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, killed by a turtle dropped onto his head by a falcon, illustrated in the 15th-century Florentine Picture Chronicle by Maso Finiguerra[1]


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 in Aegina, Greece.[2][3]
c.612 BC Charondas was a Greek lawgiver from Sicily, Italy. According to Diodorus Siculus, he issued a law that anyone who brought weapons into the Assembly must be put to death. 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. In order to uphold his own law, he committed suicide.[4][5][6]
Arrhichion of Phigalia
564 BC Arrhichion 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, Arrhichion 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 Arrhichion's neck. Since the opponent had conceded defeat, Arrhichion was proclaimed the victor posthumously.[7][8]
Milo of Croton
6th century BC Milo of Croton was an Olympic champion wrestler whose hands reportedly became trapped when he tried to split a tree apart; he was then devoured by wolves (or, in later versions, lions).[9]
5th century BC Zeuxis, a Greek painter, died of laughter at his portrait of the goddess Aphrodite. The elderly woman who commissioned it had insisted on modeling for it.[10]:105[11]
Pythagoras of Samos
c.495 BC Ancient sources disagree on how the Greek philosopher Pythagoras died,[12][13] 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. Supposedly, he almost managed to outrun them, but he came to a bean field and refused to run through it, as he had prohibited beans as ritually unclean.[13][14] Since cutting through the field would violate his own teachings, Pythagoras simply stopped running and was killed. This story may have been fabricated by Neanthes of Cyzicus, on whom both Diogenes and Iamblichus rely as a source.[13]
c.485 BC Anacreon, a poet known for works in celebration of wine, choked to death on a grape stone according to Pliny the Elder. The 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica suggests that "the story has an air of mythical adaptation to the poet's habits".[10]:104[15]
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.[16][17]
c.459 BC Themistocles, the Athenian general who won the Battle of Salamis, actually died of natural causes in exile,[18][19] but was widely rumored to have committed suicide by drinking a solution of crushed minerals known as bull's blood.[18][19][20][21] The legend is widely retold in classical sources. 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. The comedic playwright Aristophanes references Themistocles drinking bull's blood in his comedy The Knights (performed in 424 BC) as the most heroic way for a man to die.[19][22]
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 Natural History, adds that Aeschylus had been staying outdoors to avert a prophecy that he would be killed that day "by the fall of a house".[10]:104[23][24][25]
Empedocles of Akragas
c.430 BC Empedocles of Akragas 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".[26] According to Diogenes Laërtius, he tried to prove he was an immortal god by leaping into Mount Etna, an active volcano.[27][28] This legend is also alluded to by the Roman poet Horace.[29]
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. According to one legend, he choked to death on an unripe grape. Another says that he died of joy after hearing that his last play had been victorious. 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 punctuation.[25]
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.[30][31]
Democritus of Abdera
c.370 BC According to Diogenes Laërtius, the Greek Atomist philosopher Democritus of Abdera died at the age of 109; 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. Democritus told her to place a loaf of warm bread under his nose, and was able to survive for the three days of the festival by sniffing it. He died immediately after the festival was over.[32][33]
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.[34][35]
Agathocles of Syracuse
289 BC Agathocles, a Greek tyrant of Syracuse, was murdered with a poisoned toothpick.[10]:104[36]
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.[37] British classicist Alan Cameron speculates that Philitas died from a wasting disease which his contemporaries joked was caused by his pedantry.[38]
Zeno of Citium
c.262 BC Zeno of Citium was a Greek philosopher from Citium (Kition), Cyprus. As he was leaving the school, he tripped and fell, breaking his toe. Striking the ground with his fist, he quoted the line from the Niobe, "I come, I come, why dost thou call for me?" He died on the spot through holding his breath.[39]
Qin Shi Huang
August 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.[40][41][42]
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 with which to wash them down, and then, "...having laughed too much, he died" (Diogenes Laërtius 7.185).[43]
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.[44]
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.[45] Modern historians find this tale implausible.[46]
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.[47]
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.[48]
Simon Peter
Between AD 64–68 Saint Peter, an apostle of Jesus, was crucified upside-down in Rome, based on his claim of being unworthy to die in the same way as his Saviour.[49][50]
Simon the Zealot
1st century AD According to an ancient tradition, Simon, an apostle of Jesus, was sawn in half in Persia.[51]
Saint Lawrence
258 The deacon Saint Lawrence was roasted alive on a giant grill during the persecution of Valerian.[52][53] Prudentius tells that he joked with his tormentors, "Turn me over—I'm done on this side".[54] He is now the patron saint of cooks, chefs, and comedians.[55]
Marcus of Arethusa
362 The Christian bishop and martyr Marcus of Arethusa was hung up in a honey-smeared basket for bees to sting him to death.[10]:104
Valentinian I
17 November 375 The Roman emperor Valentinian I suffered a stroke which was provoked by yelling at foreign envoys in anger.[56]

Middle Ages

Name of person Image Date of death Details
Constans II
15 July 668 Byzantine Emperor, assassinated with a bucket according to Theophilus of Edessa.[57]
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.[58]
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.[59]
Basil I
29 August 886 Byzantine Emperor, Basil's belt was entangled between antlers of a deer during a hunt and the animal subsequently dragged the emperor for 16 miles (26 km) through the woods. Because of this accident Basil contracted fever and he died shortly afterwards.[60]
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.[61]
Byzantine Emperor
6 June 913 Died of a stomach disease caused by excessive eating and alcohol,[62] allegedly after playing a game of tzykanion (polo) while drunk.[63]
Edmund Ironside
30 November 1016 Edmund Ironside, King of England in 1016, was allegedly stabbed whilst on a toilet by an assassin hiding underneath.[64]
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.[65] 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.[66][67]
Crown Prince
Philip of France
13 October 1131 Died while riding through Paris, when his horse tripped over a black pig that was running out of a dung heap.[68]
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.[69]
John II Komnenos
1 April 1143 Cut himself with a poisoned arrow during a boar hunt, and subsequently died from an infection.[70]
Henry I of Castile
6 June 1217 Henry I, king of Castile, was killed by a tile that fell from a roof.[71]
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.[72]
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.[73][74] 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.[75]
John of Bohemia
26 August 1346 John of Bohemia, after being blind for 10 years, died in the Battle of Crécy when—at his command—his companions tied their horses' reins to his own and charged. He was slaughtered in the ensuing fight.[76][77]
Charles II of Navarre
1 January 1387 The contemporary chronicler Froissart relates that king Charles II of Navarre, known as "Charles the Bad", 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.[78][79][80]
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.[81][82]


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.[83]
Charles VIII of France
7 April 1498 Charles VIII of France died as the result of striking his head on the lintel of a door while on his way to watch a game of real tennis.[10]:105
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).[84][85]
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.[86]
Henry II of France
10 July 1559 On 30 June 1559, a tournament was held near Place des Vosges to celebrate the Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis with his longtime enemies, the Habsburgs of Austria, and to celebrate the marriage of his daughter Elisabeth of Valois to King Philip II of Spain. During a jousting match, King Henry, wearing the colors of his mistress Diane de Poitiers,[87] was wounded in the eye by a fragment of the splintered lance of Gabriel Montgomery, captain of the King's Scottish Guard.[88] Despite the efforts of royal surgeons Ambroise Paré and Andreas Vesalius, the court doctors ultimately "advocated a wait-and-see strategy";[89] as a result, the king's untreated eye and brain damage led to his death by sepsis on 10 July 1559.[90] Henry's death played a significant role in the decline of jousting as a sport, particularly in France.[91]
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.[92] The beard, which was 4.5 feet (1.4 m) long at the time, was usually kept rolled up in a leather pouch.[93]
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 over 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.[94] 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.[95]
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.[96][97] After he had returned home, he was no longer able to urinate, except eventually in very small quantities and with excruciating pain.[98] Though initially ascribed to a kidney stone, and later still to potential mercury poisoning, modern analyses indicate Brahe's death resulted from a fatal case of uremia caused by an inflamed prostate.[99][100]

