The death of Aeschylus, killed by a turtle dropped onto his head by a falcon, illustrated in the 15th-century Florentine Picture-Chronicle by Baccio Baldini[1]

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


Many of these stories are likely to be apocryphal.

Name of person Image Date of death Details
c. 3200 BC According to Manetho, the Egyptian pharaoh and unifier of Upper and Lower Egypt was carried off and then killed by a hippopotamus.[2][3]
Draco of Athens c. 620 BC The 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.[4][5]
c. 612 BC According to Diodorus Siculus, the Greek lawgiver from Sicily 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.[6][7][8]
Arrhichion of Phigalia
564 BC The 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.[9][10]
Duke Jing of Jin 581 BC In 581 BC a shaman warned the ruler that he would not live to see the new wheat harvest. The ruler dismissed him and had the shaman murdered. However, when the Duke was about to eat the wheat, he felt the need to visit the bathroom. Upon arriving in the bathroom, the Duke fell through the hole and drowned.[11]
Milo of Croton
6th century BC The Olympic champion wrestler's hands reportedly became trapped when he tried to split a tree apart; he was then devoured by wolves (or, in later versions, lions).[12]
5th century BC The Greek painter died of laughter while painting an elderly woman.[13][14]
Pythagoras of Samos
c. 495 BC Ancient sources disagree on how the Greek philosopher died,[15][16] 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.[16][17] 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.[16]
c. 485 BC The 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".[13]: 104 [18]
Heraclitus of Ephesus
c. 475 BC According to one account given by Diogenes Laertius, the Greek philosopher was said to have been devoured by dogs after smearing himself with cow manure in an attempt to cure his dropsy.[19][20]
c. 459 BC The Athenian general who won the Battle of Salamis actually died of natural causes in exile,[21][22] but was widely rumored to have committed suicide by drinking a solution of crushed minerals known as bull's blood.[21][22][23][24] 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.[22][25]
c. 455 BC According to Valerius Maximus, 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 the Elder, 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".[13]: 104 [26][27][28]
Empedocles of Akragas
c. 430 BC According to Diogenes Laertius, the Pre-Socratic philosopher from Sicily, who, in one of his surviving poems, declared himself to have become a "divine being... no longer mortal",[29] tried to prove he was an immortal god by leaping into Mount Etna, an active volcano.[30][31] The Roman poet Horace also alludes to this legend.[32]
c. 406 BC A number of "remarkable" legends concerning the death of 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 successful. 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.[28]
Mithridates 401 BC The 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.[33][34]
Democritus of Abdera
c. 370 BC According to Diogenes Laertius, the Greek Atomist philosopher died aged 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.[35][36]
320 BC According to Diogenes Laertius, Anaxarchus gained the enmity of the tyrannical ruler of Cyprus, Nicocreon, for an inappropriate joke he made about tyrants at a banquet in 331 BC. When Anaxarchus visited Cyprus, Nicocreon ordered him to be pounded to death in a mortar. During the torture Anaxarchus said to Nicocreon, "Just pound the bag of Anaxarchus, you do not pound Anaxarchus." Nicocreon then threatened to cut his tongue out; Anaxarchus bit it off and spat it at the ruler's face.[37][38]
Diogenes of Sinope
c. 323 BC According to 3rd century biographer, Diogenes Laërtius, he died by consuming raw octopus. His contemporaries, however, claimed he died by holding his breath.[39]
Antiphanes c. 310 BC According to the Suda, the renowned comic poet of the Middle Attic comedy died after being struck by a pear.[40][41]
Agathocles of Syracuse
289 BC The Greek tyrant of Syracuse was murdered with a poisoned toothpick.[13]: 104 [42]
Pyrrhus of Epirus
272 BC During the Battle of Argos, Pyrrhus was fighting a Macedonian soldier in the street when the elderly mother of the soldier dropped a roof tile onto Pyrrhus' head, breaking his spine and rendering him paralyzed. According to a soldier named Zopyrus, they then proceeded to decapitate the king.[43]
Philitas of Cos
c. 270 BC The Greek intellectual is said by Athenaeus to have studied arguments and erroneous word usage so intensely that he wasted away and starved to death.[44] British classicist Alan Cameron speculates that Philitas died from a wasting disease which his contemporaries joked was caused by his pedantry.[45]
Zeno of Citium
c. 262 BC The Greek philosopher from Citium (Kition), Cyprus, tripped and fell as he was leaving the school, 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.[46]
Qin Shi Huang
August 210 BC 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.[47][48][49]
Chrysippus of Soli
c. 206 BC One ancient account of the death of the third-century BC Greek Stoic philosopher tells that he died laughing at his own joke[50] 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).[51]
Eleazar Avaran
c. 163 BC The brother of Judas Maccabeus; according to 1 Maccabees 6:46, during the Battle of Beth Zechariah, Eleazar spied an armored war elephant which he believed to be carrying the Seleucid emperor Antiochus V Eupator. After thrusting his spear in battle into its belly, it collapsed and fell on top of Eleazar, killing him instantly.[52]
Manius Aquillius and Marcus Licinius Crassus
1st Century BC The late Roman Republic-era consul was sent as ambassador to Asia Minor in 90 BC to restore Nicomedes IV of Bithynia to his kingdom after the latter was expelled by Mithridates VI of Pontus. But Aquillius encouraged Nicomedes to raid part of Mithridates' territory, which started the First Mithridatic War. Aquillius was captured and brought to Mithridates, who in 88 BC had him executed by pouring molten gold down his throat. According to one story, Marcus Licinius Crassus, a Roman general and statesman, who was very greedy despite being called "the richest man in Rome," was executed in the same manner by the Parthians after they defeated him in the Battle of Carrhae in 53 BC, in symbolic mockery of his thirst for wealth. However, it has been disputed as to whether this is how Crassus met his end.[53]
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.[54] Modern historians find this tale implausible.[55]
Claudius Drusus
c. 20 AD According to Suetonius, 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.[56]
16 March 37 The Roman emperor died in Misenum aged 78. 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.[57]
Simon Peter
Between 64 and 68 AD The 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.[58][59]
Simon the Zealot
1st century AD According to an ancient tradition, the apostle of Jesus, was sawn in half in Persia.[60]
Saint Lawrence
258 The deacon was roasted alive on a giant grill during the persecution of Valerian.[61][62] Prudentius tells that he joked with his tormentors, "Turn me over—I'm done on this side".[63] He is now the patron saint of cooks, chefs, and comedians.[64]
Marcus of Arethusa
362 The Christian bishop and martyr was hung up in a honey-smeared basket for bees to sting him to death.[13]: 104 
Valentinian I
17 November 375 The Roman emperor suffered a stroke which was provoked by yelling at foreign envoys in anger.[65]

Middle Ages

Name of person Image Date of death Details
Constans II
15 July 668 The Byzantine Emperor was assassinated with a bucket according to Theophilus of Edessa.[66]
Li Bai 30 November 762 The famous Chinese poet of the 8th century died drunk after embracing the Moon. While riding his boat along the Yangtze River, he saw the reflection of the Moon in the water. When he tried to hug it, he fell off his boat and later drowned.[67]
Ragnar Lodbrok
c. 865 The 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.[68]
Louis III of France
5 August 882 The 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.[69]
Basil I
29 August 886 The Byzantine emperor's belt was entangled between antlers of a deer during a hunt and the animal subsequently dragged him for 16 miles (26 km) through the woods. Because of this accident, Basil contracted fever and he died shortly afterwards.[70]
Sigurd the Mighty
of Orkney
892 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.[71]
Edmund Ironside
30 November 1016 The English king was allegedly stabbed whilst on a toilet by an assassin hiding underneath.[72]
Béla I of Hungary
11 September 1063 After the Holy Roman Empire decided to launch a military expedition against Hungary to restore young Solomon to the throne, the Hungarian king was seriously injured when "his throne broke beneath him" in his manor at Dömös.[73] 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.[74][75]
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.[76]
Henry I of England
1 December 1135 While visiting relatives, he supposedly ate too many lampreys against his physician's advice, causing a pain in his gut, and ultimately his death.[77]
John II Komnenos
1 April 1143 Cut himself with a poisoned arrow during a boar hunt, and subsequently died from an infection.[78]
Victims of the Erfurt latrine disaster
26 July 1184 While Henry VI, the King of Germany, was holding an informal assembly at the Petersburg Citadel in Erfurt, the combined weight of the assembled nobles caused the wooden second story floor of the building to collapse. Most of the nobles fell through into the latrine cesspit below the ground floor, where about 60 of them drowned in liquid excrement.[79]
Henry I of Castile
6 June 1217 The 13-year-old king of Castile was killed by a tile that fell from a roof.[80]
20 February 1258 The last Abbasid Caliph of Baghdad, was executed by his Mongol captors by being rolled up in a rug and then trampled by horses.[81]
Edward II of England
21 September 1327 The English king 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.[82][83] 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.[84]
John of Bohemia
26 August 1346 After being blind for 10 years, the Bohemian king 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.[85][86]
Charles II of Navarre
1 January 1387 The contemporary chronicler Froissart relates that the king 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.[87][88][89]
Martin of Aragon
31 May 1410 The Aragonese king died from a combination of indigestion and uncontrollable laughing. According to legend, Martin was suffering from indigestion, caused by 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.[90][91]


