List of unusual deaths


This list of unusual deaths includes unique or extremely rare circumstances of death recorded throughout history, noted as being unusual by multiple sources.

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

Antiquity


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.[2][3]
Charondas
Late 7th to early 5th century BC Charondas was a Greek lawgiver from Sicily.[4][5] According to Diodorus Siculus, he issued a law that anyone who brought weapons into the Assembly must be put to death.[4][5][6] One day, he arrived at the Assembly seeking help to defeat some brigands in the countryside but with a knife still attached to his belt.[4][5] In order to uphold his own law, he committed suicide.[4][5][6]
Arrhichion of Phigalia
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 from a foot/ankle injury that the opponent made the sign of defeat to the umpires, but at the same time broke Arrichion's neck. Since the opponent had conceded defeat, Arrichion was proclaimed the victor posthumously.[7][8]
Sisamnes
c.525 BC According to Herodotus, Sisamnes was a corrupt judge under Cambyses II of Persia. He accepted a bribe and delivered an unjust verdict. As a result, the king had him arrested and flayed alive. His skin was then used to cover the seat in which his son would sit in judgment.[9][10]
Pythagoras of Samos
c.495 BC Ancient sources disagree on how the Greek philosopher Pythagoras died,[11][12] 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.[12] Supposedly, he almost managed to outrun them,[12] but he came to a bean field and refused to run through it because he had prohibited beans as ritually unclean.[13][12] Since cutting through the field would violate his own teachings, Pythagoras simply stopped running and was killed.[12] This story may have been fabricated by Neanthes of Cyzicus, on whom both Diogenes and Iamblichus rely as a source.[12]
Heraclitus of Ephesus
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.[14][15]
Themistocles
c.459 BC Themistocles, the Athenian general who won the Battle of Salamis, actually died of natural causes in exile,[16][17] but was widely rumored to have committed suicide by drinking bull's blood.[16][17][18][19] Since bull's blood is not actually poisonous,[17] Themistocles cannot have died in this way,[17] but the legend is widely retold in classical sources.[17] 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.[17] 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.[17][20]
Aeschylus
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 that day "by the fall of a house".[21][22][23]
Empedocles of Akragas
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".[24] According to Diogenes Laërtius, he tried to prove he was an immortal god by leaping into Mount Etna, an active volcano.[25][26] This legend is also alluded to by the Roman poet Horace.[27]
Sophocles
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.[21] According to one legend, he choked to death on an unripe grape.[21] Another says that he died of joy after hearing that his last play had been victorious.[21] 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.[21]
Mithridates 401 BC Mithridates, 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.[28][29]
Democritus of Abdera
c.370 BC According to Diogenes Laërtius, the Greek Atomist philosopher Democritus of Abdera died at the age of 109;[30][31] 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.[30][31] Democritus told her to place a loaf of warm bread under his nose[30][31] and was able to survive for the three days of the festival by sniffing it.[30][31] He died immediately after the festival was over.[30][31]
Antiphanes c.310 BC Antiphanes was a renowned comic poet of the Middle Attic comedy. The Suda claims he died after being struck by a pear.[32][33]
Agathocles of Syracuse
289 BC Agathocles, a Greek tyrant of Syracuse, was murdered with a poisoned toothpick.[34]
Philitas of Cos
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.[35] British classicist Alan Cameron speculates that Philitas died from a wasting disease which his contemporaries joked was caused by his pedantry.[36]
Qin Shi Huang
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.[37][38][39]
Chrysippus of Soli
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).[40]
Eleazar Avaran
c.163 BC Eleazar Avaran was the brother of Judas Maccabeus. According to 1 Maccabees 6:46, in battle, he thrust his spear into the belly of a king's war elephant, which collapsed and fell on top of Eleazar, killing him instantly.[41]
Porcia Catonis
June 43 BC to October 42 BC The daughter of Marcus Porcius Cato Uticensis and second wife of Marcus Junius Brutus, according to ancient historians such as Cassius Dio and Appian, killed herself by swallowing hot coals.[42] Modern historians find this tale implausible.[43]
Claudius Drusus c.20 AD According to Suetonius, Claudius Drusus, the eldest son of the future Roman emperor Claudius, died while playing with a pear. Having tossed the pear high in the air, he caught it in his mouth when it came back, but he choked on it, dying of asphyxia.[44]
Tiberius
16 March 37 The Roman emperor Tiberius died in Misenum at the age of seventy-eight. According to Tacitus, the emperor appeared to have died and Caligula, who was at Tiberius' villa, was being congratulated on his succession to the empire, when news arrived that the emperor had revived and was recovering his faculties. Those who had moments before recognized Caligula as Augustus fled in fear of the emperor's wrath, while Macro, a prefect of the Praetorian Guard, took advantage of the chaos to have Tiberius smothered with his own bedclothes, definitively killing him.[45]
Simon the Zealot
1st century AD According to an ancient tradition, Simon, an apostle of Jesus, was sawn in half in Persia.[46]
Saint Lawrence
258 The deacon Saint Lawrence was roasted alive on a giant grill during the persecution of Valerian.[47][48] Prudentius tells that he joked with his tormentors, "Turn me over—I'm done on this side".[49] He is now the patron saint of cooks, chefs and comedians.[50]
Valentinian I
17 November 375 Roman Emperor, suffered a stroke which was provoked by yelling at foreign envoys in anger.[51]

Middle Ages


Name of person Image Date of death Details
Constans II
15 September 668 Byzantine Emperor, assassinated with a bucket according to Theophilus of Edessa.[52]
Ragnar Lodbrok
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 him into a pit of snakes.[53]
Louis III of France
5 August 882 Louis III, king of West Francia, died aged around 18 at Saint-Denis. Whilst mounting his horse to pursue a girl who was running to seek refuge in her father's house he hit his head on the lintel of a low door and fell, fracturing his skull.[54]
Basil I
29 August 886 Basil's belt was entangled between antlers of a deer during a hunt and the animal subsequently dragged the emperor for 16 miles through the woods. Because of this accident Basil contracted fever and he died shortly afterwards.[55]
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.[56]
Byzantine Emperor Alexander
6 June 913 Died of exhaustion after a game of tzykanion (Byzantine polo).
Edmund Ironside
30 November 1016 Edmund Ironside, King of England in 1016, was allegedly stabbed whilst on a toilet, by an assassin hiding underneath.
Béla I of Hungary
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.[57] 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 Kanizsa on 11 September 1063.[58][59]
Crown Prince Philip of France
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.[60]
Henry I of England
1 December 1135 While visiting relatives, Henry supposedly ate too many lampreys against his physician's advice, causing a pain in his gut and ultimately his death.[61]
John II Komnenos
1 April 1143 Cut himself with a poisoned arrow during a boar hunt and subsequently died from an infection.[62]
Al-Musta'sim
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.[63]
Edward II of England
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.[64][65] 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.[66]
John of Bohemia
26 August 1346 John of Bohemia, after being blind for 10 years, died in the Battle of Crecy when—at his command—his companions tied their horses' reins to his own and charged. He was slaughtered in the ensuing fight.[67][68]
Charles II of Navarre
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.[69][70][71]
Martin of Aragon
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.[72][73]