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.[101]
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.[102][103]
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.[104][105]
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.[106]
17 February 1673[107] 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.[107][108] He disguised his convulsion as part of his performance and finished out the show,[107] which ends with his character dead in a chair. After the show, he was carried in the chair to his house, where he died.[107][109][108]
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,[110] while his younger brother Bhai Sati Das was wrapped in cotton wool soaked in oil and set on fire,[111] and Bhai Dayala was boiled in a cauldron full of water and roasted over a block of charcoal.[112]
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.[113] He refused to have his leg amputated so he could still dance.[114]
Frederick, Prince of Wales
31 March 1751 The son of George II of Great Britain and father of George III died of a pulmonary embolism, but was commonly claimed to have been killed by being struck by a cricket ball.[10]:105[115]
Henry Hall 8 December 1755 Henry Hall, a 94-year-old British lighthouse keeper, died several days after fighting a fire at Rudyerd's Tower, during which molten lead from the roof fell down his throat. His autopsy revealed that "the diaphragmatic upper mouth of the stomach greatly inflamed and ulcerated, and the tuncia in the lower part of the stomach burnt; and from the great cavity of it took out a great piece of lead ... which weighed exactly seven ounces, five drachms and eighteen grains". The piece of lead is currently in the collection of the National Museum of Scotland.[116][117]

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 four knives, and quickly passed three with no ill-health. He later swallowed 14 knives, and after some days with abdominal pain, he passed all of them. He finally swallowed 20 knives and a clasp knife case, 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.[118]
Victims of the London Beer Flood
17 October 1814 On 17 October 1814, at Meux & Co's Horse Shoe Brewery, a 22-foot-tall (6.7 m) wooden vat of fermenting porter burst, causing chain reactions and destroyed several large beer barrels. The beer subsequently flooded the nearby slum and killed 8 people. Several people also subsequently died from alcohol poisoning as a result of vaporized liquor.[119]
Gouverneur Morris
6 November 1816 Gouverneur Morris died from an infection after using a whalebone to clear a blockage in his urinary tract.[120][121]
William Snyder 11 January 1854 William Snyder, 13, died in San Francisco, California, reportedly after a circus clown swung him around by his heels.[122]
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.[123][124]
Clement Vallandigham
17 June 1871 Vallandigham, an American politician and lawyer who was defending a man accused of murder, accidentally shot himself while demonstrating how the victim might have done so. His client was acquitted.[125][126]
Henry Taylor November 1872 Henry Taylor, a pallbearer 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".[127]
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.[128][129]
Allan Pinkerton
1 July 1884 Allan Pinkerton, the founder of the Pinkerton Detective Agency, tripped on the pavement and severely bit his tongue, which became infected with gangrene.[130]
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.[131]
Bridget Driscoll
17 August 1896 Driscoll, 44, the first recorded case of a pedestrian killed in a collision with a motor car,[132][133] 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.[133]
Empress Elisabeth of Austria
10 September 1898 Elisabeth was stabbed with a thin file by Italian anarchist Luigi Lucheni while strolling through Geneva with her lady-in-waiting Irma Sztáray. The wound pierced her pericardium and a lung. Her extremely tight corset held the wound closed, so she did not realize what had happened (believing a passerby had struck her), and walked on for some time before collapsing.[134][135]

20th century


Name of person Image Date of death Details
Stanton Walker 25 October 1902 The 20-year-old Walker was watching an amateur baseball game in Morristown, Ohio, with a friend on either side of him. One of the friends borrowed a knife from the other to sharpen his pencil as he was keeping score, and when he was finished passed the knife to Walker to pass to the other friend. As Walker was holding the knife, a foul ball struck him in the hand and drove the knife into his chest next to his heart. His friends asked if he was hurt and he said "not much", but the wound soon began to bleed heavily and he died within minutes.[136]
Unknown (♂) Early 1903 An unnamed person was beaten to death with a Bible during a healing ceremony gone wrong in Honolulu, Hawai'i.[137] 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;[138] the Kahuna was charged with manslaughter.[139]
Benjamin Taylor A Bell 1 March 1904 On 18 February 1904, while taking his habitual shortcut to the Canadian Mining Review offices through an adjacent store, Canadian journalist Benjamin Taylor A Bell walked through the wrong door in the store and fell 10 feet (3.0 m) down an elevator shaft. He died of his injuries on 1 March.[140]
John Mortensen 1 May 1904 19-year-old duck hunter John Mortensen of Wairoa, New Zealand, drowned in about 6 inches (150 mm) of water on the Whare-o-Maraenui reserve in Napier, New Zealand, apparently having fallen while having a seizure.[141]
Melissa M. Tiemann 7 July 1904 50-year-old Melissa Tiemann of Los Angeles, California, fell from a streetcar and struck the back of her head on the ground, driving the teeth of an aluminum comb she was wearing into her skull.[142]
George Spencer Millet
15 February 1909 George Millet, an American teenager who worked as an office boy at an insurance company at the Metropolitan Life Building in New York City, was fleeing six young women stenographers at his workplace intent on giving him kisses for his 15th birthday while carrying an ink eraser in his breast pocket. As the women moved in for their kisses, he fell forward, and the eraser's point pierced his heart, killing him.[143][144]
Doc Powers
26 April 1909 Baseball player Michael Riley "Doc" Powers, 38, ran into a wall while chasing a foul ball during a game at Philadelphia's Shibe Park, on April 12, 1909. He died from internal injuries two weeks later.[145]
Franz Reichelt
4 February 1912 Franz Reichelt, a tailor and inventor, leaped from the Eiffel Tower and fell to his death wearing a parachute made from cloth, his own invention. He was asked by friends and authorities to use a dummy for the feat, but declined, saying "I intend to prove the worth of my invention". Reichelt is known as the Flying Tailor.[146]
Julian Carlton 7 October 1914 Carlton, who was a servant to the American architect Frank Lloyd Wright, committed a mass murder spree on August 15, 1914, at Wright's Taliesin studio, during which he killed 7 people with a hatchet and set the studio ablaze. Carlton then attempted suicide by drinking hydrochloric acid. However, this failed to kill him. After nearly being lynched, Carlton was arrested and brought to a jail in Dodgeville, Wisconsin, where, having severely damaged his esophagus, he starved to death forty-seven days later.[147][148]
Grigori Rasputin
30 December [O.S. 17 December] 1916 The Russian mystic died of three gunshot wounds, one of which was a close-range shot to his forehead. Little is certain about his death beyond this, and the circumstances of his death have been the subject of considerable speculation.[149] According to his 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.[150]
Victims of the Great Molasses Flood
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.[151][152]
Ray Chapman
17 August 1920 On August 16, 1920, while he was up to bat, Cleveland Indians baseball player Ray Chapman, 29, was struck in the head by a pitch thrown by New York Yankees’ Carl Mays and died 12 hours later. He is the only player in Major League Baseball history to have died as a direct result of an on-field injury.[153]
Alexander of Greece
25 October 1920 King Alexander of Greece, 27, died of sepsis after being bitten by a palace steward's pet Barbary macaque in his garden, while trying to break up a fight between his German shepherd and another monkey.[154][155]
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.[156][157]
Frank Hayes 4 June 1923 Frank Hayes, 22, a 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.[158][159][160]
Martha Mansfield
30 November 1923 While American film actress Martha Mansfield, 24, was on location in San Antonio, Texas filming the American Civil War drama The Warrens of Virginia, a lit match was carelessly tossed by a crew member, which ignited the hoop skirts and ruffles of her Civil War costume. Mansfield had just finished filming her scenes and retired to a car when her clothing burst into flames. Co-star Wilfred Lytell and a chauffeur were able to extinguish the flames, and Mansfield was rushed to a hospital, where she died the following day from her injuries.[161][162][163]
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.[164] An inquest at Bangor delivered a verdict of "suicide while temporarily insane".[165]
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.[166] 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,[167] when it knocked him down, kicked him in the neck, and opened a large cut, leading to death from loss of blood.[168]
Isadora Duncan
14 September 1927 Isadora Duncan, an American dancer, broke her neck in Nice, France when her long scarf became entangled in the open-spoked wheel and rear axle of the Amilcar CGSS automobile in which she was riding.[169]
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.[170]
Sherwood Anderson
8 March 1941 Sherwood Anderson, an American writer, died of peritonitis after accidentally swallowing a toothpick.[171]
Clarence Stagemyer 29 September 1943 Stagemyer, 32, was watching a Cleveland Indians-Washington Senators doubleheader in Griffith Stadium when an errant throw by Senators' third baseman Sherry Robertson struck him in the forehead. Despite appearing uninjured afterwards, he heeded the Senators' team physician's entreaties to go to the hospital, where he died the next day of a fractured skull. Stagemyer was the first fan in Major League Baseball history killed by a ball leaving the field, and the only such fatality to date to have been struck by a thrown ball.[172]
Thomas Midgley Jr. 2 November 1944 In 1940, at the age of 51, Midgley contracted polio, which left him severely disabled. He devised an elaborate system of ropes and pulleys to lift himself out of bed. In 1944, he became entangled in the device and died of strangulation.[173][174][175]
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.[176]
Mary Reeser
2 July 1951 Mary Reeser was found by the police in her St. Petersburg, Florida home almost totally cremated where she sat, while her apartment was relatively damage-free. Some speculate that she spontaneously combusted.[177]
Margaret Wise Brown
13 November 1952 Margaret Wise Brown, 42, author of Goodnight Moon, had been previously admitted to the hospital for an ovarian cyst. To prove how healthy she was after treatment, she kicked her foot in the air, dislodging a blood clot in her leg. The blood clot quickly travelled to her brain, and she died in emergency surgery.[178][179]
Gareth Jones 30 November 1958 Gareth Jones, a British 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 scripted to die of a heart attack in a later scene of the play.[180][181]