Name of person Image Date of death Details
George Plantagenet, Duke of Clarence
18 February 1478 The 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.[92]
Charles VIII of France
7 April 1498 The French king 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.[13]: 105 
Victims of the 1518 dancing plague
July 1518 Several people died of either heart attacks, strokes or exhaustion during a dancing mania that occurred in Strasbourg, Alsace (Holy Roman Empire).[93][94]
Robert Pakington 13 November 1536 The 47-year-old merchant was killed in London by a wheellock pistol, making his death the first political assassination performed by a firearm.[95]
Pietro Aretino
21 October 1556 The influential Italian author and libertine 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.[96]
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 the French king's 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, Henry, wearing the colors of his mistress Diane de Poitiers,[97] was wounded in the eye by a fragment of the splintered lance of Gabriel Montgomery, captain of the King's Scottish Guard.[98] Despite the efforts of royal surgeons Ambroise Paré and Andreas Vesalius, the court doctors ultimately "advocated a wait-and-see strategy";[99] as a result, the king's untreated eye and brain damage led to his death by sepsis ten days later.[100] His death played a significant role in the decline of jousting as a sport, particularly in France.[101]
Hans Staininger
1567 The burgomaster of Braunau (then Bavaria, now Austria), died when he broke his neck by tripping over his own beard.[102] The beard, which was 4.5 feet (1.4 m) long at the time, was usually kept rolled up in a leather pouch.[103]
Marco Antonio Bragadin
17 August 1571 The Venetian Captain-General of Famagusta in Cyprus, was gruesomely killed after the Ottomans took over the city. He was dragged around 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.[104] 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 taken 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.[105]
Tycho Brahe
24 October 1601 The astronomer contracted a bladder or kidney ailment after attending a banquet in Prague, and died eleven days later. According to Johannes Kepler's first-hand account, Brahe had refused to leave the banquet to relieve himself, because it would have been a breach of etiquette.[106][107] After he had returned home, he was no longer able to urinate, except eventually in very small quantities and with excruciating pain.[108] 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.[109][110]

Early modern period

Name of person Image Date of death Details
Safi of Persia
1642 The Safavid ruler of Iran allegedly died due to alcohol intoxication in a drinking contest against a Georgian nobleman, Scedan Chiladze, invited from Mingrelia.[111]
Thomas Urquhart
1660 The 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.[112][113]
James Betts 1667 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.[114][115]
François Vatel
24 April 1671 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.[116]
17 February 1673[117] The French playwright suffered a pulmonary hemorrhage caused by tuberculosis while playing the part of a hypochondriac in his own play Le malade imaginaire.[117][118] He disguised his convulsion as part of his performance and finished out the show,[117] which ends with his character dead in a chair. After the show, he was carried in the chair to his house, where he died.[117][119][118]
Bhai Mati Das
Bhai Sati Das
Bhai Dayala
1675 The trio 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,[120] while his younger brother Bhai Sati Das was wrapped in cotton wool soaked in oil and set on fire,[121] and Bhai Dayala was boiled in a cauldron full of water and roasted over a block of charcoal.[122]
Thomas Otway
14 April 1685 The English dramatist fell on hard times and was suffering from poverty in his later years, and was driven by starvation to beg for food. A gentleman who recognized him gave him a guinea, with which he hastened to a baker's shop, purchased a roll, and choked to death on the first mouthful.[123]
Jean-Baptiste Lully
22 March 1687 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.[124] He refused to have his leg amputated so he could still dance.[125]
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.[13]: 105 [126]
Henry Hall 8 December 1755 The 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.[127][128]
Col. Francis Barber
2 February 1783 The 32-year-old colonel was killed when a tree fell on top of him as he was riding his horse to dine with George Washington[129] in Newburgh, New York.[130]

19th century

Name of person Image Date of death Details
John Cummings March 1809 After seeing a circus knife-swallower, seaman John 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.[131]
Victims of the London Beer Flood
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 destroying 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.[132]
William Snyder 11 January 1854 The 13-year old died in San Francisco, California, reportedly after a circus clown swung him around by his heels.[133]
Mathilda of Austria
6 June 1867 The 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.[134][135]
Clement Vallandigham
17 June 1871 The 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.[136][137]
Henry Taylor November 1872 The 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".[138]
Queen Sunanda Kumariratana
31 May 1880 The 19-year-old queen consort of King Rama V of Siam died when her boat flipped over. A large crowd formed but none of them could help because touching the queen was a capital offense.[139]
Sir William Payne-Gallwey, 2nd Baronet 19 December 1881 The former British MP died after sustaining severe internal injuries when he fell on a turnip while hunting.[140][141]
Allan Pinkerton
1 July 1884 The founder of the Pinkerton Detective Agency tripped on the pavement and severely bit his tongue, which became infected with gangrene.[142]
Unknown Iraqi male 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. His death is considered the only credible case of death-by-meteorite.[143]
James Joseph Stumbo 22 February 1890 A 7-year-old child from Montana fell into the Hot Springs of Yellowstone National Park. He was the first recorded person to die at Yellowstone.[144]
Bridget Driscoll
17 August 1896 The 44-year-old, the first recorded case of a pedestrian killed in a collision with a motor car in Great Britain,[145][146] 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.[146]
Empress Elisabeth of Austria
10 September 1898 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.[147][148]