Renaissance


Name of person Image Date of death Details
George Plantagenet, Duke of Clarence
18 February 1478 George Plantagenet, 1st Duke of Clarence, was allegedly executed by drowning in a barrel of Malmsey wine, apparently his own choice once he accepted he was to be killed.[74]
Victims of the 1518 dancing plague
July 1518 In July 1518, several people died of either heart attacks, strokes or exhaustion during a dancing mania that occurred in Strasbourg, Alsace (Holy Roman Empire).[75][76]
Pietro Aretino
21 October 1556 The influential Italian author and libertine Pietro Aretino is said to have died of suffocation from laughing too much at an obscene joke during a meal in Venice. Another version states that he fell from a chair from too much laughter, fracturing his skull.[77]
Hans Staininger
1567 Hans Staininger, the burgomaster of Braunau (then Bavaria, now Austria), died when he broke his neck by tripping over his own beard.[78] The beard, which was 4.5 feet (1.4 m) long at the time, was usually kept rolled up in a leather pouch.[79]
Marco Antonio Bragadin
17 August 1571 Marco Antonio Bragadin, Venetian Captain-General of Famagusta in Cyprus, was gruesomely killed in August 1571 after the Ottomans took the city. He was dragged round the walls with sacks of earth and stone on his back; next, he was tied to a chair and hoisted to the yardarm of the Turkish flagship, where he was exposed to the taunts of the sailors. Finally, he was taken to his place of execution in the main square, tied naked to a column, and flayed alive.[80] Bragadin's skin was stuffed with straw and sewn, reinvested with his military insignia, and exhibited riding an ox in a mocking procession along the streets of Famagusta. The macabre trophy was hoisted upon the masthead pennant of the personal galley of the Ottoman commander, Amir al-bahr Mustafa Pasha, to be brought to Constantinople as a gift for Sultan Selim II. Bragadin's skin was stolen in 1580 by a Venetian seaman and brought back to Venice, where it was received as a returning hero.[81]
Tycho Brahe
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.[82][83] After he had returned home he was no longer able to urinate, except eventually in very small quantities and with excruciating pain.[84]

Early modern period


Name of person Image Date of death Details
Safi of Persia
1642 Shah Safi, a Safavid ruler of Iran, allegedly died due to alcohol intoxication in a drinking contest against a Georgian nobleman, Scedan Chiladze, invited from Mingrelia.[85]
Thomas Urquhart
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.[86][87]
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.[88][89]
François Vatel
24 April 1671 Vatel, the majordomo of Prince Louis II de Bourbon-Condè, was responsible for a banquet for 2,000 people hosted in honour of King Louis XIV at the Château de Chantilly, where he died. According to a letter by Madame de Sévigné, Vatel was so distraught about the lateness of the seafood delivery and about other mishaps that he committed suicide with his sword, and his body was discovered when someone came to tell him of the arrival of the fish.[90]
Molière
17 February 1673[91] The French playwright Molière suffered a pulmonary hemorrhage caused by tuberculosis while playing the part of a hypochondriac in his own play Le malade imaginaire.[91][92] He disguised his convulsion as part of his performance and finished out the show,[91] which ends with his character dead in a chair. After the show he was carried in the chair to his house, where he died.[91][93][92]
Bhai Mati Das

Bhai Sati Das

Bhai Dayala

1675 Bhai Mati Das, Bhai Sati Das and Bhai Dayala are revered as early Sikh martyrs. By order of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, Bhai Mati Das was executed by being bound between two pillars and sawn in half,[94] while his younger brother Bhai Sati Das was wrapped in cotton wool soaked in oil and set on fire[95] and Bhai Dayala was boiled in a cauldron full of water and roasted over a block of charcoal.[96]
Jean-Baptiste Lully
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.[97] He refused to have his leg amputated so he could still dance.[98]

19th century


Name of person Image Date of death Details
John Cummings March 1809 After seeing a circus knife-swallower, Cummings began actually swallowing knives. On one occasion he swallowed 4 knives and quickly passed 3 with no ill-health.[further explanation needed] He later swallowed 14 knives and after some days with abdominal pain he passed all of them. He finally swallowed 20 knives and a case,[further explanation needed] but after a few days he had only passed the case; he died after four years in pain. On autopsy, a knife blade and spring were found in his intestines, and between 30 and 40 fragments of metal, wood, and horn in his stomach.[99]
Gouvernour Morris 6 November 1816 Gouvernour Morris died from an infection after using a whalebone to clear a blockage in his urinary tract.[100][101]
William Snyder 11 January 1854 William Snyder, 13, died in San Francisco, California, reportedly after a circus clown swung him around by his heels.[102]
Mathilda of Austria
6 June 1867 Archduchess Mathilda of Austria, daughter of Archduke Albrecht, Duke of Teschen, set her dress on fire while trying to hide a cigarette from her father, who had forbidden her to smoke.[103][citation needed]
Clement Vallandigham
17 June 1871 Vallandigham, a lawyer defending a man accused of murder, accidentally shot himself while demonstrating how the victim might have done so. His client was acquitted.[104][105]
Henry Taylor November 1872 Henry Taylor, a pall bearer at Kensal Green Cemetery in London, was crushed by the coffin he was helping carry after he tripped on a stone. The widow of the man in it reportedly "nearly went into hysterics".[106]
Sir William Payne-Gallwey, 2nd Baronet 19 December 1881 Sir William Payne-Gallwey, a former British MP, died after sustaining severe internal injuries when he fell on a turnip while hunting.[107][108]
Allan Pinkerton
1 July 1884 Allan Pinkerton, the founder of the Pinkerton Detective Agency, tripped on the pavement and severely bit his tongue,[109] which became infected with gangrene.[109]
Unknown 22 August 1888 At around 8:30 pm, a shower of meteorites fell "like rain" on a village in Sulaymaniyah, Iraq (then part of the Ottoman Empire). One man died and another was paralyzed. The man's death is considered the only credible case of death-by-meteorite.[110]
Bridget Driscoll
17 August 1896 Driscoll, 44, the first recorded case of a pedestrian killed in a collision with a motor car,[111][112] was struck on the grounds of the Crystal Palace in London, by a car belonging to the Anglo-French Motor Carriage Company while giving demonstration rides.[112]
Empress Elisabeth of Austria
10 September 1898 An assassin stabbed Elizabeth with a thin file, which pierced her pericardium and a lung. Because her extremely tight corset held the wound closed, she did not realize what had happened (believing a passerby had struck her) and walked on for some time before collapsing.[113][114]