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 Arco, 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.[182][183][184][185][186]
Nick Piantanida
29 August 1966 Nick Piantanida, a skydiver, 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 from lack of oxygen.[187][188]


Name of person Image Date of death Details
Alan Fish 20 May 1970 The 14-year-old Fish was struck in the head by a Manny Mota foul ball while watching a 16 May Los Angeles Dodgers game and knocked unconscious for a minute. He appeared to recover and the Dodger Stadium infirmary gave him an ice pack, two aspirin and released him to watch the rest of the game, during which he behaved normally. Afterwards, he began shaking and crying uncontrollably during the bus ride to his nearby home; when he arrived his parents sought medical attention but had to go to three hospitals despite his worsening condition before they found one that would accept him early the next morning. His condition required neurosurgery, but continued to worsen, and after a seizure led to apparent brain death he was taken off life support two days later; the autopsy showed that part of his fractured skull had become lodged in his brain, causing an intracerebral hemorrhage. He was the first fan in Major League Baseball history to die of injuries caused by a foul ball.[189]
Georgy Dobrovolsky, Vladislav Volkov, and Viktor Patsayev
29 June 1971 Soviet cosmonauts Georgy Dobrovolsky, Vladislav Volkov, and Viktor Patsayev died when their Soyuz 11 spacecraft depressurized during preparations for re-entry. These are the only reported human deaths outside the Earth's atmosphere.[190]
Basil Brown 1974 Basil Brown, 48, a 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.[191][192][193]
Alex Mitchell 1975 After watching the "Kung Fu Kapers" episode of The Goodies, Alex Mitchell, of King's Lynn, Norfolk, England, 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.[194][195][196][197]
Tina Christopherson 1977 Tina Christopherson died when she drank 4 US gallons (15 litres) of water a day to combat stomach cancer.[198]
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 racetrack to extinguish a burning car. The fire extinguisher which Van Vuuren was carrying struck Pryce's head and killed him.[199][200][201][202]
Kurt Gödel
14 January 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.[203] When she became ill and was hospitalized, he starved to death.
Georgi Markov
7 September 1978 Georgi Markov, a Bulgarian dissident writer, 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.[204]
Robert Williams
25 January 1979 Robert Williams, a worker at a Ford plant, became the first person known to be killed by a robot[205] when a factory robot's arm struck him in the head.[206]
John Bowen 13 December 1979 John Bowen, 20, from Nashua, New Hampshire, was fatally injured at a halftime show at Shea Stadium when a 40-pound (18 kg) model plane shaped like a lawnmower crashed into the stands. He died four days later.[207][208]


Name of person Image Date of death Details
Monica Myers 20 March 1980 Monica Myers, the mayor of Betterton, Maryland, was carrying out maintenance work around the sewage tanks at the town's largest municipal facility. According to the Lawrence Journal-World, Myers fell 4 feet (1.2 m) from the catwalks into a 15-foot (4.6 m) aeration tank, filled with human waste which a deputy in the town's police department described as having the consistency of "putty". Her body was found floating face down by the town engineer the next day.[209][210]
Lourdes Maria da Silva August 1980 Lourdes Maria da Silva of Caxias do Sul, Brazil, was walking upstairs carrying a Pyrex glass when she tripped, broke it, and fell on the shards, cutting an artery in her neck. She died on her way to the hospital.[211][212]
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.[213][214] He died five hours later at a hospital in Portland.[213]
David Grundman 4 February 1982 David Grundman, shooting at cacti with his shotgun near Lake Pleasant Regional Park, Arizona, was crushed when a 4-foot (1.2 m) limb detached and fell on him.[214][215][216]
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.[217]
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, Vic 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[218] caused the helicopter to fall on them. Morrow and Le were decapitated and Chen was crushed.[219]
Tennessee Williams
25 February 1983 Tennessee Williams, an American playwright, choked on the plastic cap of a bottle of barbiturate[220] (not eye drops as originally reported).[221]
Dick Wertheim 15 September 1983 Dick Wertheim, a tennis linesman, died after a ball struck him in the groin and he fell out of his chair, striking his head on the hardcourt surface.[222][223][224]
Truls Hellevik
5 November 1983 Truls Hellevik, 34, a Norwegian diver, was explosively dismembered in a diving bell accident on the North Sea Byford Dolphin drilling rig. Three other divers, Edwin Arthur Coward (British, 35 years old), Roy P. Lucas (British, 38) and Bjørn Giæver Bergersen (Norwegian, 29), and dive tender William Crammond, were also killed. Crammond opened the clamp before Hellevik could close the chamber door. The nine-atmosphere air pressure explosively decompressed, instantly forcing Hellevik's body through a 60-centimetre-diameter (24 in) opening, fragmenting it into numerous pieces. The other tender, Martin Saunders, was severely injured.[225][226]
Jimmy Ferrozzo November 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. Hill survived the accident.[227]
Reginald Tucker 4 July 1984 Reginald Tucker, a young lawyer who raced along a Chicago skyscraper corridor without wearing his glasses, crashed through a window and plunged 39 stories to his death, during an early Fourth of July party. Police said portions of the man's body were scattered around the street near the 41-story Prudential Building in the city's downtown area. Several horrified onlookers attending holiday celebrations heard the glass shatter and saw him fall to his death. One witness said it was "like an explosion" when he impacted a car.[228][229]
Jon-Erik Hexum
18 October 1984 Jon-Erik Hexum, 26, 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.[230]
Unknown (♂) 1984 An unidentified man, 25, 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.[231]
Franco Brun 1987 Franco Brun, 22, an inmate at the Metro Toronto East Detention Centre in Canada, died trying to swallow a pocket-size Bible.[232][233]
Marc Aaronson
30 April 1987 Astronomer Marc Aaronson, 36, was crushed to death by a hatch and a revolving telescope dome at Kitt Peak National Observatory.[234][235][236]
Paul G. Thomas 13 August 1987 Paul G. Thomas, 47, co-owner of a wool mill in Thompson, Connecticut, fell into a machine winding yarn between spools, was wrapped in approx. 800 yards of yarn and suffocated.[237]
Cachy the Poodle, Marta Espina, Edith Solá, unidentified man 1988 A poodle named Cachy, in Caballito, Buenos Aires, fell 13 floors and hit Marta Espina, 75, killing both instantly. In the course of events, Edith Solá, 46, came to see the incident, and 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.[238][239]
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.[240][241]
Michael Godwin March 1989 Michael Godwin, 28, an American 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 at the Central Correctional Institute in South Carolina.[242][243]


