List of unusual deaths
This is a list of unusual deaths. This list includes only unique or extremely rare circumstances of death recorded throughout history, noted as being unusual by multiple sources. Oxford Dictionaries defines the word unusual as "not habitually or commonly occurring or done" and "remarkable or interesting because different from or better than others".
Some other articles also cover deaths that might be considered unusual or ironic, including list of entertainers who died during a performance, list of inventors killed by their own inventions, list of association footballers who died while playing, list of cyclists with a cycling-related death and the list of political self-immolations.
|Name of person||Image||Date of death||Details|
|Draco of Athens||c. 620 BC||Draco, an Athenian lawmaker, was reportedly smothered to death by gifts of cloaks and hats showered upon him by appreciative citizens at a theatre on Aegina.|
|Charondas||Late 7th to early 5th century BC||Charondas was a Greek lawgiver from Sicily. According to Diodorus Siculus, he issued a law that anyone who brought weapons into the Assembly must be put to death. One day, he arrived at the Assembly after hunting in the countryside with a knife still attached to his belt. In order to uphold his own law, he committed suicide.|
|Arrhichion of Phigalia||564 BC||Arrichion of Phigalia, a Greek pankratiast, caused his own death during the Olympic finals. Held by his unidentified opponent in a stranglehold and unable to free himself, Arrichion kicked his opponent, causing him so much pain that the opponent made the sign of defeat to the umpires, but at the same time breaking Arrichion's neck. Since the opponent had conceded defeat, Arrichion was proclaimed the victor posthumously.|
|Sisamnes||c. 525 BC||According to Herodotus, Sisamnes was a corrupt judge under Cambyses II of Persia. He accepted a bribe and delivered an unjust verdict; as a result, the king had him arrested and flayed alive. His skin was then used to cover the seat in which his son would sit in judgment.|
|Pythagoras of Samos||c. 495 BC||Ancient sources disagree on how the Greek philosopher Pythagoras died, 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 because he had prohibited beans as ritually unclean. Since cutting through the field would violate his own teachings, Pythagoras simply stopped running and was killed as a result; this story may have been fabricated by Neanthes of Cyzicus, whom both Diogenes and Iamblichus rely on as a source.|
|Heraclitus of Ephesus||c. 475 BC||According to one account given by Diogenes Laërtius, the Greek philosopher Heraclitus was said to have been devoured by dogs after smearing himself with cow manure in an attempt to cure his dropsy.|
|Themistocles||c. 459 BC||Themistocles, the Athenian general who won the Battle of Salamis, actually died of natural causes in exile, but was widely rumored to have committed suicide by drinking bull's blood. Since bull's blood is not actually poisonous, Themistocles cannot have actually died in this way, but 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 324 BC) as the most heroic way for a man to die.|
|Aeschylus||c. 455 BC||According to Valerius Maximus, Aeschylus, the eldest of the three great Athenian tragedians, was killed by a tortoise dropped by an eagle that had mistaken his bald head for a rock suitable for shattering the shell of the reptile. Pliny, in his Naturalis Historiæ, adds that Aeschylus had been staying outdoors to avert a prophecy that he would be killed by a falling object.|
|Empedocles of Akragas||c. 430 BC||Empedocles of Acragas was a Pre-Socratic philosopher from the island of Sicily, who, in one of his surviving poems, declares himself to have become a "divine being... no longer mortal". According to Diogenes Laërtius, he tried to prove he was an immortal god by leaping into Mount Etna, an active volcano; this legend is also alluded to by the Roman poet Horace.|
|Sophocles||c. 406 BC||A number of "remarkable" legends concerning the death of Sophocles, another of the three great Athenian tragedians, are recorded in the late antique Life of Sophocles. According to one legend, he choked to death on an unripe grape. Another says that he died of joy after hearing that his last play had been victorious. A third account reports that he died of suffocation after reading aloud a lengthy monologue from the end of his play Antigone without pausing to take a breath for commas or punctuation.|
|Mithridates||401 BC||Mithridates, a Persian soldier who embarrassed his king, Artaxerxes II, by boasting of killing his rival, Cyrus the Younger (who was the brother of Artaxerxes II), was executed by scaphism. The king's physician, Ctesias, reported that Mithridates survived the insect torture for 17 days.|
|Democritus of Abdera||c. 370 BC||According to Diogenes Laërtius, the Greek Atomist philosopher Democritus of Abdera died at the age of 109; as he was on his deathbed, his sister was greatly worried because she needed to fulfill her religious obligations to the goddess Artemis in the approaching three-day Thesmophoria festival. Democritus told her to place a loaf of warm bread under his nose and was able to survive for the three days of the festival by sniffing it, he died immediately after the festival was over.|
|Antiphanes||c. 310 BC||Antiphanes was a renowned comic poet of the Middle Attic comedy. The Suda claims he died after being struck by a pear.|
|Agathocles of Syracuse||289 BC||Agathocles, a Greek tyrant of Syracuse, was murdered with a poisoned toothpick.|
|Philitas of Cos||c. 270 BC||Philitas of Cos, a Greek intellectual, is said by Athenaeus to have studied arguments and erroneous word usage so intensely that he wasted away and starved to death. British classicist Alan Cameron speculates that Philitas died from a wasting disease which his contemporaries joked was caused by his pedantry.|
|Qin Shi Huang||10 September 210 BC||Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China, whose artifacts and treasures include the Terracotta Army, died after ingesting several pills of mercury in the belief that it would grant him eternal life.|
