.[231]
  • 2018: Puneet Kaur, 28, died in the Indian state of Haryana at an amusement park after her hair became tangled in the wheels of a go-kart. As the go-kart continued moving forward, her scalp was ripped from her head. She was taken to hospital but pronounced dead on arrival.[232]
  • 2018: Jennifer Riordan, 43, a passenger aboard Southwest Airlines Flight 1380, died after debris from an engine failure struck and destroyed the window she was sitting next to. She was partially sucked out through the window, but was pulled back into the aircraft and was given CPR until an emergency landing was made. She died upon arrival at hospital with her cause of death determined to be blunt trauma to the head, neck and torso.[233][234]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]