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.[244][245] He is said to have scaled an airport wall in the nude, attacked four security guards and stolen their four-wheel-drive vehicle, driven the vehicle into the jet, then clambered out of the wreckage, smeared grease on his bleeding shoulder and hurled himself into one of the plane's engines.[246]
Greg Austin Gingrich 28 November 1992 While Greg Austin Gingrich, 38, was vacationing at the Grand Canyon in Coconino County, Arizona, with his teenaged daughter, he began to play-act losing his balance to frighten her. Gingrich leaped atop a guard wall and began wind-milling his arms in an exaggerated manner, then "comically" fell from the wall on the canyon side onto a short slope where he assumed he would land safely. His daughter, unimpressed with his antics, walked on. Gingrich, however, missed his footing and fell approximately 400 feet (120 m) into the canyon to his death.[247][248]
Brandon Lee 31 March 1993 Brandon Lee, 28, film actor, martial artist, and son of Bruce Lee, was killed by an improperly loaded prop gun while filming.[249][250][251]
Garry Hoy 9 July 1993 Garry Hoy, 38, 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.[252][253]
Gloria Ramirez 19 February 1994 Gloria Ramirez, 31, died from kidney failure related to her cervical cancer at the emergency room of Riverside General Hospital in Riverside, California. 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.[254]
Jeremy Brenno 9 July 1994 Jeremy Brenno, 16, was playing golf when he hit a bench out of frustration with his club. This caused the club shaft to break, bounce back, and pierce his heart, killing him.[255]
Mark Gleeson 9 March 1996 Mark Gleeson, 26, from Headley Down, Hampshire, attempted to cure his snoring by inserting tampons into his nostrils. He died from suffocation, with sleeping pills adding to his breathing difficulties.[256]
Karen Wetterhahn 8 June 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.[257][258][259]
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, and local investigators blamed the lightning strike on witchcraft.[260]
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.[261]
Jonathan Capewell 1998 Jonathan Capewell, 16, from Oldham, England, died from a heart attack brought on by the buildup of butane and propane in his blood after excessive use of deodorant sprays.[262] He was reported to have been obsessed with personal hygiene.[262]
John Lewis 12 April 1999 John Lewis, 64, a businessman from Minsterworth, England, attempted to light a bonfire with gasoline, but inadvertently set his clothes on fire. He then ran to the River Severn, jumped in, and eventually drowned. Although the incident occurred on 12 April 1999, his body was not found until 30 April 1999.[263][264]
Hisashi Ouchi 21 December 1999 On 30 September 1999, Hisashi 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.[265] 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


Name of person Image Date of death Details
Bliss Scott 4 June 2000 Bliss Scott, 7, from Stearley Heights Elementary School on Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan, died after touching an African snail, from which she contracted meningoencephalitis caused by Angiostrongylus cantonensis.[266]
Bernd Brandes 9 March 2001 Bernd Jürgen Brandes was voluntarily slaughtered and eaten by Armin Meiwes, following an appointment via internet. At his request, Meiwes first amputated his penis and they unsuccessfully tried to eat it. Meiwes taped the entire amputation and killing, and conserved and ate Brandes' meat. Meiwes was eventually arrested and sentenced to life in prison.[267][268] Meiwes became a vegetarian during his prison sentence.[269]
Michael Colombini 28 July 2001 Michael Colombini, 6, died during an MRI scan at the Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, New York, after an oxygen tank was magnetically pulled into the machine and fractured his skull.[270][271][272]
Gilbert Tinoso 22 December 2001 Gilbert Tinoso, 38, died in Burbank, California after the spare wheel from an oncoming cement truck in the opposite stretch of the freeway broke loose and struck the cab of his Toyota Tacoma.[273][274]
Brittanie Cecil 18 March 2002 Brittanie Cecil, 13, died from her injuries at an NHL hockey game after a deflected puck struck her in the left temple. She was the first and only fan fatality in the league's history.[275]
Roger Wallace May 2002 Wallace, 60, was flying his 5-foot (1.5 m) wingspan toy in Tucson, Arizona, when he lost sight of it in the bright sun. It struck him in the chest, killing him.[276]
Brian 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. Investigators concluded that Wells was a voluntary participant in the scheme, but was double-crossed and killed by his co-conspirators to silence him.[277]
Hitoshi Nikaidoh 16 August 2003 Hitoshi Nikaidoh, a doctor in Houston, Texas, was killed after his head was trapped in elevator doors at the hospital where he worked. He was partially decapitated as the elevator ascended, and he also sustained injuries to his ribs and spine.[278]
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.[279]
Francis Daniel Brohm 2 September 2004 John Hutcherson, 21, drove home drunk with his friend Francis Brohm, 23, who was hanging out the passenger window while vomiting due to carsickness. Hutcherson drove off the road and sideswiped a telephone pole support wire, decapitating Brohm. He continued the final 12 miles (19 km) 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.[280][281]
Kenneth Pinyan 2 July 2005 Kenneth Pinyan died from injuries caused by anal sex with a stallion.[282]
Mildred Bowman and Alice Wardle August 2005 Two sisters, Mildred Bowman, 62, and Alice Wardle, 68, died in Benidorm, Spain, after becoming trapped for four days when their fold-up Murphy bed collapsed.[283]
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.[284][285]
Alexander Litvinenko
23 November 2006 Alexander Litvinenko, 44, a naturalised British citizen, former FSB officer, and defector from Russia, was assassinated by poisoning with polonium-210, which caused acute and irreversible radiation sickness.[286][287] One of just a handful of recorded deaths attributed specifically to polonium exposure,[288] Litvinenko was the first-known fatality from malicious polonium poisoning,[289] and remains the only confirmed such case as of 2023.[288][290]
Humberto Hernandez 21 June 2007 Humberto Hernandez, 24, an Oakland, California, resident, was struck in the back of the head by an airborne fire hydrant when a passing car struck it, and the water pressure shot it at him with great force.[291][292]
Lydia Tsekova 2 February 2008 Bulgarian teacher Lydia Tsekova, with her husband Georgi and colleague Nadezhda Lyubenova, poured chemical waste into a drain cover in Sofia, Bulgaria. The chemicals reacted with the gases in the sewers and caused an explosion. The drain cover decapitated Tsekova, and the blast injured her husband and Lyubenova.[293][294]
Judy Kay Zagorski 20 March 2008 Judy Kay Zagorski, 57, of Pigeon, Michigan, died of blunt force craniocerebral trauma when a 75-pound (34 kg) spotted eagle ray leaped out of the water and knocked her over off of the coast of Marathon Key, Florida. The ray also died.[295][296][297][298]
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 previous endurance records for ballooning, and to 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.[299][300][301]
Isaiah Otieno 13 May 2008 Isaiah Otieno, a Kenyan student studying in Cranbrook, British Columbia, Canada, was struck and killed by a helicopter that plunged into a residential street he was walking in. The pilot and two other passengers of the helicopter were also instantly killed.[302]
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.[303][304]
Unknown (♀) 7 October 2008 A 43-year-old Irish woman died of an anaphylactic allergic reaction after having sex with a German Shepherd.[305] 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.[306] The dog was later destroyed.[307]
Unknown (♂) 3 March 2009 A boy, 14, from Jiaozhou, Shandong, China, was killed when the pneumatic cylinder in his office chair exploded.[308][309]
Diane Durre 3 April 2009 Diane Durre, 49, was killed in North Platte, Nebraska, by a falling Taco Bell sign. The sign was knocked over by high winds, and landed on a pickup truck, killing Diane and injuring her husband, Mark.[310]
Mark Fidrych
13 April 2009 Mark Fidrych, 54, a former Major League Baseball pitcher of the Detroit Tigers, died while working underneath his dump truck. His clothes had become entangled with the power take-off drive shaft, suffocating him.[311]
Taylor Mitchell 28 October 2009 Taylor Mitchell, 19, a 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.[312][313][314]
Larry Ely Murillo-Moncada 28 November 2009 Larry Ely Murillo-Moncada, 25, a supermarket employee from Council Bluffs, Iowa, is believed to have fallen into an 18-inch (460 mm) gap between a cooler and a wall and became trapped. His body was discovered ten years later when the cooler was moved.[315]
Vladimir Likhonos 5 December 2009 Vladimir Likhonos, 25, a student of Kyiv Polytechnic Institute from Konotop, was killed when his chewing gum exploded. Likhonos had a habit of dipping his chewing gum in citric acid to increase the gum's sour taste. On his work table police found about 100 grams (3.5 oz) of unidentified explosive powder which he used for chemistry studies at home. It resembled citric acid, and it is thought that he confused the two, having accidentally coated his gum in the explosive powder before chewing it. The explosive was found to be four times stronger than TNT, and the explosion was possibly triggered either by reacting with Likhonos's saliva, or the pressure exerted by him chewing on the gum and explosive powder.[316][317]