20th century


1901–1960

Name of person Image Date of death Details
Unknown Early 1903 An unnamed person was beaten to death with a Bible during a healing ceremony gone wrong in Honolulu.[115] He was being treated for malaria when his family summoned a Kahuna who decided he was possessed by devils and tried to exorcise the demons;[116] the Kahuna was charged with manslaughter.[117]
Grigori Rasputin
30 December [O.S. 17 December] 1916 According to the Russian mystic's murderer himself, Prince Felix Yusupov, Grigori Rasputin consumed tea, cakes, and wine which had been laced with cyanide but he did not appear to be affected by it. He was then shot once in the chest and believed to be dead but, after a while, he leapt up and attacked Yusupov, who freed himself and fled. Rasputin followed and made it into the courtyard before being shot again and collapsing into a snowbank. The conspirators then wrapped his body and dropped it into the Malaya Nevka River.[118]
Twenty-one people
15 January 1919 Twenty-one people were killed and 150 injured in the Great Molasses Flood when a large tank of molasses burst in Boston's North End.[119][120]
George Herbert, 5th Earl of Carnarvon
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.[121][122]
Frank Hayes 4 June 1923 Frank Hayes, a 22-year-old jockey of Elmont, New York, died of a heart attack mid-race and collapsed on the horse, which nonetheless crossed the finish line first, still carrying his body.[123][124][125]
Thornton Jones 1924 Thornton Jones, a lawyer in Bangor, Gwynedd, Wales, woke up to find that he had his throat slit. Motioning for a paper and pencil, he wrote, "I dreamt that I had done it. I awoke to find it true," and died 80 minutes later. He had done it himself while unconscious.[126] An inquest at Bangor delivered a verdict of "suicide while temporarily insane".[127]
Bobby Leach
26 April 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.[128] He had gone over Niagara Falls in a barrel fifteen years earlier.
Phillip McClean 1926 Phillip McClean, 16, and his brother were clubbing a cassowary on the family property in Mossman, Queensland,[129] when it knocked him down, kicked him in the neck, and opened a large cut, leading to death from loss of blood.[130]
Isadora Duncan
14 September 1927 Isadora Duncan, a dancer, broke her neck when her long scarf caught on the wheel of a car she was riding in.[131]
Nicholas Comper 17 June 1939 Nicholas Comper, an aviator and aircraft designer, was attempting to light a firework in Hythe, Kent, when a passerby enquired what he was doing; Comper replied that he was an IRA man planning to blow up the town hall. The passerby knocked down Comper, who hit his head on the curb.[132]
Sherwood Anderson
8 March 1941 Sherwood Anderson, an American writer, died of peritonitis after accidentally swallowing a toothpick.[133]
Thomas Mantell
7 January 1948 Thomas Mantell, the pilot of a P-51 Mustang fighter plane, crashed while in pursuit of an unidentified flying object near the town of Franklin, Kentucky, thus becoming the first person known to have died as a result of a UFO sighting. Officially, the object remains unidentified, though the most likely explanation is that it was a U. S. Navy Skyhook balloon.[134]
Mary Reeser
2 July 1951 Mary Reeser's body was found by the police almost totally cremated where she sat, while the apartment was relatively damage-free. Some speculate she spontaneously combusted.[135]
Gareth Jones 1958 Gareth Jones, an actor, died of a heart attack between scenes of a live television play, Underground on the ITV network in the UK. Other members of the cast improvised lines, such as "I'm sure if So‑and‑so were here he would say..." to compensate for his absence. Coincidentally, his character was supposed to die of a heart attack in a later scene of the play.[136][137]

1960s

Name of person Image Date of death Details
John A. Byrnes, Richard Leroy McKinley, and Richard C. Legg
1961 During the testing of an experimental nuclear reactor design, in Idaho Falls, Idaho, two soldiers and a sailor were killed, but their deaths were not due to radiation poisoning. While trying to bring the reactor online, Army specialist John A. Byrnes was supposed to pull a control rod part way out by hand, but he pulled the rod further than intended. The reactor instantly went critical, which flash-boiled the water around the reactor. The force of the steam expanding lifted the entire reactor into the air about 2.77 metres (9 ft 1 in), in what has been described as a water hammer-like effect. Many components were thrown out of the top, one of which impaled Navy electrician's mate Richard C. Legg, lifted him from a catwalk, and penetrated the ceiling, leaving him dangling. While the reactor was airborne the radioactive steam escaped, spraying the room. The steam was so hot that Byrnes instantly died by severe burns. Army specialist Richard Leroy McKinley suffered a head wound, from which he died later that day. The steam left the bodies of all three men radioactive, so they were buried in lead coffins. Officials feared that moving them would risk spreading contamination along public roadways, so a graveyard was established in the desert only 0.5 kilometres (0.31 mi) from the explosion. The graveyard is still monitored by the Environmental Protection Agency. The three remain the only human beings killed by a reactor explosion in the United States.[138][139][140][141][142]
Nick Piantanida
1966 Nick Piantanida, a sky diver, died four months after an attempt to break the record for the highest parachute jump near Joe Foss Field, Sioux Falls, South Dakota; his suit had depressurized, causing brain damage.[143][144]

1970s

Name of person Image Date of death Details
Georgy Dobrovolsky, Vladislav Volkov, and Viktor Patsayev
1971 Georgy Dobrovolsky, Vladislav Volkov, and Viktor Patsayev, Soviet cosmonauts, died when their Soyuz-11 spacecraft depressurized during preparations for re-entry. These are the only human deaths outside the Earth's atmosphere.[145]
Basil Brown 1974 Basil Brown, a 48-year-old health food advocate from Croydon, England, died from liver damage after he consumed 70 million units of Vitamin A and around 10 US gallons (38 litres) of carrot juice over ten days, turning his skin bright yellow.[146][147][148]
Alex Mitchell 1975 After watching the "Kung Fu Kapers" episode of The Goodies, Alex Mitchell laughed continuously for 25 minutes and then fell dead on his sofa from heart failure due to what doctors discovered years later, via his granddaughter, was a genetic condition called Long QT syndrome.[149][150][151][152]
Tina Christopherson 1977 Tina Christopherson died when she fanatically drank 4 US gallons (15 litres) of water a day to combat stomach cancer.[153]
Tom Pryce and Frederick Jansen van Vuuren 5 March 1977 Tom Pryce, a driver in the 1977 South African Grand Prix, struck and killed Frederick Jansen Van Vuuren at 170 miles per hour (270 km/h) as Van Vuuren ran across the Kyalami race track to extinguish a burning car. The fire extinguisher which Van Vuuren was carrying struck Pryce's head and killed him.[154][155][156][157]
Kurt Gödel
1978 Gödel, an Austrian-American logician and mathematician, developed an obsessive fear of being poisoned and refused to eat food prepared by anyone but his wife.[158] When she became ill and was hospitalized, he starved.
Georgi Markov
7 September 1978 Georgi Markov was assassinated on a London street via a micro-engineered pellet containing ricin, fired into his leg from an umbrella wielded by someone associated with the Bulgarian Secret Service. At the time, this secret police force was affiliated with the KGB.[159]
Robert Williams
1979 Robert Williams, a worker at a Ford Motor Company plant, became the first person known to be killed by a robot[160] when a factory robot's arm struck him in the head.[161]
John Bowen 1979 John Bowen, 20, from Nashua, New Hampshire, was killed at a halftime show at Shea Stadium when a 40-pound (18 kg) model plane shaped like a lawnmower crashed into the stands.[162][163]