20th century


Name of person Image Date of death Details
Victims of the Thanksgiving Day Disaster
29 November 1900 During the 1900 The Big Game American football match between the California Golden Bears and the Stanford Cardinal in San Francisco, a large crowd of people who did not want to pay the $1 (equivalent to $37 in 2023) admission fee gathered upon the roof of a glass blowing factory to watch for free. The roof collapsed, spilling many spectators onto a furnace. Of the hundreds of people on the roof, at least 100 people fell four stories to the factory floor. 60 to 100 more people fell directly on top of the furnace, the surface temperature of which was estimated to be around 500 °F (260 °C). Fuel pipes were severed as a result of the roof collapse, spraying many victims with scalding hot oil. The fuel also ignited, setting many bodies on fire.[149] Twenty-three people were killed, and over 100 more were injured. The disaster remains the deadliest accident at a sporting event in U.S. history.[150]
Adelbert S. Hay
23 June 1901 The 24-year-old American consul and politician died after falling 60 feet (18 m) from a window in the New Haven House in New Haven, Connecticut. The San Francisco Call speculated that Hay had been sitting on the window for air and eventually fell asleep, causing him to fall to his death.[151]
R. Stanton Walker 25 October 1902 The 20-year-old 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.[152]
Unknown Hawaiian male Early 1903 An unidentified person was beaten to death with a Bible during a healing ceremony gone wrong in Honolulu, Hawai'i.[153] 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;[154] the Kahuna was charged with manslaughter.[155]
Ed Delahanty 2 July 1903 The American baseball player for the Phillies died after being removed from a train while drunk, falling off of International Bridge, and going over Niagara Falls. Delahanty reportedly downed five shots of whiskey, broke into a fire axe case, attempted to shove over a partition, and allegedly grabbed a woman's ankles and tried to pull her out of her berth. He may also have threatened other passengers with razor blades. The conductor removed him from the train and asked him to calm down because he was still in Canada, to which he allegedly shouted, "I don't care if I'm in Canada or dead!" He later encountered and may have scuffled with Sam Kingston, a local night watchman, after which he went into the river and over the Falls. Kingston's account of the incident was spotty and inconsistent; it is unclear whether he was intentionally pushed, accidentally fell, or decided to jump.[156]
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, the Canadian journalist walked through the wrong door in the store and fell 10 feet (3.0 m) down an elevator shaft. He died of his injuries 12 days later.[157]
John Mortensen 1 May 1904 The 19-year-old duck hunter from Wairoa, New Zealand, drowned in about 6 inches (15 cm) of water on the Whare-o-Maraenui reserve in Napier, New Zealand, apparently having fallen while having a seizure.[158]
Melissa M. Tiemann 7 July 1904 The 50-year-old resident of Los Angeles 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.[159]
Dietrich von Hülsen-Haeseler
14 November 1908 The Chief of the German Imperial Military Cabinet suffered a heart attack and died aged 56 after giving a ballet performance to Kaiser Wilhelm Il and other members of a hunting party staying at Donaueschingen Palace. Shortly after ending his recital with a bow, he collapsed and was pronounced dead at the scene.[160][161] The circumstances of his death were covered up by military officials so as not to further inflame public outrage over the Eulenburg affair, a government scandal dealing with accusations of homosexual behavior against members of the Kaiser's cabinet and entourage.[162]
George Spencer Millet
A black-and-white photograph of George Millet.
15 February 1909 The 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.[163][164]
Doc Powers
26 April 1909 The 38-year-old American Major League Baseball player ran into a wall while chasing a foul ball during a game at Philadelphia's Shibe Park, on 12 April 1909. He died from internal injuries two weeks later.[165]
Franz Reichelt
4 February 1912 The 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". He was known as the Flying Tailor.[166]
Julian Carlton 7 October 1914 The servant to American architect Frank Lloyd Wright, committed a mass murder spree on 15 August 1914, at Wright's Taliesin studio, during which he killed seven 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 47 days later.[167][168]
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.[169] 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.[170]
Victims of the Great Molasses Flood
15 January 1919 21 people were killed and 150 injured after a large tank of molasses burst in Boston's North End.[171][172]
Ray Chapman
17 August 1920 On 16 August 1920, while he was up to bat, the 29-year-old Cleveland Indians baseball player was struck in the head by a pitch thrown by New York Yankees' Carl Mays and died 12 hours later.[173]
Alexander of Greece
25 October 1920 The 27-year old Greek king 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.[174]
Thomas Lynn Bradford
5 February 1921 In an attempt to ascertain the existence of an afterlife, the spiritualist, committed suicide by sealing his Detroit apartment, blowing out the pilot of his heater, and turning on the gas, dying of carbon monoxide poisoning. Bradford had intended to communicate his findings to fellow spiritualist Ruth Starkweather Doran, but some weeks after his death, The New York Times ran the article "Dead Spiritualist Silent".
George Herbert, 5th Earl of Carnarvon
5 April 1923 The financier of 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.[175][176]
Frank Hayes
Portrait of Frank Hayes
4 June 1923 The 22-year-old jockey from 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.[177][178][179]
Martha Mansfield
30 November 1923 While the 24-year-old American film actress 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.[180][181]
Thornton Jones 1924 The lawyer from 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.[182] An inquest at Bangor delivered a verdict of "suicide while temporarily insane".[183]
Calvin Coolidge Jr.
7 July 1924 The 16-year-old younger son of Calvin Coolidge played tennis with his elder brother at the White House tennis courts, and neglected to wear socks. A blister on the third toe of his right foot resulted which quickly became infected, and he died just over one week later when sepsis set in.[184]
Bobby Leach
26 April 1926 The American stunt performer died after a botched amputation of the infected leg which he had broken after slipping on an orange peel. He had gone over Niagara Falls in a barrel fifteen years earlier.[185]
Phillip McClean 1926 The 16-year-old and his brother were clubbing a cassowary on the family property in Mossman, Queensland,[186] when it knocked him down, kicked him in the neck, and opened a large cut, leading to death from loss of blood.[187]
Isadora Duncan
14 September 1927 The 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.[188]
Arnold Bennett
27 March 1931 The British novelist was dining in Paris with his partner, Dorothy. He drank two glasses of tap water during the meal, scoffing at Dorothy's claims that the water in Paris was not properly treated to be safe to drink. Within two days, he contracted typhoid fever and died two months later.[189][190][191]
Eben Byers
31 March 1932 The American socialite and industrialist died after drinking excessive quantities of radium. He had developed persistent pain after a fall in 1927, for which he was prescribed Radithor, a patent medicine that contained 1 microcurie each of isotopes 226Ra and 228Ra. He drank a total of around 1400 doses, which concentrated in his bones, continually irradiating him. By 1931, his bones were reportedly disintegrating and his jaw had been removed; he died the next year.[192]
Mary Emma Busch James 2 May 1936 The wife of the Los Angeles barber Robert James died from drowning in a fishing pond after being bound and thrust into a den of rattlesnakes. The Los Angeles Police Department later arrested a 38-year-old night manager of a nearby night club, who said that he was the one who bought the snakes from a Pasadena farm and took them to James's La Crescenta home.[193]
Fred Clapp 28 May 1937 A 77-year-old farmer from Clark County, South Dakota died after being dragged by a bundle of horses while being tied to the harness.[194]
Nicholas Comper 17 June 1939 The 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.[195]
Sherwood Anderson
8 March 1941 The American writer died of peritonitis after accidentally swallowing a toothpick.[196]
Clarence Stagemyer 29 September 1943 The 32-year-old 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.[197]
Thomas Midgley Jr. 2 November 1944 In 1940, the 51-year-old 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.[198][199][200]
Thomas Mantell
7 January 1948 The P-51 Mustang fighter pilot crashed while in pursuit of an unidentified flying object near 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 US Navy Skyhook balloon.[201]
Mary Reeser
2 July 1951 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.[202]
Margaret Wise Brown
13 November 1952 The 42-year-old author of Goodnight Moon was hospitalized 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.[203][204]
Gareth Jones 30 November 1958 The British actor died of a heart attack between scenes of a live television play, Underground on the ITV network. 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.[205][206]


Name of person Image Date of death Details
Clarence Hudson 18 August 1960 A 66-year-old department store janitor was electrocuted by a homemade electric chair in his Wenatchee, Washington apartment. Police reported that he had a wet towel at his feet and his head, and quarters at his temples that were connected by wire to a home-made transformer, which increased the voltage from a wall outlet to an estimated 1,000 volts.[207]
John A. Byrnes, Richard Leroy McKinley, and Richard C. Legg
3 January 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, Byrnes, an army specialist, 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 Legg, a navy electrician's mate, 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 of severe burns. 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.[208][209][210][211][212][213]
Nick Piantanida
29 August 1966 The 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.[214][215]
Echol Cole and Robert Walker 1 February 1968 The two Memphis, Tennessee garbage collectors were crushed to death after the trash compactor of their garbage truck malfunctioned while they were taking refuge inside the back of the truck during a rainstorm. They were not allowed to take shelter inside a building due to segregation laws. As a result of their deaths, sanitation workers in Memphis went on strike. During the strike, Martin Luther King Jr., who had come to Memphis to support the striking workers, was assassinated.[216]