Name of person Image Date of death Details
Muraka Jenny Vearncombe 3 March 2010 Muraka Jenny Vearncombe, 42, was struck in the head by a piece of a metal pipe flung by a tractor-pulled lawnmower as she walked to work in Townsville, Australia.[318][319]
Gareth Williams 16 August 2010 Welsh mathematician and GCHQ spy Gareth Williams, 31, was found dead and naked in a bag that had been padlocked from the outside, in the bath of his home in Central London.[320] The inquest found his death was likely criminal, although a Metropolitan Police investigation later found that it was likely an accident.[321]
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.[322][323][324]
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.[325] 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.[326]
Jose Luis Ochoa 30 January 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.[327][328][329]
Unknown (♂)(♀) 6 June 2011 An unnamed woman from Gatineau, Canada, 25, and an unnamed 40-year-old man from Ottawa were killed in an accident on a rural Quebec road when a "flying bear" collided with their SUV. The 200-kilogram (440 lb) black bear was sent airborne by a car in front of the SUV after it had stepped into the path of traffic on Highway 148. The bear passed through the windshield, hitting the driver and the passenger sitting behind her before passing through the rear window. The driver's boyfriend was in the front passenger seat and received injuries to his upper body which were described as "not life-threatening". The bear also died.[330][331]
Erica Marshall 10 February 2012 Erica Marshall, 28, a British veterinarian in Ocala, Florida, died when the horse she was treating in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber kicked the wall releasing a spark from its horseshoe, causing a fire and explosion. The horse was also killed and another worker, Sorcha Moneley, was seriously injured.[332][333]
Anthony Hensley 14 April 2012 Anthony Hensley, 37, was killed by a swan while kayaking across a pond at a residential complex in Des Plaines, Illinois. After getting too close to the bird's nest, the swan attacked him, threw him out of the kayak and prevented him from surfacing; he ultimately drowned.[334][335]
Elizabeth Nass and Rose Mayr 21 August 2012 Elizabeth Nass and Rose Mayr, both 19, died after more than 20 coal cars (out of 90) from a CSX freight train derailed in Ellicott City, Maryland. They were walking alongside the train tracks late at night. Reports say that the two women were found buried in a pile of coal. The derailment was possibly caused by a broken rail according to the NTSB.[336]
Ilda Vitor Maciel 28 September 2012 Ilda Vitor Maciel, 88, died in a hospital in Barra Mansa, Rio de Janeiro, allegedly as a result of nursing technicians injecting soup through her intravenous drip instead of her feeding tube.[337]
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.[338][339][340][341][342] The homicide case was dismissed, and Kendrick's parents were accused of fabricating evidence. In 2016, they were sentenced to pay more than US$292,000 in legal fees.[343] The case was reopened again in 2021, but closed again in January 2022, with the Lowndes County Sheriff finding his death to be an accident when re-reviewing some 17 boxes of evidence and the Federal Bureau of Investigation's findings.[344][345]
James Campbell 14 January 2013 When James Campbell, 68, left his van to open a gate, his dog stepped on the van's gas pedal and ran him over.[346][347]
Takuya Nagaya 18 January 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".[348]
Elisa Lam February 2013 Elisa Lam, from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, 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.[349]
Jeffery Bush 28 February 2013 Jeffery Bush, 37, from the Tampa area, was killed while he slept in his bedroom when a giant sinkhole measuring 15 feet (4.6 m) wide and 20 feet (6.1 m) deep opened below and swallowed his entire bedroom. His body was never recovered.[350][351]
Roger Mirro 30 July 2013 Roger Mirro was crushed by a trash compactor while looking through a dumpster for his phone.[352][353]
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.[354][355]
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 the cow and de Souza's wife (who was in the bed next to him) were unharmed.[356]
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. The stepson was sentenced to thirty years in prison.[357][358]
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.[359]
Noah Barthe, Connor Barthe 5 August 2013 Brothers Noah and Connor Barthe, aged 4 and 6, were killed by an African rock python during a sleepover at their friend's apartment in New Brunswick, Canada. The snake 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 the snake suffocated them, it did not attempt to eat them.[360][361]
J.R.N. 18 January 2014 A Brazilian man, 52, identified only as J.R.N., attempted to commit bestiality with a sow in Tapurah, Mato Grosso, but was attacked by the animals and wounded in the genitals. He died from a cardiac arrest. His arms and face were also mutilated by the animals. Initially police believed that the man had been murdered and disposed of at the farm, but this was disproven as numerous pieces of evidence showed that the man had drunk alcohol, used a condom and had been wearing only underwear. The man had worked at the farm for two years.[362][363][364][365]
Hitesh Surendra Barot
21 May 2014 Hitesh S. Barot, 39, a bio-engineer and lawyer from UC Berkeley, was swimming in the Narmada River near his ancestral village of Bhalod, Gujrat when he was dragged underwater and drowned by a crocodile. His body was left intact, barring a few scratches, and was recovered within the hour.[366][367][368][369][370][371]
Heval Yıldırım 3 October 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. 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.[372]
Peter Biaksangzuala 19 October 2014 Peter Biaksangzuala, an Indian football player from Mizoram state, died after sustaining spinal cord injuries while awkwardly landing a somersault, celebrating a goal.[373]
Christophe de Margerie
20 October 2014 Christophe de Margerie, an oil executive, was killed when his corporate jet collided during take-off with an airport snowplow reportedly driven by a drunk driver.[374][375]
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.[376][377]
Phillip Hughes
27 November 2014 Phillip Hughes, 25, an Australian Test and ODI cricketer, was killed by a bouncer striking his neck during a cricket match, causing a vertebral artery dissection.[378][379]
Stephen Whinfrey January 2015 Stephen Whinfrey, 50, became trapped and asphyxiated when rabbiting near Doncaster, England, after his head became stuck down a rabbit hole.[380]
Charmayne Maxwell 28 February 2015 Charmayne Maxwell, a member of American R&B group Brownstone, died after falling backward while holding a wine glass. During the fall, the glass shattered on the ground behind her head, and the shards pierced her neck, causing profuse bleeding.[381]
Stephen Woytack 30 March 2015 Stephen Woytack, 74, was decorating his family's grave plot at St. Joseph's Cemetery in Throop, Pennsylvania, for Easter with his wife when the tombstone of his mother-in-law toppled over, pinning him underneath and crushing him to death. The stone had supposedly been dislodged when the previously frozen ground was thawed by the early spring temperatures. Woytack was buried in a plot directly in front of the tombstone that killed him.[382]
Randy Llanes 29 May 2015 Randy Llanes, 47, a fisherman from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, was killed by a swordfish. Llanes had harpooned the fish and jumped into the water to retrieve it, but the swordfish impaled him in the chest.[383][384]
Jaylon Rippy 2 July 2015 Jaylon 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.[385]
Chelsea Ake-Salvacion October 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.[386][387]
Ravi Subramanian 5 December 2015 Ravi Subramanian, an Air India technician, was sucked into an aircraft's jet engine.[388][389]
V. Kamaraj 2016 V. Kamaraj, 40, an Indian bus driver, was claimed by local Indian newspapers to have been killed by a meteorite which left a two-foot (60 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".[390][391][392][393]
Irma Bule 4 April 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.[394][395]
Lottie Michelle Belk 6 June 2016 Lottie Michelle Belk, 55, was fatally stabbed in the chest by a beach umbrella blown by a strong wind in Virginia Beach, Virginia.[396] Wind speeds at the time reached 20–25 miles per hour (32–40 km/h).[397][398]