1980s

Name of person Image Date of death Details
Lourdes Maria da Silva August 1980 Lourdes Maria da Silva was going upstairs carrying a Pyrex glass in Caxias do Sul, Brazil, when she tripped, broke it, and fell on the shards, cutting her neck artery. She died on her way to the hospital.[164][165]
Boris Sagal 22 May 1981 Boris Sagal, a Ukrainian-American film director, died while shooting the TV miniseries World War III in Portland, Oregon, after he walked into the tail rotor blades of a helicopter and was partially decapitated.[166][167] He died five hours later at a hospital in Portland.[166]
David Grundman 4 February 1982 David Grundman, shooting at cacti with his shotgun near Lake Pleasant, Arizona, was crushed when a 4-foot (1.2 m) limb detached and fell on him.[167][168][169]
Michael Scaglione 15 April 1982 Michael Scaglione died after smashing his golf club against a golf cart. The head broke off and impaled him in the throat, severing his jugular vein.[170]
Vic Morrow, Myca Dinh Le, and Renee Shin-Yi Chen
23 July 1982 On 23 July 1982, during the filming of Twilight Zone: The Movie, Morrow, Myca Dinh Le (7 years old), and Renee Shin-Yi Chen (6) were performing a scene in which their characters are pursued by a helicopter. Heat from special-effects explosions[171] caused the helicopter to fall on them. Morrow and Le were decapitated and Chen was crushed.[172]
Tennessee Williams
1983 Tennessee Williams, an American playwright, choked on the plastic cap of a bottle of barbiturate[173] (not eye drops as originally reported).[174]
Truls Hellevik
1983 Truls Hellevik, a Norwegian diver, was explosively dismembered in a diving bell accident on the North Sea Byford Dolphin drilling rig. He was exposed to an eight-atmosphere change in air pressure which instantaneously forced his body through a 60-centimetre-diameter (24 in) opening, fragmenting it into numerous pieces.[175][176] Three other divers were also killed in the accident.
Dick Wertheim 1983 Dick Wertheim, a tennis linesman, died after a ball struck him in the groin and he fell out of his chair.[177][178][179]
Jimmy Ferrozzo 1983 Jimmy Ferrozzo, a bouncer at the Condor Club in San Francisco, died while engaging in sexual intercourse with his girlfriend, Theresa Hill, on a grand piano that was lowered from the ceiling by a hydraulic motor. He accidentally activated the lifting mechanism which pinned him against the ceiling leading to his suffocation.[180] Hill survived the accident.[180]
Jon-Erik Hexum
1984 Jon-Erik Hexum, an American actor, died after playing a simulated Russian roulette with a .44 Magnum pistol loaded with blanks. They contained paper wadding and when he pulled the trigger against his temple, the wadding was propelled with a force that broke his skull, causing massive brain bleeding.[181]
Unknown 1984 An unidentified 25-year-old man was using submersion as an erotic asphyxia method. With a homemade plastic body suit, he tied himself to a boat and was using a homemade diving apparatus for air supply. He died from rebreathing, caused by the faulty apparatus.[182]
Franco Brun 1987 Brun, 22, an inmate at the Metro Toronto East Detention Centre in Canada, died trying to swallow a pocket-size Bible.[183][184]
Cachy the Poodle, Marta Espina, Edith Solá, unidentified man 1988 A poodle named Cachy, in Caballito, Buenos Aires, fell from 13 floors and fatally hit 75-year-old Marta Espina, killing both instantly. In the course of the events, 46-year-old Edith Sola, who came to see the incident, was fatally hit by a bus. An unidentified man, who witnessed her death, had a heart attack and also died on his way to the hospital.[185][186]
Ivan Lester McGuire 2 April 1988 On 2 April 1988, veteran sky diver Ivan Lester McGuire was filming a jump by an instructor and student from the Franklin County Sports Parachute Center when he jumped from a plane without a parachute. Focused on the filming process, he apparently forgot to put one on, and his camera equipment may have been mistaken for one. The tape was recovered.[187][188]
Unknown December 1988 Two workers in an aluminum factory in Romania broke employment regulations when they stripped themselves completely and played with an air hose. One of them pumped six bars of atmospheric pressure into his anus, causing internal hemorrhaging and died within minutes.[189]
Michael Godwin March 1989 Michael Godwin, a criminal convicted of murder, was initially given a death sentence by electrocution before being reduced to life imprisonment. Godwin died from electrocution when he bit into wires while attempting to fix a broken television set at the same time sitting on a metal toilet in his prison cell.[190][191]