Name of person Image Date of death Details
Alan Fish 20 May 1970 The 14-year-old was struck in the head by a Manny Mota foul ball on 16 May while watching the Los Angeles Dodgers play against the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium, and was 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. The Giants ended up winning the game 5–4. 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.[217]
Georgy Dobrovolsky, Vladislav Volkov, and Viktor Patsayev
29 June 1971 The Soviet cosmonauts died when their Soyuz 11 spacecraft depressurized during preparations for re-entry. They are the only reported human deaths outside the Earth's atmosphere.[218]
Basil Brown 1974 The 48-year old health food advocate from Croydon, England, died from liver damage after he consumed 70 million units of Vitamin A and around 10 US gallons (38 litres) of carrot juice over ten days, turning his skin bright yellow.[219][220][221]
Peter Kelly 27 August 1974 The British commercial diver died of anoxia due to pure helium being fed through his breathing mask during a bell dive in the Norwegian Sector of the North Sea. The other diver in the bell pulled off his mask before losing consciousness and survived.[222][223]
Alex Mitchell 1975 After watching the "Kung Fu Kapers" episode of The Goodies, the resident 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.[224][225][226][227]
Tina Christopherson 1977 Died after drinking 4 US gallons (15 litres) of water a day to combat stomach cancer.[228]
Luciano Re Cecconi
18 January 1977 The 28-year-old professional footballer for S.S. Lazio and the Italy national football team, was shot while pretending to rob a jeweller as a practical joke.[229][230]
Tom Pryce and Frederick Jansen van Vuuren 5 March 1977 Pryce, a driver in the 1977 South African Grand Prix, struck and killed 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.[231][232][233][234] Renzo Zorzi, the driver of the burning car, was uninjured.
Kurt Gödel
14 January 1978 The Austrian-American logician and mathematician developed an obsessive fear of being poisoned and refused to eat food prepared by anyone but his wife.[235] When she became ill and was hospitalized, he starved to death. At the time of his death, he only weighed around 65 pounds (29 kg).[236]
Georgi Markov
7 September 1978 The Bulgarian dissident writer was poisoned on a London street via a micro-engineered pellet containing ricin, fired into his leg from an umbrella wielded by an assassin associated with the Bulgarian Secret Service. At the time, this secret police force was affiliated with the KGB. Markov died four days later in hospital. No one was ever charged with the assassination.[237]
Robert Williams
25 January 1979 The Ford plant worker became the first person known to be killed by a robot[238] when a factory robot's arm struck him in the head.[239]
John Bowen 13 December 1979 The 20-year old resident of 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.[240][241]


Name of person Image Date of death Details
Monica Myers 20 March 1980 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, she 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.[242]
Lourdes Maria da Silva August 1980 The resident 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.[243][244]
Azaria Chamberlain 17 August 1980 The 9-week-old from Australia was dragged off and killed by a wild dingo during a family camping trip to Uluru in the Northern Territory. This was the first recorded instance of a dingo killing a human. Azaria's parents, Lindy and Michael Chamberlain, received intense media speculation due to the perceived implausibility of a dingo attack; in a highly-publicized trial, Lindy was convicted of murder and Michael named as an accessory. Their convictions were later overturned after Azaria's matinee jacket was discovered in an area with many dingo lairs nearby.[245][246]
Boris Sagal 22 May 1981 The 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.[247][248] He died five hours later at a hospital in Portland.[247]
David Grundman 4 February 1982 While shooting at cacti with his shotgun near Lake Pleasant Regional Park, Arizona, he was crushed when a 4-foot (1.2 m) limb detached and fell on him.[248][249][250]
Michael Scaglione 15 April 1982 Died after smashing his golf club against a golf cart. The head broke off and impaled him in the throat, severing his jugular vein.[251]
Vic Morrow, Myca Dinh Le and Renee Shin-Yi Chen
23 July 1982 During the filming of Twilight Zone: The Movie, the 53-year-old Morrow, seven-year-old Le, and six-year-old Chen were performing a scene in which their characters are pursued by a helicopter. Heat from special-effects explosions[252] caused the helicopter to fall on them. Morrow and Le were decapitated and Chen was crushed.[253]
Dick Wertheim 15 September 1983 The tennis linesman died after a ball served by player Stefan Edberg at the US Open struck him in the groin and he fell out of his chair, striking his head on the hardcourt surface.[254][255][256]
Truls Hellevik
5 November 1983 The 34-year-old Norwegian diver was explosively dismembered in a diving bell accident on the North Sea Byford Dolphin drilling rig. Three other divers, Edwin Arthur Coward, Roy P. Lucas and Bjørn Giæver Bergersen, 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.[257][258]
Jimmy Ferrozzo November 1983 The 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.[259]
Reginald Tucker 4 July 1984 The 29-year-old 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.[260][261]
Jon-Erik Hexum
18 October 1984 The 26-year-old 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.[262]
Unknown male 1984 An unidentified 25-year-old man was using submersion as an erotic asphyxia method. With a homemade plastic body suit, he tied himself to a boat and was using a homemade diving apparatus for air supply. He died from rebreathing, caused by the faulty apparatus.[263]
Jerome Moody 1985 The 31-year-old New Orleans man drowned in a swimming pool. He was attending a party held for lifeguards at a local swimming pool that were celebrating an entire summer season where no one drowned, his body being found at the bottom of the deep end after the party ended.[264]
Franco Brun 1987 The 22-year-old inmate at the Metro Toronto East Detention Centre in Canada died trying to swallow a pocket-size Bible.[265][266]
Marc Aaronson
30 April 1987 The 36-year-old astronomer was crushed to death by a hatch and a revolving telescope dome at Kitt Peak National Observatory.[267][268][269]
Ivan Lester McGuire 2 April 1988 The 35-year-old veteran skydiver 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.[270][271]
Cachy the Poodle, Marta Espina, Edith Solá, unidentified man 21 October 1988 A poodle named Cachy, in Caballito, Buenos Aires, fell 13 floors and hit 75-year-old Marta Espina, killing both instantly. In the course of events, 46-year-old Edith Solá 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.[272][273]
Michael Godwin March 1989 The 28-year-old 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.[274][275]


Name of person Image Date of death Details
Daniel John O'Brien 14 January 1990 The 31-year-old committed suicide by jumping into one of the engines of a British Airways Boeing 747 at Piarco International Airport, Trinidad.[276][277] 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.[278]
Lori Mae Matthew 27 October 1991 A 485-pound (220 kg) umbrella, one of thousands installed in the Tejon Pass of southern California by environmental artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude, was swept across a road by strong winds and crushed the 33-year-old against a boulder. The remaining umbrellas were all closed "out of respect".[279]
Greg Austin Gingrich 28 November 1992 While the 38-year-old 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.[280][281]
Brandon Lee 31 March 1993 The 28-year-old film actor, martial artist, and son of Bruce Lee was killed by a squib loaded prop gun while filming The Crow.[282][283][284]
Garry Hoy 9 July 1993 The 38-year-old lawyer from 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.[285][286]
Gloria Ramirez 19 February 1994 The 31-year-old 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.[287]
Jeremy Brenno 9 July 1994 The 16-year-old from New York 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.[288]
Mark Gleeson 23 January 1996 The 26-year-old 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.[289]
Karen Wetterhahn 8 June 1997 The chemistry professor 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.[290][291][292]
Alberto Fargo 1998 The resident of Lisbon died from falling out of a 5-story window whilst performing a tango. According to witnesses, he was demonstrating to students how to keep their head high by looking at the ceiling, and failed to notice the open window beside him.[293]
Jonathan Capewell 1998 The 16-year-old 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.[294] He was reported to have been obsessed with personal hygiene.[294]
John Lewis 12 April 1999 The 64-year-old 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.[295][296]
Valerie Olusanya
25 April 1999 At 2:30 am, the electronic musician, better known as Kemistry, was a front-seat passenger in a car travelling on the M3 motorway in Hampshire, behind a van which dislodged a cat's eye in the road. The metal body flew through the windscreen hitting Olusanya in the face, killing her instantly.[297][298][299]
Owen Hart
23 May 1999 The professional wrestler fell to his death during the Over the Edge pay-per-view event. He was supposed to be lowered into the ring from the rafters as part of his Blue Blazer persona's entrance, but the equipment lowering him into the ring malfunctioned, causing him to fall 78 feet (24 m) and land chest-first on the top rope. The impact severed his aorta, causing death within minutes.[300]
Hisashi Ouchi 21 December 1999 On 30 September 1999, Ouchi and two other technicians, Masato Shinohara and Yutaka Yokokawa, were improperly preparing reactor fuel for the Jōyō reactor at the Tokai Nuclear Power Plant, leading to a criticality accident. The technicians' desire to quicken the process led to numerous safety protocols being bypassed, resulting in 16 kilograms (35 lb) of dissolved enriched uranium being 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 nearly three months later following a cardiac arrest.[301] Shinohara died of multiple organ failure complicated by infections following numerous attempts at treatment on 27 April 2000[302] while Yokokawa, who received the smallest dose, survived following three months of hospitalization.[303]