Lane Graves 14 June 2016 Lane Graves, a 2-year-old boy from Nebraska, was on vacation and playing on the beach in Seven Seas Lagoon about 9pm on 14 June 2016, at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa just outside of Orlando, Florida when an alligator approached and dragged him under the water. Graves's body was found nearby the next day, intact and apparently drowned.[399][400][401]
Anton Yelchin
19 June 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.[402][403] The manufacturer had recalled the car make in April 2016, for concerns about its gearshift design that could cause rollaway incidents, but the software patch to repair the vehicles did not reach dealers until the week of Yelchin's death.[404]
Kristopher Moules and Timothy Gilliam Jr. 18 July 2016 Kristopher Moules, 25, a correctional 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, the door popped open on impact, 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.[405][406]
Unknown (♀) 26 July 2016 A seven-year-old girl died after being struck by a stone thrown by an elephant from its enclosure at the zoo in Rabat, Morocco.[407][408]
Caleb Schwab
7 August 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, US.[409]
Julio Macías González 26 August 2016 Julio Macías González, 17, from Mexico City, died from a cerebrovascular accident caused by embolus formed on a neck hickey.[410][411]
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 died from respiratory failure.[412] 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 small enough to enter people's lungs.[413]
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, when his head was caught in a small space between the rotating and non-rotating sections.[414]
Akbar Salubiro March 2017 Akbar Salubiro, 25, was killed and swallowed by a reticulated python in West Sulawesi, Indonesia, in the first fully confirmed case of a snake swallowing an adult human.[415] A second case happened there the following year, when another reticulated python killed and swallowed a woman in her garden.[416]
Robert Dreyer 10 May 2017 Robert Dreyer, 89, drowned on his birthday after he crashed his car into a fire hydrant and was then swallowed by the sinkhole created by the broken water line which had fed the hydrant.[417]
Debra Bedard 2 June 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.[418]
Rebecca Burger 18 June 2017 Rebecca Burger, 33, a fitness blogger and model, died after a Whipped-cream charger exploded and struck her in the chest. The injury caused her to go into cardiac arrest as a result of commotio cordis.[419]
Jasmine Beever 7 September 2017 Jasmine Beever, 16, of Skegness, England, died of peritonitis brought about by Rapunzel syndrome. She had a long-time habit of chewing and swallowing her own hair (trichophagia) which formed a hairball in her stomach, leading to an infection in her abdomen damaging her vital organs.[420]
Elizabeth Isherwood September 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.[421]
Raildo Matias Santos 22 October 2017 Raildo Matias Santos, 49, drowned in a bucket of water in Jaguaquara, Brazil. Santos, who was 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.[422][423]
Hidr Korkmaz 12 November 2017 Hidr Korkmaz, 42, a Turkish-Dutch drug dealer and informant, died when he threw his fishhook into an electrical cable while fishing somewhere in Eastern Europe. Though he was a witness in the case against Dutch criminal Willem Holleeder, he was not considered a crucial asset by authorities, who treated his death as an accident.[424][425]
Alexander Chechik 27 November 2017 Alexander "Sasha" Chechik, of Labinsk, Russia, sent his friend a photograph of a grenade with the pin pulled out while chatting on the Russian social media service VK. Chechik died shortly after as the grenade in his hand exploded. Police ruled it an accident rather than suicide.[426]
Rajesh Maru 28 January 2018 Rajesh Maru, 32, died at Nair Hospital in Mumbai after carrying a metal oxygen tank into a room housing an MRI scanner. The magnetic field pulled him in with the tank which pinned his hand and released liquid oxygen. He died of pneumothorax from inhaling liquid oxygen.[427][428][429]
Ateef Rafiq 16 March 2018 Ateef Rafiq, 24, died from cardiac arrest in a movie theater in Birmingham, England, while looking for his dropped mobile phone. His head became wedged under the electronic footrest of a seat.[430]
Elaine Herzberg
18 March 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.[431][432]
Kyle Plush 10 April 2018 On 10 April 2018, Kyle Plush, 16, died from asphyxia after becoming trapped in his Honda Odyssey, which was in his school's parking lot in Cincinnati, Ohio, United States. Attempting to reach his tennis equipment, he leaned over the third row of seats into the trunk. When the seats "squashed his chest", he became pinned and later died. During the incident, he called 9-1-1 twice, by using his smartphone's voice assistant. Responding to the calls, the police were not able to find him; he was eventually discovered dead in the vehicle by his father about six hours later.[433]
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.[434][435]
Samen Kondorura 15 June 2018 Samen Kondorura, 40, from the North Toraja district of South Sulawesi, Indonesia, was killed after the coffin of his mother fell on him during her funeral. As is tradition, Kondorura and the other pallbearers were carrying the coffin up a bamboo ladder into a temple, when the ladder collapsed beneath them. As everyone fell off, the coffin hit Kondorura in the head. He died on the way to hospital and was buried next to his mother.[436]
Hildegard Whiting 27 July 2018 Hildegard Whiting, 77, died of suffocation from the carbon dioxide vapors produced by four dry ice coolers in a Dippin' Dots delivery car. The deliveryman's wife had borrowed the car to take Whiting home.[437][438]
Linda Goldbloom 29 August 2018 Linda Goldbloom, 79, died four days after being hit by a foul ball at Dodger Stadium. Her death, the second such fatality in Major League Baseball history, was the first in nearly 50 years.[439]
Sam Ballard October 2018 Sam Ballard, 29, died from angiostrongyliasis after eating a garden slug as a dare eight years earlier.[440]
Unknown (♂) January 2019 An unknown 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 in his body that his heart stopped.[441][442][443] Liquorice contains glycyrrhizinic acid, which along with its metabolite glycyrrhetinic acid interferes with the body's potassium levels by mimicking the hormone aldosterone,[444] resulting in excessive excretion of the nutrient in cases of overconsumption, a condition referred to as pseudohyperaldosteronism.[445]
Salvator Disi 10 January 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.[446]
Margaret Maurer 5 March 2019 On 5 March 2019, Margaret Maurer, 21, a Tulane University fourth-year student from Forest Lake, Minnesota, died at a highway rest stop in Mississippi when she was struck by a pair of tires that came loose from a passing tractor-trailer.[447][448][449]
Darren Hickey 5 April 2019 On 5 April 2019, Darren Hickey, 51, a 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.[450]
Paul McDonald 17 April 2019 Paul McDonald, 47, was attacked and killed by a pet deer, said to be a Wapiti, on his property in north-east Victoria, Australia.[451][452]
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 (250 mm) stainless steel straw entered her left eye socket and pierced her brain.[453][454][455]
Zafer Kuzu 4 July 2019 Zafer Kuzu, 24, of Erzurum, Turkey, attempted to escape a community service sentence for inflicting injury by getting himself hospitalized. He asked a friend to shoot him in the back through two pillows to reduce the shot's power. He was killed and the friend arrested.[456]
Parvat Gala Baria 16 July 2019 Parvat Gala Baria, 70, from Gujarat, India, bit a snake after the snake had bitten him. Both he and the snake died.[457]
Samuela Cirivakayawa 8 September 2019 Samuela Cirivakayawa, 40, a Fijian emigrant to Australia, was killed while working as an arborist at Lindfield in the north of Sydney. When his two co-workers left briefly to ask a motorist to move their car, Cirivakayawa, then working alone, was sucked through a woodchipper.[458] Although Cirivakayawa's ex-wife in Fiji later suggested the incident may have been a complication of depression,[459] a coronial report has not yet been released to the public.
Yulia Sharko 8 September 2019 Yulia Sharko, 21, of Žabinka, Belarus, was celebrating her twenty-first birthday with friends when she tried to pull her two-year-old daughter out through the window of her car. Her daughter activated the window control button, closing the window and strangling Sharko.[460]
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.[461]
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.[462] 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.[463]