1990s

Name of person Image Date of death Details
Daniel John O'Brien 14 January 1990 Daniel John O'Brien, 31, committed suicide by jumping into one of the engines of a British Airways Boeing 747 at Piarco International Airport, Trinidad.[192][193] He was naked, scaled two fences with barbed wire on top, fought off four security guards, and commandeered a four-wheel-drive vehicle, which he drove into the jet sitting on the runway with its engines running.[194]
Brandon Lee 31 March 1993 Brandon Lee, 28-year-old film actor, martial artist, and son of Bruce Lee, was killed by an improperly loaded prop gun while filming.[195][196][197]
Garry Hoy 9 July 1993 38-year-old Garry Hoy, a lawyer in Toronto, fell from the 24th floor of the Toronto-Dominion Centre while demonstrating that its windows were "unbreakable". He threw himself against one, which, true to his assertion, did not break, but instead popped out of its frame.[198][199]
Gloria Ramirez 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, she 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.[200]
Mark Gleeson 9 March 1996 26-year-old Gleeson from Headley Down, Hampshire, insisted on attempting to cure his incurable snoring with his girlfriend by taking sleeping pills and inserting tampons into his nostrils. He died from suffocation, with the sleeping pills adding to his breathing difficulties.[201]
Quimby Ghilotti 2 June 1997 Quimby Ghilotti, 18, a senior at Napa High School, died when a water slide collapsed after students tried to fit as many of themselves in it as possible. 32 others were injured.[202]
Karen Wetterhahn 1997 Karen Wetterhahn, a professor of chemistry at Dartmouth College, died ten months after a few drops of dimethylmercury (an organomercury compound and one of the strongest known neurotoxins) landed on her protective gloves. Although she had been following the required procedures, it permeated the gloves and her skin within seconds.[203][204][205]
Bena Tshadi (football team) October 1998 An entire football team of 11 in Eastern Kasai, Democratic Republic of the Congo, were fatally struck by lightning while playing. The other team left the scene unharmed.[206]
Alberto Fargo 1998 Alberto Fargo of Lisbon, Portugal, died from falling out of a 5-story window whilst performing a tango. According to witnesses Fargo was demonstrating to students how to keep their head high by looking at the ceiling, and failed to notice the open window beside him.[207]
Jonathan Capewell 1998 Capewell, 16, died from a heart attack brought on by the buildup of butane and propane in his blood after excessive use of deodorant sprays.[208] He was reported to have been obsessed with personal hygiene.[208]
John Lewis 12 April 1999 64-year-old John Lewis, a businessman from Minsterworth, England, attempted to light a bonfire with gasoline, but inadvertently set his clothes on fire. He then ran to a river, jumped in, and eventually drowned. Although the incident occurred on 12 April 1999, his body was not found until 30 April 1999.[209][210]
Kemistry 25 April 1999 35-year-old Valerie Olusanya, an English DJ, was a front-seat passenger in a car traveling on the M3 motorway in Hampshire, England, behind a van which dislodged a cat's eye in the road. The steel body flew through the windscreen, hitting Olusanya in the face. She was killed instantly. The coroner recorded a verdict of accidental death.[211]
Four terrorists September 1999 Four Palestinian terrorists, apparently protesting a newly-signed Israel-Palestinian agreement, attempted to detonate car bombs in the Israeli cities of Tiberias and Haifa at 6 pm, but due to a miscommunication resulting from a change in Israel's time zone from the other Middle Eastern countries, they were an hour behind schedule, and all were killed when their own bombs detonated en route to their intended respective targets.[212][213][214]
Hisashi Ouchi 21 December 1999 On 30 September 1999, Ouchi and two other technicians, Masato Shinohara and Yutaka Yokokawa, were improperly preparing reactor fuel for the Jōyō reactor at the Tokai Nuclear Power Plant, leading to a criticality accident. The technicians' desire to quicken the process led to numerous safety protocols being bypassed, resulting in 16 kilograms (35 lb) of dissolved enriched uranium to be contained in the precipitation tank, as opposed to the safe limit of 2.4 kilograms (5.3 lb). Ouchi, who was holding a funnel through which Uranyl nitrate was being poured into the feeder tank, was dosed with approximately seventeen sieverts of radiation and received the highest dose of the three. After being transferred to the hospital, his condition rapidly deteriorated, though doctors were instructed to repeatedly revive him whenever his heart stopped, at the wishes of his family. Attempts at treatment, including an early use of Peripheral stem cell transplantation, were carried out over the course of almost 3 months, but they ultimately failed, and he died on 21 December 1999, following an unrecoverable cardiac arrest.[215] Of the other two, Shinohara died of multiple organ failure complicated by infections following numerous attempts at treatment on 27 April 2000, while Yokokawa, who received the smallest dose, survived following three months of hospitalization.

21st century


2000s

Name of person Image Date of death Details
Bliss Scott 2000 Bliss Scott, 7, died after touching an African snail, from which she contracted meningoencephalitis caused by Angiostrongylus cantonensis.[216]
Jimmy Zámbó 2 January 2001 Hungarian pop singer Jimmy Zámbó died, in Budapest, after accidentally shooting himself in the head while trying to demonstrate that his pistol was empty, forgetting about the bullet in the chamber.[217][citation needed]
Bernd Brandes 9 March 2001 Bernd Brandes, a German engineer from Berlin, was willingly slaughtered so that he could be butchered and eaten by cannibal Armin Meiwes. He had responded to an Internet advertisement which Meiwes had placed for this purpose. In prison, Meiwes became a vegetarian.[218][219][220]
Michael Colombini 2001 Michael Colombini, 6, died during an MRI scan at a New York-area hospital, after an oxygen tank was magnetically pulled into the machine and fractured his skull.[221]
Brittanie Cecil 18 March 2002 Brittanie Cecil, 13, died from her injuries at a NHL hockey game after a deflected puck struck her in the left temple. She was the first and only fan fatality in the NHL's history.
Brian Douglas Wells 28 August 2003 Brian Douglas Wells, a pizza delivery man from Erie, Pennsylvania, was killed by an explosive collar around his neck, as part of a bank robbery scheme.[222]
Hitoshi Nikaidoh 2003 Hitoshi Nikaidoh, a doctor in Houston, Texas, was decapitated after his head got trapped in elevator doors at his workplace, his head being removed from his body as the elevator ascended.[223]
Phillip Quinn 2004 Phillip Quinn, 24, from Kent, Washington, was killed when a lava lamp he was heating on a stove exploded and a shard pierced his heart.[224]
Unknown 2004 A Dutch teen died after attempting to break the running record by jumping out of his car that had been set to cruise control at 20 mph (32 km/h).[189]
Francis Daniel Brohm 2 September 2004 John Hutcherson, 21, drove home drunk with his friend, Francis Brohm, 23, hanging out the passenger window. Hutcherson drove off the road and sideswiped a telephone pole guy-wire, decapitating Brohm. He continued the final 12 miles to his Atlanta, Georgia, home, parked in the driveway, and went to bed. A neighbor found Brohm's headless body in the truck the next morning.[225][226]
Kenneth Pinyan 2005 Kenneth Pinyan died from injuries caused by anal sex with a stallion.[227]
Mildred Bowman and Alice Wardle 2005 Mildred Bowman, 62, and Alice Wardle, 68, were two sisters killed in Benidorm, Spain, after becoming trapped for four days when their fold-up Murphy bed collapsed.[228]
Unknown January 2005 A 55-year-old man in Croatia, known as Marko, attempted to clean the chimney in his workshop when he decided to join a grenade to his broom via a chain. He died when the grenade detonated as he welded the grenade to the chain.[229][189]
Steve Irwin
4 September 2006 Steve Irwin, an Australian wildlife expert and television personality, was pierced in the heart by a short-tail stingray's barb while filming in shallow water in the Great Barrier Reef.[230][231]
Humberto Hernandez 21 June 2007 Humberto Hernandez, a 24-year-old Oakland, California, resident, was struck in the face by an airborne fire hydrant when a passing car struck it and the water pressure shot it at him with great force.[232][233][234]
Lydia Tsekova February 2008 Bulgarian teacher Lydia Tsekova and her husband Georgi with another colleague, Nadezhda Lyubenova began pouring chemical waste into a drain cover in Sofia. The chemicals reacted with the gases in the sewers and caused an explosion, the drain cover decapitating Tsekova and the blast injuring her husband and Lyubenova.[235][236]
Adelir Antônio de Carli 21 April 2008 Adelir Antônio de Carli, a Brazilian Catholic priest and sky diver, undertook a Cluster balloon flight on 20 April 2008. The intention was to break the endurance records for that and raise funds for charity. However, contact was lost part-way through. The lower part of his body was found floating in the sea eleven weeks later on 4 July.[237][238][239]
David Phyall 5 July 2008 David Phyall, 50, the last resident in a block of flats due to be demolished in Bishopstoke, near Southampton, England, decapitated himself with a chainsaw to highlight the injustice of being forced to move out of it.[240][241]
Judy Kay Zagorski 2008 Judy Kay Zagorski died of blunt force craniocerebral trauma when a 75-pound (34 kg) spotted eagle ray leaped out of the water and knocked her over. It also died.[242][243][244]
Unknown 2008 A 43-year-old Irish mother of four died of an allergic reaction after having sex with a German Shepherd.[245] Its owner, Sean McDonnell, and the woman met in an Internet chat room for bestiality. McDonnell was prosecuted and added to a sex offender list.[246]
Unknown 3 March 2009 A 14-year-old boy from Jiaozhou, Shandong, China, was killed when the pneumatic cylinder in his office chair exploded.[247][248]
Mark Fidrych
13 April 2009 Mark Fidrych, a 54-year-old former Major League Baseball pitcher of the Detroit Tigers, died while working underneath his dump truck when his clothes became entangled with the power takeoff drive shaft, suffocating him.[249]
Taylor Mitchell 28 October 2009 Taylor Mitchell, a 19-year-old Canadian folk singer, was killed by a pair of coyotes while hiking in Cape Breton Highlands National Park, in the only known fatal coyote attack on an adult.[250][251][252]
Larry Ely Murillo-Moncada 28 November 2009 Larry Ely Murillo-Moncada, a 25-year-old supermarket employee from Council Bluffs, Iowa, is believed to have fallen into the 18-inch gap between a cooler and a wall and become trapped. His body was discovered ten years later when the cooler was moved.[253]