21st century


Name of person Image Date of death Details
Bliss Scott 4 June 2000 The seven-year-old died after touching an African snail, from which she contracted meningoencephalitis caused by Angiostrongylus cantonensis. This is the first reported case of a human fatality linked to the African snail.[304]
Jimmy Zámbó 2 January 2001 Famous Hungarian pop-singer Jimmy Zámbó died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. After shooting out of the window twice with his Beretta, he allegedly wanted to prove to his wife that there were no more rounds in the pistol, so he removed the magazine, and put the pistol to his own head. However, one bullet was still in the chamber, causing the singer to shoot himself in the head. He died in the hospital a few hours later.[305]
Bernd Brandes 9 March 2001 Voluntarily slaughtered and eaten by Armin Meiwes following an appointment via internet. At Brandes' request, Meiwes first amputated Brandes' penis and they unsuccessfully tried to eat it. Meiwes taped the entire amputation, killing, conserving, and eating Brandes' meat. Meiwes was eventually arrested and sentenced to life in prison.[306][307] Meiwes became a vegetarian during his prison sentence.[308]
Michael Colombini 28 July 2001 The six-year-old 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.[309][310][311]
Gilbert Tinoso 22 December 2001 The 38-year-old died in Burbank, California after the spare wheel from an oncoming Mack cement truck in the opposite stretch of the freeway broke loose and struck the cab of his Toyota Tacoma. The other passenger in the Tacoma received minor chest injuries from the crash, and the Mack driver had no injuries.[312][313]
Brittanie Cecil 18 March 2002 The 13-year-old died from her injuries at an NHL game after a deflected puck struck her in the left temple. She was the first and only fan fatality in the league's history.[314]
Roger Wallace May 2002 The 60-year-old 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.[315]
Virginia Graeme Baker June 2002 The seven-year-old was entrapped underwater due to the suction from a hot tub drain and drowned.[316]
Kyle McGarity 14 December 2002 After a drunken scuffle, the 25-year-old fell about 15 feet (4.6 m) into a manhole flooded with scalding hot water and filled with steam in Lower Manhattan. McGarity survived the fall without major injuries but was steamed alive, with emergency services unable to recover his body for several hours.[317]
Hitoshi Nikaidoh 16 August 2003 The doctor from 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.[318]
Brian Wells 28 August 2003 The pizza delivery man from Erie, Pennsylvania, was killed after a collar bomb around his neck exploded as part of a bank robbery scheme.[319]
Phillip Quinn 28 November 2004 The 24-year-old from Kent, Washington, was killed when a lava lamp he was heating on a stove exploded, and a shard pierced his heart.[320][321]
Unknown female 2004 In an attempt to protect herself from SARS during the 2002–2004 SARS outbreak, a 45-year-old woman in Taiwan bathed in 40.5% ethanol. She laid down in the fluid at 11. p.m. and was found dead at 11 a.m. by her family the next day. Her BAC was 1.35% and she most likely absorbed the alcohol through the skin.[322][323]
Francis Daniel Brohm 2 September 2004 23-year-old Brohm was a passenger in a car driven by a friend, 21-year-old John Hutcherson. Both men had been drinking. Brohm 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 home, parked in the driveway, and went to bed. A neighbor found Brohm's headless body in the truck the next morning.[324][325]
Kenneth Pinyan 2 July 2005 Died from injuries caused by anal sex with a stallion.[326]
Chandler Hugh Jackson 6 July 2005 12-year-old Chandler Jackson was playing at the Dogwood Hill golf club in Cunningham, Kentucky when he fell on his 9-iron club while retrieving an out of bounds ball. The club broke, with a piece of the shaft piercing his aorta through his chest. He was rushed to hospital in Paducah, Kentucky, but died that night.[327]
Mildred Bowman and Alice Wardle August 2005 The two sisters, aged 62 and 68 respectively, died in Benidorm, Spain, after becoming trapped for four days when their fold-up Murphy bed collapsed.[328]
Steve Irwin
4 September 2006 The Australian wildlife expert and television personality was pierced in the chest by a short-tail stingray's barb while filming in shallow water in the Great Barrier Reef.[329][330]
Alexander Litvinenko
23 November 2006 The 44-year-old, a naturalised British citizen, former Russian FSB officer, and defector, was assassinated by poisoning with polonium-210, which caused acute and irreversible radiation sickness.[331][332] One of just a handful of recorded deaths attributed specifically to polonium exposure,[333] Litvinenko was the first-known fatality from malicious polonium poisoning,[334] and remains the only confirmed such case as of 2024.[333][335]
Humberto Hernandez 21 June 2007 The 24-year-old 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.[336][337]
Abigail Taylor June 2007 The six-year-old girl from Edina, Minnesota died from medical complications as a result of her evisceration caused by powerful suction from a pool drain at the Minneapolis Golf Club.[338]
Lydia Tsekova 2 February 2008 The Bulgarian teacher, with her husband Georgi and colleague Nadezhda Lyubenova, poured chemical waste into a drain cover in Sofia. 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.[339][340][verification needed]
Francis Pete Tovey 18 March 2008 The 81-year-old built a device that consisted of a jigsaw power tool attached to a .22 semi-automatic handgun containing four bullets. He then activated it, which fired multiple shots at his head, killing himself. Tovey built the device after downloading suicide plans on the Internet. Tovey, who originated from England and was living in Burleigh Heads, Australia at the time, left a note stating that he was struggling after pressure from relatives to move from his £450,000 home to a retirement home.[341][342][343][344]
Judy Kay Zagorski 20 March 2008 The 57-year-old from 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 the coast of Marathon Key, Florida. The ray also died.[345][346][347][348]
Adelir Antônio de Carli
21 April 2008 The Brazilian Catholic priest and sky diver undertook a cluster balloon flight. 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.[349][350][351]
Isaiah Otieno 13 May 2008 The student from Cranbrook, British Columbia, 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.[352]
David Phyall 5 July 2008 The 50-year-old 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.[353][354]
Unknown female 7 October 2008 A 43-year-old Irish woman died of an anaphylactic allergic reaction after having sex with a German Shepherd.[355] Its owner, Seán McDonnell, and the woman met in an Internet chat room for bestiality. McDonnell was prosecuted and added to a sex offender list.[356] The dog was later euthanized.[357]
Unknown male 3 March 2009 A 14-year-old boy from Jiaozhou, Shandong, China, was killed when the pneumatic cylinder in his office chair exploded.[358][359]
Diane Durre 3 April 2009 The 49-year-old 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 her and injuring her husband, Mark.[360]
Mark Fidrych
13 April 2009 The 54-year-old former Major League Baseball pitcher of the Detroit Tigers, died while working underneath his dump truck. His clothes became entangled with the power take-off drive shaft, suffocating him.[361]
Taylor Mitchell 28 October 2009 The 19-year-old Canadian folk singer was killed by a pair of coyotes while hiking in Cape Breton Highlands National Park, in the only known fatal coyote attack on an adult.[362][363][364]
Vladimir Likhonos 2 December 2009 The 25-year-old student of Kyiv Polytechnic Institute from Konotop was killed when his chewing gum exploded. He 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.[365][366][367]