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 kilometres (2 mi) away launched a one-ton iron plate into the apartment above him, which caused the ceiling to collapse, killing him.[464]
Cynthia Covert 1 May 2020 Cynthia Covert, 58, was visiting a client for a nail appointment when an American alligator repeatedly pulled her into a pond on Kiawah Island, despite being warned that the alligator had recently killed a deer, commenting "I don't look like a deer". During the attack, she said "I guess I won't do this again" before the reptile began to roll, ultimately drowning Covert.[465][466][467]
Yohanis Budi Santoso 11 June 2020 Yohanis Budi Santoso, 21, was strangled in the middle of the road while riding his motorcycle in Surakarta, Indonesia. A 5-metre (16 ft) long, very thin glass kite line that had been stuck on a nearby electrical pole struck his neck and cut his carotid artery. He managed to get up and untangle himself. He was brought to hospital by a passer-by but later pronounced dead on arrival of exsanguination.[468]
Agus Syaiful Rochmad 20 October 2020 Agus Syaiful Rochmad, 58, died while he was jogging around his neighbourhood in Trenggalek, Indonesia. A homemade kite spool made of a block of wood slipped and catapulted from a child's hand during an attempt to retrieve a stuck kite, hitting Rochmad's right temple and killing him instantly.[469]
Luke Ramone Harper 2 April 2021 Luke Ramone Harper, 8, of Ringsend, Dublin, Ireland, died after inhaling helium from a balloon that he placed over his head. The balloon had been bought for his birthday a week prior.[470]
Unknown (♂)
May 2021 The body of a 39-year-old man was found wedged inside the hind leg of 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 headfirst 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.[471][472]
Eleanor Skerritt 24 July 2021 Eleanor Skerritt (50) from Margam, Wales, accidentally became stuck in a decking well after apparently slipping or losing her balance while cleaning. Her "loose and ill-fitting" footwear left her "unable to regain her footing" after losing her balance. Her autopsy revealed she died of "positional asphyxia" and "died through misfortune" according to the coroner.[473]
Salman Mirza August 2021 Salman Mirza, an Indian man in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, died after using epoxy resin as a contraceptive instead of a condom, while intoxicated from using the same resin as an inhalant. The man was found unconscious outside a hotel the following morning, but died of multiple organ failure after being hospitalised.[474]
Tony Eyles 9 September 2021 Tony Eyles, 42, died at a McDonald's drive-through in Vancouver, Canada, after partially opening his car door to retrieve a dropped payment card. His car rolled forward and collided with the restaurant's structure, pinning him between the car door and the vehicle's frame. Despite attempts to revive the victim, he died on scene.[475][476]
Halyna Hutchins 21 October 2021 Halyna Hutchins, 42, a cinematographer, was working near La Cienega, New Mexico, on the set of the Western film Rust, when actor Alec Baldwin discharged a Pietta .45 Colt revolver[477] used as a prop, fatally wounding her and injuring the film's director. She died later that day in flight to the hospital in Albuquerque.[478][479]
Unknown (♂) 31 October 2021 A 30-year-old Brazilian man was fishing with two friends at a lake in Brasilândia de Minas, Brazil, when the group was attacked by bees. He and his friends jumped into the lake to escape the bees, but the man drowned and was partially eaten by piranhas; his friends survived.[480]
Thomas Anthony Mansfield 5 January 2022 Thomas Anthony Mansfield, a 29-year-old personal trainer from Colwyn Bay, Wales, died after consuming a drink with too much caffeine powder. Mansfield's scale, which he was using to measure the powder, could only weigh between 2,000 milligrams (2.0 g) and 5,000 milligrams (5.0 g), causing him to miscalculate and ingest an equivalent of two hundred cups of coffee. Shortly after consuming the drink, he reportedly complained that his heart was beating too fast and began foaming at the mouth minutes later. Paramedics could not save him.[481][482]
Teddy Balkind 6 January 2022 Benjamin Edward "Teddy" Balkind, age 16, was a high school student from Connecticut who died after suffering an injury to his neck during a junior varsity ice hockey game. A hockey player for St. Luke's School, Balkind died after he fell during a game and was accidentally hit by another player, who was unable to stop in time. The other player's skate blade cut Balkind's neck, and he died following an emergency operation.[483][484]
Laila Zahrul Maisaroh 14 January 2022 Laila Zahrul Maisaroh, a 20-year-old late pregnant Indonesian woman in Banjarmasin, was killed instantly when a concrete barrier from an elevated parking lot fell onto her. A car in the parking lot lost its control when maneuvering and collided with the fragile barrier.[485][486]
Unknown (♂) 20 February 2022 A 28-year-old man in Rancho Bernardo, San Diego, California is believed to have been using a knife to mix protein powder into a container of water while driving. The man lost control and crashed into a parked car. When he struck the parked car, his car's airbag propelled the knife into his neck, fatally injuring him. In addition to the two vehicles, four other cars were involved in the accident, with the stabbed man being the only casualty.[487]
Jean Langam 4 March 2022 Jean Langam, an 87-year-old British woman, died after being blown over by an HM Coast Guard helicopter landing at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth, UK. According to the police, while the woman was on a nearby footpath of the landing site, the downdraft caused her to be blown over, suffering a fatal head injury from striking the pavement. Another woman, also in her 80s, was injured after her car door was blown shut during the incident.[488][489]
Klil Kimhi 21 July 2022 32-year-old Klil Kimhi died after he was sucked to his death when a sinkhole opened under a swimming pool he was in at a house party in Israel.[490]
Unknown (♂) 7 August 2022 A 65-year-old man was hit in the head by a hammer throw used at a Highland games event in the Netherlands. The thrower lost his balance and the hammer, a metal ball with a stick attached to it, flew over a hedge and struck the man in the head, killing him instantly.[491]
Lloyd and Lillian Curtis 19 January 2023 72-year-old Lillian Curtis died after a Denny's restaurant sign fell on a car she was in with her daughter and husband.[492] Her husband, Lloyd Curtis, died as a result of his injuries a few days later.[493]
Joseph Austin Smith 21 January 2023 Joseph Austin Smith, 30, of Wichita, Kansas, was killed in his pickup truck during a hunting trip, when his dog discharged a rifle from the back seat. Smith was sitting in the front passenger seat of his vehicle when his dog "stepped on the rifle", which pulled the trigger and shot Smith.[494]