2010s

Name of person Image Date of death Details
Muraka Jenny Vearncombe 2010 Muraka Jenny Vearncombe, 42, was decapitated by a piece of a metal pipe flung by a tractor-pulled lawnmower as she walked to work in Townsville, Australia.[254]
Mike Edwards 3 September 2010 Mike Edwards, 62, a cellist and 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.[255][256][257]
Jimi Heselden 26 September 2010 Jimi Heselden, 62, owner of Segway Inc., died after apparently riding a Segway Personal Transport System off a cliff in Thorp Arch, England.[258] The coroner came to the conclusion that Heselden had likely fallen from the cliff with the Segway after 'getting into difficulty' reversing to allow a man walking his dog to pass him.[259]
Mr. Lee 7 October 2010 A wheelchair-bound man, known as Mr. Lee, was caught on camera angrily banging on elevator doors three times with his wheelchair after missing the elevator in a shopping mall in Daejeon, South Korea. The first two bangs loosened the doors, while on the third bang, Lee went into the elevator shaft and fell 6 m (19 ft) to his death.[260]
Jose Luis Ochoa 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.[261][262]
Edward Archbold 2012 Edward Archbold, 32, of West Palm Beach, Florida, choked on "arthropod body parts" during a cockroach eating contest.[263][264]
Erica Marshall 2012 Erica Marshall, a 28-year-old British veterinarian in Ocala, Florida, died when the horse she was treating in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber kicked the wall, released a spark from its horseshoes, and triggered an explosion. The horse was also killed by the explosion.[265][266][267]
Ilda Vitor Maciel 28 September 2012 88-year-old Ilda Vitor Maciel died in a Brazilian hospital in Barra Mansa (south of state of Rio de Janeiro), allegedly as a result of nursing technicians injecting soup through her IV drip instead of her feeding tube.[268]
Elisa Lam February 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 low pressure and foul smell of the water.[269]
Takuya Nagaya 2013 Takuya Nagaya, 23, from Japan, started to slither on the floor and claimed he had become a snake. He died after his father spent the next two days head-butting and biting him "to drive [out] the snake that had possessed him".[270]
Roger Mirro 2013 Roger Mirro was crushed by a trash compactor while looking through a dumpster for his phone.[271]
Unknown 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.[272][273]
João Maria de Souza 2013 João Maria de Souza, 45, was crushed in his bed by a cow falling through the roof of his home in Caratinga, Minas Gerais, in Southeast Brazil. It had climbed on top of the house from a steep hillside behind it. Both it and de Souza's wife (who was in the bed next to him) were unharmed.[274]
Denver Lee St. Clair 2013 Denver Lee St. Clair, 58, was asphyxiated by an "atomic wedgie" administered by his stepson during a fight. After he had been knocked unconscious, the elastic band from his torn underwear was pulled over his head and stretched around his neck, strangling him.[275][276]
Kendrick Johnson 10 January 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 it to retrieve a shoe and became trapped, but the case was later reopened as a possible homicide.[277][278][279][280][281]
James Campbell January 2013 68-year-old James Campbell left his van to open a gate; meanwhile his dog stepped on the van's gas pedal and the van ran him over.[282][283]
Miguel Martinez 2013 Miguel Martinez, 14, from Lubbock, Texas, was impaled through the chest by a bull statue's horn while playing hide-and-seek at night in front of the National Ranching Heritage Center.[284]
Noah Barthe, Connor Barthe 2013 The two young brothers, aged 4 and 6, were killed by an African rock python during a sleepover at their friend's apartment in New Brunswick, Canada. It had escaped from its enclosure in the apartment and slithered through ducts until it fell through the ceiling of the bedroom where they slept. Though it suffocated them it did not attempt to eat them.[285][286]
Hayato Tsuruta 2013 Hayato Tsuruta, 28, from Japan, with intellectual disabilities, ran away from his residential facility and went to a supermarket. There he consumed so many doughnuts that he choked to death.[287][288]
Heval Yıldırım 2014 Heval Yildirim, 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. His father had placed it on the roof of the building where he lived because he could not find another suitable place to keep it.[289]
Christophe de Margerie
20 October 2014 Christophe de Margerie, an oil executive, was killed when his corporate jet collided with a snowplow reportedly driven by a drunk driver.[290][291]
Peng Fan 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 soup.[292][293]
Peter Biaksangzuala 2014 Peter Biaksangzuala, an Indian association football player from Mizoram state, died after sustaining spinal cord injuries while awkwardly landing a somersault celebrating a goal.[294]
Phillip Hughes
27 November 2014 Hughes was killed by a bouncer striking his neck during a cricket match, causing a vertebral artery dissection.[295][296]
Jalyn Rippy 2 July 2015 Jalyn Rippy, 5, was killed by a leaping sturgeon while she was boating with her family near Fanning Springs, Florida. Her mother, Tanya Faye, 31, and her brother, Trevor, 9, were also injured and needed facial reconstruction surgery.[297]
Charmayne Maxwell 2015 Charmayne Maxwell, a member of American R&B group Brownstone, died after falling backward while holding a wine glass. During the fall it shattered on the ground behind her head, and the shards pierced her neck, causing profuse bleeding.[298]
Chelsea Ake-Salvacion 2015 Chelsea Ake-Salvacion, 24, an employee of a beauty salon in Henderson, Nevada, was suffocated while using a cryotherapy machine set to the wrong level, which eliminated the oxygen in the chamber.[299][300]
Lee Jane 2015 Lee Jane, 57, an English lorry driver, was run over by his own skip lorry as it careened toward a hospital building, after failing to engage the handbrake.[301][302]
Ravi Subramanian 2015 Ravi Subramanian, an Air India technician, was sucked into an aircraft's jet engine.[303][304]
Stephen Whinfrey 2015 Stephen Whinfrey, 50, became trapped and asphyxiated when rabbiting near Doncaster, England, after his head became stuck down a rabbit hole.[305]
V. Kamaraj 2016 V. Kamaraj, a 40-year-old Indian bus driver, was claimed by local Indian newspapers to have been killed by a meteorite which left a two-foot (61 cm) crater, although officials from NASA oppose that view saying that the most likely explanation was a land-based explosion. According to a preliminary report by the National College Instrumentation Facility (NCIF) in Trichy, a scanning electron microscope (SEM) study on the evidence of the samples retrieved from the campus in Vellore from where the blast occurred showed "the presence of carbonaceous chondrites".[306][307][308][309]
Lottie Michelle Belk 2016 Lottie Michelle Belk, 55, was fatally stabbed in the chest by a beach umbrella blown by a strong wind in Virginia Beach, Virginia.[310] Wind speeds at the time reached 20–25 miles per hour (32–40 km/h).[311][312]
Caleb Schwab 2016 Caleb Schwab, 10, was decapitated when he was ejected from his raft on Verrückt, a 168-foot-tall (51 m) water slide at Schlitterbahn Kansas City.[313]
Irma Bule 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.[314][315]
Anton Yelchin
2016 Anton Yelchin, 27, an American 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 was on an incline and his car was found running and in neutral.[316][317]
Unknown 2016 A 7-year-old girl died after being struck by a stone thrown by an elephant from its enclosure at the zoo in Rabat, Morocco.[318][319]
Kristopher Moules and Timothy Gilliam Jr. 2016 Kristopher Moules, 25, a Corrections Officer and Timothy Gilliam Jr., 27, an out of county inmate being housed at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, fell to their deaths after an altercation between them caused them to slam into the exterior of the fifth floor elevator doors. Despite the elevator having its up-to-date working credentials, upon impact, the door popped open, causing the men to fall five flights down the shaft to their deaths. The county declared CO Moules' death a homicide and declared Gilliam's death an accident.[320]