Name of person Image Date of death Details
Muraka Jenny Vearncombe 3 March 2010 The 42-year-old 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.[368][369]
Gareth Williams 16 August 2010 The 31-year-old Welsh mathematician and GCHQ analyst was found dead and naked in a bag that had been padlocked from the outside, in the bath of his home in Central London.[370] The inquest found his death was likely criminal, although a Metropolitan Police investigation later found that it was likely an accident.[371]
The 20 passengers and crew of a plane crash
25 August 2010 The 20 passengers and crew of a Let L-410 Turbolet were killed in a crash resulting from an escaped crocodile in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The animal was smuggled aboard by a passenger, but escaped mid-flight. Panicked passengers surged forward, unbalancing the plane and causing a loss of control.[372] The crocodile survived the crash, but was promptly killed by a blow from a machete.[373]
Mike Edwards 3 September 2010 The 62-year-old 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.[374][375][376]
Jimi Heselden 26 September 2010 The 62-year-old owner of Segway Inc., died after apparently riding a Segway Personal Transport System off a cliff in Thorp Arch, England.[377] 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.[378]
Jose Luis Ochoa 30 January 2011 The 35-year-old 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.[379][380][381]
Unknown man and woman 6 June 2011 Two unnamed people 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.[382][383]
Shannon Stone 7 July 2011 The 39-year-old firefighter from Arlington, Texas, fell 20 feet (6.1 m) onto concrete from the stands in Choctaw Stadium. Stone was attending a Texas Rangers game with his 6-year-old son, in hopes to catch a souvenir foul ball. When Josh Hamilton threw a foul ball, Stone rushed over to grab the ball, tripped over the balcony and fell head first. Stone died in the hospital from blunt force trauma. The entire incident was captured on film.[384][385]
Brian Depledge 10 September 2011 The 38-year-old was home alone placing wet laundry on a clothes horse, a type of drying rack, when he accidentally tripped over a small stool and fell backwards into the rack, trapping himself. Authorities state it appears he attempted to free himself, but the struggle only caused the rungs to tighten around his chest and neck even more. A coroner remarked his death was "probably rarer than being struck by lightning or struck by a meteorite".[386][387]
Erica Marshall 10 February 2012 The 28-year-old 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 was seriously injured.[388][389]
Jeffrey Bourgeois 10 April 2012 The 6-year-old from Salem, Connecticut, was killed after being pulled into a woodchipper. Bourgeois, while on a school break, was helping his father with a landscaping job. Bourgeois was inserting a branch into the industrial woodchipper when it instantly pulled him in, while the boy's 39-year-old father, Scott Bourgeois, had his back turned away from the child.[390][391]
Anthony Hensley 14 April 2012 The 37-year-old 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.[392][393]
Elizabeth Nass and Rose Mayr 21 August 2012 The 19-year-olds died after more than 20 coal cars (out of 90) from a CSX Transportation freight train derailed in Ellicott City, Maryland while they were walking alongside the train tracks late at night. Reports said that the two women were found buried in a pile of coal. The derailment was possibly caused by a broken rail according to the National Transportation Safety Board.[394]
Ilda Vitor Maciel 28 September 2012 The 88-year-old 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.[395]
Palmerina Pires Ribeiro October 2012 The 80-year-old died in a Rio de Janeiro clinic when an untrained nurse injected coffee in her intravenous drip. The nurse reported the incident had occurred because the blood drip and feed drip were directly next to one another.[396]
Kendrick Johnson 10 January 2013 The 17-year-old 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.[397][398][399][400][401] 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.[402] 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.[403][404]
James Campbell 14 January 2013 When the 68-year-old left his van to open a gate, his dog stepped on the van's gas pedal and ran him over.[405][406]
Takuya Nagaya 18 January 2013 The 23-year-old 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".[407]
Elisa Lam February 2013 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.[408]
Jeffery Bush 28 February 2013 The 37-year-old 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.[409][410]
Roger Mirro 30 July 2013 Crushed by a trash compactor while looking through a dumpster for his phone.[411][412]
Unknown Belarusian man 2013 An unnamed 60-year-old Belarusian fisherman bled to death after being bitten by a beaver which he had tried to grab in order to have his picture taken with it.[413][414]
João Maria de Souza 2013 The 45-year-old was crushed in his bed by a cow falling through the roof of his home in Caratinga, Minas Gerais, Brazil. It had climbed on top of the house from a steep hillside behind it. Both the cow and his wife (who was in the bed next to him) were unharmed.[415]
Noah Barthe, Connor Barthe 5 August 2013 The brothers, aged four and six respectively, 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 inadequate enclosure, and moved through ducts that were easily accessible to the reptile, where the snake then fell through the ceiling where the boys slept three meters away. Though the snake suffocated them, it did not attempt to eat them. However, an African rock python would not constrict unless they planned on eating, therefore it is likely that the owners of the python also failed to feed their pet. The python was euthanized.[416][417]
Roman Pirozek, Jr. 5 September 2013 The 19-year-old model airplane enthusiast was partially decapitated by the blade of his radio-controlled helicopter while performing aerobatic maneuvers in Calvert Vaux Park in Brooklyn, New York.[418][419]
Denver Lee St. Clair 21 December 2013 The 58-year-old 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 30 years in prison.[420][421]
J.R.N. 18 January 2014 A 52-year-old Brazilian man, 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.[422][423][424][425]
Grant Adams 9 June 2014 The 17-year-old had just woken up when he tripped on a wire and fell into a free-standing tanning bed in his bedroom on the morning of June 8, 2014. One of the glass tubes of the bed broke, piercing Grant's neck in two places. He was airlifted from his house in South Shields to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, where he died the next day.[426]
Peng Fan August 2014 The chef in Foshan, China, was bitten by a cobra's severed head, which he had cut off 20 minutes earlier while preparing soup.[427][428]
Heval Yıldırım 3 October 2014 The 13-year-old from 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.[429]
Peter Biaksangzuala 19 October 2014 The Indian football player from Mizoram state died after sustaining spinal cord injuries while awkwardly landing a somersault, celebrating a goal.[430]
Christophe de Margerie
20 October 2014 The French oil executive was killed when his corporate jet collided during take-off with an airport snowplow reportedly driven by a drunk driver in Moscow.[431][432]
Gary Anderson 3 November 2014 The 58-year-old from New Jersey was delivering drywall to a construction site and leaned his head into the car of a co-worker while having a conversation. As he pulled his head out, a worker accidentally dropped a 1-pound (0.45 kg) tape measure which plummeted 50 stories, or approximately 500 feet (150 m), when it ricocheted off a piece of metal 10 feet (3.0 m) off the ground and smashed into Anderson's head. He was rushed to Jersey City Medical Center where he suffered cardiac arrest and was pronounced dead at 9:52 a.m. Hard hats were mandatory at the site, and it is unclear why Anderson was not wearing one when he was killed.[433][434]
Phillip Hughes
27 November 2014 The 25-year-old Australian Test and ODI cricketer, was killed by a bouncer striking his neck during a cricket match, causing a vertebral artery dissection.[435][436]
Stephen Whinfrey January 2015 The 50-year-old became trapped and asphyxiated when rabbiting near Doncaster, England, after his head became stuck down a rabbit hole.[437]
Maxee 28 February 2015 The 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.[438]
Stephen Woytack 30 March 2015 The 74-year-old 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.[439]
Randy Llanes 29 May 2015 The 47-year-old fisherman from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, was killed by a swordfish. He had harpooned the fish and jumped into the water to retrieve it, but the swordfish impaled him in the chest.[440][441]
Jaylon Rippy 2 July 2015 The five-year-old was killed by a leaping sturgeon while she was boating with her family near Fanning Springs, Florida. Her mother and brother were also injured and needed facial reconstruction surgery.[442]
Chelsea Ake-Salvacion October 2015 The 24-year-old beauty salon employee in Henderson, Nevada, was suffocated while using a cryotherapy machine set to the wrong level, which eliminated the oxygen in the chamber.[443][444]
Ravi Subramanian 5 December 2015 The Air India technician was sucked into an aircraft's jet engine.[445][446]
V. Kamaraj 2016 The 40-year-old Indian bus driver was claimed by local 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".[447][448][449][450]
Irma Bule 4 April 2016 The 29-year-old Indonesian dangdut singer who performed with live snakes died during a concert after being bitten by a king cobra and refusing treatment.[451][452]
Lottie Michelle Belk 6 June 2016 The 55-year-old was fatally stabbed in the chest by a beach umbrella blown by a strong wind in Virginia Beach, Virginia.[453] Wind speeds at the time reached 20–25 miles per hour (32–40 km/h).[454][455]
Lane Graves 14 June 2016 The two-year-old boy from Nebraska was on vacation and playing on the beach at Seven Seas Lagoon around 9 p.m. at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, just outside of Orlando, Florida. While he was playing, an alligator approached and dragged him under the water. Graves's body was found nearby the next day, intact and apparently drowned.[456][457][458]
Anton Yelchin
19 June 2016 The 27-year-old 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.[459][460] 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.[461]
Kristopher Moules and Timothy Gilliam Jr. 18 July 2016 Moules, a 25-year-old correctional officer, and Gilliam, a 27-year-old 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 Moules' death a homicide and declared Gilliam's an accident.[462][463]
Unknown girl 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.[464][465]
Caleb Schwab
7 August 2016 The 10-year-old was decapitated when he was ejected from his raft on Verrückt, a 168-foot-tall (51 m) water slide at Schlitterbahn Kansas City.[466]
Julio Macías González 26 August 2016 The 17-year-old from Mexico City died from a cerebrovascular accident caused by embolus formed on a neck hickey.[467][468]
Ten people 21 November 2016 A powerful southerly change in Melbourne, Australia, resulted in the death of 10 asthmatic people who died from respiratory failure.[469] 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.[470]
Charlie Holt 2017 The five-year-old 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.[471]
Akbar Salubiro March 2017 The 25-year-old 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.[472] A second case happened there the following year, when another reticulated python killed and swallowed a woman in her garden.[473]
Robert Dreyer 10 May 2017 The Florida resident drowned on his 89th 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.[474]
Debra Bedard 2 June 2017 The 58-year-old died after falling from a golf cart onto shards of wine glasses that had broken in her hands in Calaveras County, California.[475]
Rebecca Burger 18 June 2017 The 33-year-old French 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.[476]
Karanbir Cheema July 2017 The 13-year-old from London, England, died after having a severe allergic reaction to cheese at his school on 28 June 2017. Cheema was severely allergic to wheat, gluten, all dairy products, eggs and all nuts. Reportedly, an unnamed student at the school had thrown a piece of cheese at Cheema, causing the fatal reaction.[477]
Jasmine Beever 7 September 2017 The 16-year-old from 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.[478]
Elizabeth Isherwood September 2017 The 60-year-old 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.[479]
Raildo Matias Santos 22 October 2017 The 49-year-old 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.[480][481]
Hidr Korkmaz 12 November 2017 The 42-year-old 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.[482][483]
Rajesh Maru 28 January 2018 The 32-year-old 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.[484][485][486]
Ateef Rafiq 16 March 2018 The 24-year-old 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.[487]
Elaine Herzberg
18 March 2018 The 49-year-old from 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.[488][489]
Kyle Plush
10 April 2018 The 16-year-old died from asphyxia after becoming trapped in his Honda Odyssey, which was in his school's parking lot in Cincinnati, Ohio. Attempting to reach his tennis equipment, he leaned over the third row of seats into the trunk. When the 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.[490]
Jennifer Riordan
17 April 2018 The 43-year-old bank executive and businesswoman 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.[491][492]
Samen Kondorura 15 June 2018 The 40-year-old from the North Toraja Regency 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.[493]
Hildegard Whiting 27 July 2018 The 77-year-old died of asphyxiation 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.[494][495]
Richard Russell 10 August 2018 The 29-year-old stole a Bombardier Q400 owned by Horizon Air and operating for Alaska Airlines from Seattle–Tacoma International Airport. After an unauthorized takeoff, he flew the plane for just over an hour and performed aerial maneuvers including a barrel roll before intentionally crashing on Ketron Island, Washington, killing himself. No one else was injured.[496]
Linda Goldbloom 29 August 2018 The 79-year-old 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.[497]
Sam Ballard October 2018 The 29-year-old from Sydney, Australia, died from angiostrongyliasis after eating a garden slug as a dare eight years earlier.[498]
Unknown man
January 2019 An unknown 54-year-old man from Massachusetts 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.[499][500][501] Liquorice contains glycyrrhizinic acid, which along with its metabolite glycyrrhetinic acid interferes with the body's ability to retain potassium by mimicking the hormone aldosterone,[502] resulting in excessive excretion of the nutrient in cases of overconsumption, a condition referred to as pseudohyperaldosteronism.[503]
Salvator Disi 10 January 2019 The 62-year-old 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.[504]
Margaret Maurer 5 March 2019 The 21-year-old 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.[505][506][507]
Patrick McGuire April 2019 The 67-year-old American tourist died from positional asphyxia in Scotland when a 72-kilogram (159 lb) metal garden bench he was sitting on toppled backwards, pinning him against a wall which had knocked him unconscious. It was later found that such benches had a risk of sinking into the grass and becoming unstable and there were no appropriate checks to provide a stable hard surface for the benches.[508]
Darren Hickey 5 April 2019 The 51-year-old wedding planner from Horwich, England, died after eating a scalding-hot fishcake at a wedding. The cake had burned his throat, restricting his ability to breathe. The pathologist who performed the autopsy called the case "extremely rare" and likened it to those of victims who have inhaled smoke during house fires.[509] Hickey previously received a set of false teeth following a previous event.[510]
Marvin Hajos
12 April 2019 The 75-year-old former car salesman and exotic animal collector was attacked and killed by his recently purchased pet cassowary. The large bird repeatedly kicked the man, which punctured the man's skin and severed the brachial artery in his arm. Hajos was declared dead by the time paramedics arrived at the scene, and the cassowary was auctioned off to a different owner.[511][512][513]
Paul McDonald 17 April 2019 The 47-year-old was attacked and killed by a pet deer, said to be an elk, on his property in north-east Victoria, Australia.[514][515]
Joemar Jungco 22 June 2019 The 18-year-old worker at a meat processing facility in Iloilo City, Philippines, died after half his body from the head down to the waist was pulled into a meat grinder.[516]
Elena Struthers-Gardner July 2019 The 60-year-old from Broadstone, Dorset, England, was carrying a mason jar-style drinking glass when she collapsed. Its 10-inch (250 mm) stainless steel straw entered her left eye socket and pierced her brain.[517][518][519]
Zafer Kuzu 4 July 2019 The 24-year-old from 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 with a shotgun through two pillows to reduce the shot's power. He was killed and the friend arrested.[520]
Samuela Cirivakayawa 8 September 2019 The 40-year-old 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.[521] Although Cirivakayawa's ex-wife in Fiji later suggested the incident may have been a complication of depression,[522] a coronial report has not yet been released to the public.
Yulia Sharko 8 September 2019 The 21-year-old from Žabinka, Belarus, was celebrating her 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.[523]
Pamela Kreimeyer 27 October 2019 The 56-year-old from 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.[524]
Michael Kosanovich 7 December 2019 The 21-year-old 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.[525] 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.[526]