Animal deaths

This section is for the deaths of animals, for whom there are several sources mentioning the deaths as unusual.

Name of animal Image Date of death Details
Three cows, three sheep, two sows 1662 Cotton Mather writes how one William Potter was hanged for bestiality, as were the animals involved.[495][496]
Topsy the elephant
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.[497]
Mary the elephant
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.[498][499]
Unnamed cow January 1932 In January 1932, the Townsville Daily Bulletin, an Australian newspaper, reported an incident where a dairy cow was partially blown up and killed on a farm at Kennedy Creek (near Cardwell, North Queensland). The cow had reputedly picked up a detonator in her mouth while grazing in a paddock. This was only triggered later, when the cow began to chew her cud, at a time when she was in the process of being milked. The cow had its head blown off by the resulting explosion, and the farmer milking the cow was knocked unconscious.[500]
Unnamed sparrow 3 July 1936 In what has been described as the most famous incident of its kind,[501] cricketer Jahangir Khan hit a sparrow with a ball while playing against Marylebone Cricket Club at Lord's. The animal was taxidermied after the incident, and mounted with the ball that killed it before being placed on display at Lord's.[502]
Unnamed cow 22 May 1957 In New Mexico approximately 4.5 mi (7.2 km) south of Kirtland Air Force Base, a grazing cow was killed by a Mark 17 hydrogen bomb accidentally jettisoned from a USAF B-36 strategic bomber aircraft. The bomb was not equipped with components necessary for nuclear detonation at the time, but the conventional high explosives in the bomb detonated on impact killing the cow and causing a crater about 12 ft (3.7 m) deep and 25 ft (7.6 m) wide. The US Air Force paid the rancher compensation for the loss of his cow.[503]
Unnamed swallow 23 November 1969 During a Sheffield Shield cricket match between Western Australia and South Australia in the 1969-70 season, a ball bowled by South Australian Greg Chappell struck a swooping swallow. Batsman John Inverarity described the ball to "change direction mid-air" before hitting his wicket. Inverarity was given out and the next batsman was about to take the crease but the swallow was found dead behind the stumps. The umpire signalled the ball dead and Inverarity was called back to bat. He went on to make 89 runs in the innings. The bird is now stuffed and rests inside the Adelaide Oval Museum.[504]
Unnamed deer August 1987 Stefan Johansson hit a deer with his McLaren MP4/3 after it wandered onto the circuit during Friday practice for the Austrian Grand Prix. The terrified deer was crossing the track to seek refuge from the noise of the cars when it was struck by Johansson traveling at close to 140 mph (230 km/h), killing it instantly.[505][506] Johansson survived.
Unnamed dove 24 March 2001 During a Major League Baseball spring training game, pitcher Randy Johnson threw a fastball just as a bird flew through the pitch's path. The bird was killed instantly.[507][508]
Unnamed bird 24 January 2002 During a Tennis doubles match at the Australian Open, a powerfully struck forehand by French player Michael Llodra hit a small bird that crossed the path of the ball. In response, the players threw down their racquets and knelt down around the bird, in an impromptu funeral. The ceremony had to be ended by a court official, who asked the players to resume the match.[501][509]
Unnamed pigeon 29 May 2009 During a Twenty20 cricket match at Headingley Cricket Ground, Leeds, England, between Yorkshire and Lancashire, Jacques Rudolph of Yorkshire fielded a ball close to the midwicket boundary and threw it to the wicket keeper. The return throw struck and killed a pigeon in flight across the ground.[510][511]
Alan the dachshund January 2013 Alan, Tatler magazine's "office dog," saw a man approaching the Vogue House, London, revolving doors, and walked after the man. As Alan tried to rush through the revolving doors, his neck got caught in it, also getting the male worker stuck in the door. Two fire engines rushed to the scene, where they freed the man, but could not free Alan, who died at the scene.[512][513]

See also



  1. Hoff, Ursula (1937). "Meditation in Solitude". Journal of the Warburg Institute. 1 (44): 292–294. doi:10.2307/749994. JSTOR 749994. S2CID 192234608.
  2. Suidas. "Δράκων Archived 3 November 2015 at the Wayback Machine", Suda On Line, Adler number delta, 1495.
  3. Felton, Bruce; Fowler, Mark (1985). "Most Unusual Death". Felton & Fowler's Best, Worst, and Most Unusual. Random House. p. 161. ISBN 978-0-517-46297-3.
  4. Murray, Alexander (2007). [h Suicide in the Middle Ages: Volume 2: The Curse on Self-Murder]. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. p. 128. ISBN 978-0-19-820731-3 via Google Books.
  5. McGlew, James F. (1993). Tyranny and Political Culture in Ancient Greece. Ithaca, New York and London, England: Cornell University Press. pp. 108–109. ISBN 978-0-8014-8387-5 via Google Books.
  6. Groebner, Valentin (2002) [2000]. Carras, Ruth Mazo; Peters, Edward (eds.). Liquid Assets, Dangerous Gifts: Presents and Politics at the End of the Middle Ages. The Middle Ages Series. Translated by Selwyn, Pamela E. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 131. ISBN 978-0-8122-3650-7 via Google Books.
  7. Matlock, Brett; Matlock, Jesse (2011). The Salt Lake Loonie. University of Regina Press. p. 81.
  8. Gardiner, EN (1906). "The Journal of Hellenic Studies". Nature. 124 (3117): 121. Bibcode:1929Natur.124..121.. doi:10.1038/124121a0. S2CID 4090345. Fatal accidents did occur as in the case of Arrhichion, but they were very rare...
  9. Copeland, Cody (10 February 2021). "The Bizarre Death Of Milo Of Croton". Retrieved 3 January 2022. Milo of Croton's death was bizarre, but fitting
  10. Marvin, Frederic Rowland (1900). The Last Words (Real and Traditional) of Distinguished Men and Women. Troy, New York: C. A. Brewster & Co. Retrieved 5 January 2022 via Google Books. To some of the most distinguished of our race death has come in the strangest possible way, and so grotesquely as to subtract greatly from the dignity of the sorrow it must certainly have occasioned.
  11. Bark, Julianna (2007–2008). "The Spectacular Self: Jean-Etienne Liotard's Self-Portrait Laughing".
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Works cited

  • Weeks, David; Gorman, Robert (2015). "15: Fans". Death at the Ballpark: More Than 2,000 Game-Related Fatalities of Players, Other Personnel and Spectators in Amateur and Professional Baseball, 1862–2014 (2nd ed.). McFarland. ISBN 9780786479320. Retrieved 30 September 2022.

Further reading

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