Ten people 21 November 2016 On 21 November 2016, a powerful southerly change in Melbourne, Australia, resulted in the death of 10 asthmatic people who succumbed to respiratory failure.[321] This was due to a stark 60-kilometre-per-hour (37 mph) wind that distributed ryegrass pollen into the moist air, rupturing them into very fine specks, particles small enough to enter people's lungs.[322]
Charlie Holt 2017 Charlie Holt, 5, was killed at the Sun Dial, 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.[323]
Akbar Salubiro 2017 Akbar Salubiro, 25, was killed and swallowed by a reticulated python in Indonesia, in the first fully confirmed case of a snake swallowing an adult human.[324] A second case there happened the following year, when another reticulated python killed and swallowed a woman in her garden.[325]
Robert Dreyer 2017 Robert Dreyer, 89, crashed his car into a fire hydrant, then was swallowed by the sinkhole created by the broken water line which had fed the hydrant.[326]
Debra Bedard 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.[327]
Rebecca Burger 2017 Rebecca Burger, 33, a fitness blogger and model, died after a pressurized canister of whipped cream exploded and struck her in the chest. The injury caused her to go into cardiac arrest.[328]
Hidr Korkmaz 2017 Hidr Korkmaz, 42, a Turkish-Dutch drug dealer and informant, died when he threw his fish hook into an electric wire while fishing. Though he was a witness in the case against Dutch criminal Willem Holleeder, he was not important to it and authorities treated it as an accident.[329]
Elizabeth Isherwood 2017 Elizabeth Isherwood, 60, walked naked into an airing cupboard at the villa she was renting and shut the door. When she tried to leave, part of the door handle broke off in her hand. She dug into the wall in an attempt to escape, but struck and burst a pipe, which sprayed water into the cupboard and caused her eventual death by hypothermia. She was found several days later. Why she had shut herself in there in the first place remained unknown.[330]
Raildo Matias Santos 22 October 2017 49-year-old Raildo Matias Santos drowned in a bucket of water in Jaguaquara, Brazil. Santos, intoxicated, attempted to fetch a 20-litre (4.4 imp gal; 5.3 US gal) bucket of water, tripped, and fell in a kneeling position. He was epileptic.[331][332]
Alexander Chechik 27 November 2017 Chechik sent his friend a photo of a grenade with a pin pulled out while chatting on the Russian social media service VK. He died shortly after sending the photo as the grenade in his hand exploded. Police however ruled the incident as an accident instead of a suicide.[333]
Rajesh Maru 2018 Rajesh Maru, 32, died at Nair Hospital in Mumbai after carrying a metal oxygen tank into a room housing an MRI scanner; its magnetic field pulled him in, pinning his hand and breaching the tank, releasing liquid oxygen.[334] A hospital employee had asked him to transport the tank, as his hospitalized relative would need it during her scan.[334][335] An autopsy showed that he died instantly from pneumothorax brought on by exposure to very high levels of leaked oxygen.[334] Conflicting reports state two or three hospital employees were arrested for negligence.[336][334] The Maharashtra state government compensated Maru's family 500,000 rupees.[336]
Elaine Herzberg
2018 Elaine Herzberg, 49, of 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.[337][338]
Ateef Rafiq 2018 Ateef Rafiq, 24, died from cardiac arrest in a movie theater in Birmingham, England, whilst looking for his dropped mobile phone. His head became wedged under the electronic footrest of a seat.[339]
Kyle Plush 10 April 2018 On 10 April 2018, 16-year-old Kyle Plush died after becoming trapped in his Honda Odyssey, which was in his school's parking lot in Cincinnati, Ohio. Attempting to reach his tennis equipment, he leaned over the third row of seats into the trunk. When the former "squashed his chest", he became pinned and later died. During the incident, he called 911 twice, by using Apple iPhone's Siri voice-activation. Responding to the calls, the police were not able to find him; he was eventually discovered in the vehicle by his father about six hours later.[340]
Jennifer Riordan
17 April 2018 Jennifer Riordan, 43, a passenger aboard Southwest Airlines Flight 1380, died after debris from an engine failure destroyed a window near her seat and she was partially blown out through it.[341][342]
Hildegard Whiting 2018 Hildegard Whiting, 77, died of suffocation from the carbon dioxide vapors produced by four dry ice coolers in a Dippin' Dots delivery car.[343][344] The car was borrowed by the deliveryman's wife to take Whiting home.[343][344]
Sam Ballard 2018 Sam Ballard, 29, died from angiostrongyliasis after eating a garden slug as a dare eight years earlier.[345]
Linda Goldbloom 2018 Linda Goldbloom, 79, died after being hit by a foul ball at Dodger Stadium. Her death was the first in nearly 50 years directly attributed to this.[346]
Salvator Disi 2019 Salvator Disi, 62, was decapitated while using a power cart to jump start a helicopter in Hernando County, Florida. Its unexpected up-and-down motion caused the rotor blades to strike him.[347]
Unknown January 2019 A man died from being trampled by an elephant when he attempted to hypnotize it by raising his hand upon its face at Yala National Park, Sri Lanka. The incident was recorded on video.[348]
Darren Hickey 5 April 2019 On 5 April 2019, Darren Hickey, a 51-year-old wedding planner from Horwich, England, died after eating a scalding-hot fishcake at a wedding. The cause of death was ruled to be asphyxiation. The pathologist who performed his autopsy called the case "extremely rare" and likened his symptoms to those of victims who have inhaled smoke during house fires.[349]
Paul McDonald 17 April 2019 Paul McDonald, 47, was attacked and killed by a pet deer on his property in north-east Victoria, Australia.[350][351]
Elena Struthers-Gardner July 2019 Elena Struthers-Gardner, 60, of Broadstone, Dorset, England, was carrying a mason jar-style drinking glass with a screw-top lid in her kitchen when she collapsed. Its 10-inch stainless steel straw entered her left eye socket and pierced her brain.[352][353][354]
Zafer Kuzu 4 July 2019 In an attempt to escape community service sentenced for inflicting injury, 24-year-old Zafer Kuzu from Erzurum, Turkey attempted to get himself injured and hospitalized by putting two pillows on his back and asking a friend to shoot him with a shotgun firing buckshot, hoping the pillows would reduce the shot's power. The plan backfired, as the gunshot still killed Kuzu and his friend suffered injuries.[355]
Yulia Sharkom 8 September 2019 Yulia Sharkom, 21, was leaning through a car window when her two-year-old daughter activated the window control button; the window closed and Sharkom was strangled.[356]
Pamela Kreimeyer 27 October 2019 Pamela Kreimeyer, 56, of Marion County, Iowa, was killed during an explosion at a gender reveal party. In an attempt to film a gender reveal worthy of posting online, members of her family filled a steel umbrella stand with gunpowder. Instead of emitting a shower of sparks as intended, the metal pipe failed to contain the overpressure, and the device acted as a pipe bomb instead. Kreimeyer was struck in the head by a metal fragment and was killed instantly.[357]
Tetsu Shiohara 28 October 2019 Tetsu Shiohara, a Japanese hiker from Tokyo, attempted to livestream an off-season ascent of Mount Fuji on 28 October 2019, only to fall to his death metres from the summit. Shortly before his fatal fall, he expressed that 'this part is dangerous', 'can't be helped, though'. He then lost his footing, sliding down a 30 degree incline, before falling off the side of the mountain.[358] During the fall, Shiohara's camera captured some footage of him beginning to tumble down the slope.
Michael Kosanovich 7 December 2019 Michael Kosanovich, 21, was crushed by a 2002 Lexus IS300s, in South Jamaica, Queens, New York City, after its owner started it by remote control. It rolled forward, and he was pinned between two vehicles.[359] Bystanders tried to push them apart but as they did so, the car rolled forward and crushed him again. Kosanovich was taken to hospital with severe trauma to his torso and legs and died of his injuries on 7 December.[360]