Name of person Image Date of death Details
Sergio Millán 14 January 2020 The 59-year-old 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, causing the ceiling to collapse, killing him.[527]
Valentin Didenko, Natalia Monakova and Yuri Alferov 28 February 2020 The trio died while celebrating Didenko's wife's birthday in Moscow. During the party, a guest dumped 25 kilograms (55 lb) of dry ice into the sauna pool, which resulted in a large amount of carbon dioxide being released. Didenko, Monakova and Alferov, along with several others jumped into the pool, only to quickly lose consciousness from hypercapnia.[528] The three deaths came as a result of asphyxia due to lack of oxygen. This was all captured on video.[529][530]
Christian Bolok 26 October 2020 The lieutenant, who was the police chief of San Jose, Northern Samar, Philippines, died during an anti-gambling raid. He was trying to grab a cockfighting rooster when the razor-sharp metal blade attached to the rooster's leg to kill its opponent cut a gaping hole in his leg and sliced his femoral artery, causing him to bleed to death.[531]
Luke Ramone Harper 2 April 2021 The eight-year-old from Ringsend, Dublin, died after inhaling helium from a balloon that he placed over his head. The balloon had been bought for his birthday a week prior.[532]
Unknown man
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 Santa Coloma de Gramenet, Catalonia, Spain. Initial police reports did not suspect foul play. A police representative 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 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.[533][534]
Salman Mirza June 2021 The resident of Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India, 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.[535][536]
Eleanor Skerritt 24 July 2021 The 50-year-old 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.[537]
Tony Eyles 9 September 2021 The 42-year-old died at a McDonald's drive-through in Vancouver, British Columbia, 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.[538][539]
Unknown man 31 October 2021 A 30-year-old 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.[540]
Teddy Balkind 6 January 2022 The 16-year-old high school student for St. Luke's School, Connecticut died after suffering an injury to his neck during a junior varsity ice hockey game. He 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.[541][542]
Laila Zahrul Maisaroh 14 January 2022 The 20-year-old late pregnant woman from Banjarmasin, Indonesia, was killed instantly when a concrete barrier from an elevated parking lot fell onto her. A car in the parking lot had collided with the barrier.[543][544]
Unknown man 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. He lost control and crashed into a parked car. The car's airbag propelled the knife into his neck, fatally injuring him.[545]
Maya Murmu 20 June 2022 The 68-year-old woman was trampled by an elephant in Odisha, India. Later, at her funeral, the same elephant came back and attacked her corpse by picking up her body and throwing her in the air.[546]
Klil Kimhi 21 July 2022 The 32-year-old fell to his death when a sinkhole opened under a swimming pool he was in at a house party in Israel.[547]
Muthukumar 2 August 2022 A 54-year-old man in Tamil Nadu, India died 4 days after falling into a pot of freshly-prepared porridge that was still boiling, suffering 65% burn injuries in the process. The man had lost his balance and leaned against the pot, toppling backwards into it. His wife claimed he suffered from epilepsy which may have triggered the fall.[548][549]
Unknown man 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.[550]
Leandro Mathias de Novaes 6 February 2023 The 40-year-old activist for the right to keep and bear arms in Brazil was assisting his mother in the MRI suite of Cura Laboratory in the central region of São Paulo on 16 January while wearing a registered firearm on his waistband. The gun, affected by the magnet, was pulled away from him and subsequently discharged, shooting him in the stomach. He remained in intensive care for 21 days before dying of his injuries.[551][552]
Shivdayal Sharma 19 April 2023 The 82-year-old was urinating next to a train track in the region of Alwar, India, when a cow was hit by the Vande Bharat express train. The animal was launched 100 feet (30 m) into the air before landing on Sharma, killing him instantly.[553]
Lynn Ann Fleming 6 May 2023 The 68-year-old was a passenger in the front seat of a car travelling on the I-75 in Whitfield County, Georgia, U.S. when a cargo winch bar came through the windshield and impaled her. She died at the scene.[554]
Mikala Jones 9 July 2023 The 44-year-old was killed in a surfing accident in North Sipora, Indonesia, after the fin of his surfboard severed his femoral artery.[555]
Giacomo Chiapparini 6 August 2023 The 74-year-old died when a shelf in his warehouse in Romano di Lombardia, Italy, broke and crushed him under thousands of wheels of Grana Padano cheese, with each wheel weighing approximately 40 kilograms (88 lb).[556] His body was recovered from the wreckage after 12 hours.[557][558]
Adam Johnson 28 October 2023 The 29-year-old member of the Nottingham Panthers professional ice hockey team in England died after his neck was cut by a skate during a game between the Panthers and the Sheffield Steelers.[559]
Dorothy Louise Downey 27 November 2023 The 83-year-old woman arrived at her daughter's house in Salem, South Carolina, to visit and assist with a move. As she was walking in the kitchen, Downey broke through a weakened patch of floor, falling 48 ft (15 m) into a hidden well shaft. She was extricated by rescue services, but died from her injuries.[560][561]
Sanjay Shah 20 January 2024 The 55-year-old CEO of Vistex was celebrating his company's 25th anniversary at a movie studio stage in India. As part of the celebration, Shah and company president Raju Datla were being lowered from the ceiling to the stage in a cage or basket, when a cable broke and both men fell 20 feet (6.1 m), killing Shah and leaving Datla in critical condition.[562][563]
Yogish 25 March 2024 The 24-year-old Bengaluru man died due to a burst colon after his friend blew air into his rectum with an electric high-pressure blow-dryer used for vehicles. The friend was playfully blowing air at him, and when he turned to shield his face, the force of the air was such that it entered his rectum and severely damaged his colon.[564]
Unknown male tourist 13 April 2024 A 30-year-old tourist was killed in a freak accident at a church in El Pinell de Brai, Tarragona, Spain during the festival of Santa Magdalena. The tourist, part of a group from Terra Alta, Catalonia, had climbed the church's tower during the celebrations and was killed instantly when the church bell, which was ringing at the time of the accident, swung forward and hit him.[565][566]
Lucy Morgan 5 June 2024 The 6-year-old girl was with her family on vacation in Limerick, Maine on 1 June when, whilst playing badminton with her family, her brother's aluminium racket shaft broke and pierced her in the skull. She was taken to the hospital where she died from her injuries four days later.[567]
Tony Knight 7 June 2024 The 54-year-old British comedian died after he was struck by a large tree branch while attending the Rock&Cars festival in Lavaur, France.[568][569]
Unknown woman 18 June 2024 A 22-year-old woman using a treadmill at a gym in Pontianak, West Kalimantan, Indonesia died after she stumbled off the end of the treadmill and smashed through the window behind her, falling three storeys to her death.[570] The local police commissioner reported that the gym's safety standards were insufficient, as the glass was not thick enough, while the treadmills were placed too close to the window.[571]
Margarita Lega 4 July 2024 Margarita Lega, a woman from Trentino, Italy, was killed in a freak accident in Calasca-Castiglione, Piedmont, when she was caught by the cables of a cargo cable car and dragged over the edge of a cliff overlooking the Anzasca Valley. After holding on for a few moments, Lega lost her grip and fell 492 feet to her death in front of her family, who were visiting the area with her.[572]
Allen Ray McGrew 4 July 2024 McGrew, a 41-year-old man from Summerville, South Carolina, was celebrating American Independence Day with his wife Paige and son Hunter by lighting fireworks while wearing an Uncle Sam costume and drinking.[573] McGrew placed a lit firework atop of his top hat, where upon it exploded, killing him on scene in what the Dorchester County coroner described as "massive head trauma with cerebral avulsion".[574]