2020s

Name of person Image Date of death Details
Sergio Millán 14 January 2020 Sergio Millán, 59, was alone in his apartment in Torreforta, Tarragona, Spain, when an explosion in a petrochemical plant 3 kilometers away launched a one-ton iron plate into the apartment above him, which caused the ceiling to collapse, killing him.[361]
Valentin Didenko, Yury Alferov, Natalia Monakova 29 February 2020 Three people died of carbon dioxide suffocation and drowning when 25 kilograms (55 lb) of dry ice was thrown into an indoor swimming pool, at a sauna party in Moscow, to create a layer of thick white fog over the surface. The carbon dioxide from the dry ice displaced the oxygen.[362][363][364]
Unknown 2020 A 54-year-old man from Massachusetts, United States died after eating a bag and a half of black liquorice every day for a few weeks, which caused such low potassium levels that his heart stopped.[365][366] Licorice contains glycyrrhizinic acid, which along with its metabolite glycyrrhetinic acid interferes with the body's potassium levels by mimicking the hormone aldosterone,[367] resulting in excessive excretion of the nutrient in cases of overconsumption, a condition referred to as pseudohyperaldosteronism.[368]
Unknown May 2021 The body of a 39-year-old man was found wedged inside a papier-mâché statue of a Stegosaurus in the town of Santa Coloma de Gramenet, Catalonia, Spain. Initial police reports did not suspect foul play. A representative of the local police force hypothesised that the individual may have crawled inside head first to retrieve a lost mobile phone before his leg became stuck, trapping him inside. Firefighters had to cut the statue apart to extract the body; police observers believed that he may have been trapped in there for "a couple of days". Local media sources claimed that the family of the victim had reported him missing only hours prior to the discovery. The body was discovered when a man and his son noticed an unusual smell from the statue, and saw the body through a crack in the statue.[369][370]

See also


Lists

References


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Further reading