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.[575][576]
Dog 1677 Mary Hicks, a married working-class woman, was brought before the Central Criminal Court of London on the charge of having sex with her dog. When the dog was brought into the court he started "wagging his tail, and making motions as it were to kiss her", which the court took as evidence the charges were true. Mary was subsequently forced to watch the dog be hanged before she was executed herself.[577]
Female goat 1758 John Blake, a Royal Marine, was convicted of "buggery upon the body of a she-goat" and both were sentenced to death. Blake, however, was pardoned on grounds of being "next to an idiot". Only the goat was put to death.[577][578]
Topsy the elephant
4 January 1903 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.[579][better source needed]
Mary the elephant
13 September 1916 The day after the 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.[580][581]
Cow 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.[582]
Sparrow 3 July 1936 In what has been described as the most famous incident of its kind,[583] 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.[584]
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.[585][586]
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.[587][failed verification]
Seagull 4 August 1983 During a Major League Baseball Yankees-Blue Jays game at Toronto's Exhibition Stadium, Yankees right fielder Dave Winfield threw a warm-up ball which hit a seagull, killing it. After the game, Toronto police charged Winfield with causing "unnecessary suffering of an animal". The charges were dropped the following day.[588]
Three hippopotami 16 July 1984 Three hippopotami were killed by an elephant at the Karlsruhe Zoo in Karlsruhe, West Germany. The elephant used its trunk to open a valve, which sent scalding hot water (55 °C / 150 °F) into their pool. The water generated steam that interfered with their breathing, and the hippos (two adults and one baby) died of shock.[589]
Cocaine Bear
1985 A 175-kilogram American black bear died in Georgia in 1985 after overdosing on cocaine. The cocaine had been dumped from an airplane piloted by Andrew C. Thornton II, a former narcotics officer turned convicted drug smuggler.[590] It inspired the 2023 film Cocaine Bear.[591]
Deer 14 August 1987 Stefan Johansson hit a roe 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.[592][593] Johansson survived.
Olympic doves 17 September 1988 During the opening ceremony of the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, hundreds of live doves were released as a symbol of world peace. Many of the doves landed on the Olympic cauldron just prior to it being lit. When the cauldron was lit, over a dozen of the doves resting on the rim of the cauldron and flying directly above it were burned alive by the Olympic flame. The death of the birds marked the last time that live doves were used in the ceremonies.[594][595]
Goose 27 March 1999 On the inaugural ride of the Apollo's Chariot rollercoaster at Busch Gardens, male model Fabio was struck in the face by a goose during the first drop. The goose was killed, while Fabio's nose was bloodied and required stitches.[596]
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, killing it instantly.[597][598]
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.[583][599]
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.[600][601]
Alan the dachshund 14 January 2013 Tatler magazine's "office dog" saw a man approaching the revolving doors of Vogue House, London, and walked after the man. As Alan tried to rush through the revolving doors, his neck got caught in it, also getting the 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.[602][603]
Kabibe the gorilla 7 November 2014 The 15-month-old gorilla was accidentally crushed by a hydraulic door while roaming around her enclosure at the San Francisco Zoo.[604]

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