|Chrysippus of Soli||c. 206 BC||One ancient account of the death of Chrysippus, a third-century BC Greek Stoic philosopher, tells that he died of laughter after he saw a donkey eating his figs; he told a slave to give the donkey neat wine to drink to wash them down with, and then, "...having laughed too much, he died" (Diogenes Laërtius 7.185).|
|Eleazar Avaran||c. 163 BC||Eleazar Avaran was the brother of Judas Maccabeus. According to 1 Maccabees 6:32-33, in battle, he thrust his spear into the belly of a king's war elephant, which collapsed and fell on top of Eleazar, killing him instantly.|
|Porcia Catonis||June 43 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. Modern historians find this tale implausible.|
|Claudius Drusus||c. 20 AD||According to Suetonius, Claudius Drusus, the eldest son of the future Roman Emperor Claudius, died while playing. Having tossed a pear high in the air, when it came back, he caught it in his mouth but he choked on it, dying of asphyxia.|
|Tiberius||16 March 37 AD||The Roman emperor Tiberius died in Misenum at the age of seventy-eight. According to Tacitus, the emperor appeared to have died and Caligula, who was at Tiberius' villa, was being congratulated on his succession to the empire, when news arrived that the emperor had revived and was recovering his faculties; those who had moments before recognized Caligula as Augustus fled in fear of the emperor's wrath, while Macro, a prefect of the Praetorian Guard, took advantage of the chaos to have Tiberius smothered with his own bedclothes, definitively killing him.|
|Simon the Zealot||1st century AD||According to an ancient tradition, Simon, an apostle of Jesus, was sawn in half in Persia.|
|Saint Lawrence||258 AD||The deacon Saint Lawrence was roasted alive on a giant grill during the persecution of Valerian. Prudentius tells that he joked with his tormentors, "Turn me over—I'm done on this side", he is now the patron saint of cooks, chefs and comedians.|
|Name of person||Image||Date of death||Details|
|Ragnar Lodbrok||c. 865||Ragnar Lodbrok, a semi-legendary Viking leader whose exploits are narrated in the Ragnars saga loðbrókar, a thirteenth-century Icelandic saga, is said to have been captured by Ælla of Northumbria, who had him executed by throwing him into a pit of snakes.|
|Louis III of France||5 August 882||Louis III, king of West Francia, died aged around 18 at Saint-Denis. Whilst mounting his horse to pursue a girl who was running to seek refuge in her father's house he hit his head on the lintel of a low door and fell, fracturing his skull.|
|Sigurd the Mighty of Orkney||892||Sigurd the Mighty, the second Earl of Orkney, strapped the head of his defeated foe, Máel Brigte, to his horse's saddle. Brigte's teeth rubbed against Sigurd's leg as he rode, causing a fatal infection, according to the Old Norse Heimskringla and Orkneyinga sagas.|
|Edmund Ironside||30 November 1016||Edmund Ironside was stabbed whilst on a toilet, by an assassin hiding underneath.|
|Béla I of Hungary||11 September 1063||Béla I of Hungary, when the Holy Roman Empire decided to launch a military expedition against Hungary to restore young Solomon to the throne, was seriously injured when "his throne broke beneath him" in his manor at Dömös. 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.|
|Crown Prince Philip of France||13 October 1131||Crown Prince Philip of France died while riding through Paris, when his horse tripped over a black pig running out of a dung heap.|
|Al-Musta'sim||20 February 1258||Al-Musta'sim, the last Abbasid Caliph of Baghdad, was executed by his Mongol captors by being rolled up in a rug and then trampled by horses.|
|Edward II of England||21 September 1327||Edward II of England was rumoured to have been murdered, after being deposed and imprisoned by his wife Isabella and her lover Roger Mortimer, by having a horn pushed into his anus through which a red-hot iron was inserted, burning out his internal organs without marking his body. 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.|
|John of Bohemia||26 August 1346||John of Bohemia, after being blind for 10 years, died in the Battle of Crecy when his companions tied their horses' reins to his own and charged. He was slaughtered in the ensuing fight.|
|Charles II of Navarre||1 January 1387||Charles II of Navarre known as "Charles the Bad". The contemporary chronicler Froissart relates that the king, suffering from illness in old age, was ordered by his physician to be tightly sewn into a linen sheet soaked in distilled spirits; the highly flammable sheet accidentally caught fire and Charles later died of his injuries. Froissart considered the horrific death to be God's judgment upon the king.|
|Martin of Aragon||31 May 1410||Martin of Aragon died from a combination of indigestion and uncontrollable laughing. According to tradition, Martin was suffering from indigestion on account of eating an entire goose when his favorite jester, Borra, entered the king's bedroom; when Martin asked Borra where he had been, the jester replied with: "Out of the next vineyard, where I saw a young deer hanging by his tail from a tree, as if someone had so punished him for stealing figs." This joke caused the king to die from laughter.|
|Name of person||Image||Date of death||Details|
|George Plantagenet, Duke of Clarence||18 February 1478||George Plantagenet, 1st Duke of Clarence, was allegedly executed by drowning in a barrel of Malmsey wine, apparently his own choice once he accepted he was to be killed.|
|Victims of the 1518 dancing plague||July 1518||In July 1518, several people died of either heart attacks, strokes or exhaustion during a dancing mania that occurred in Strasbourg, Alsace (Holy Roman Empire).|
|Cosimo Gheri||24 September 1537||According to the Florentine historian Benedetto Varchi, Cosimo Gheri, the 24-years-old Bishop of Fano (Papal States), died of pain due to the shock of having been raped by Pier Luigi Farnese, son of Pope Paul III (see Rape of Fano). But the event is far from certain.|
|Pietro Aretino||21 October 1556||The influent Italian author and libertine Pietro Aretino is said to have died of suffocation from laughing too much at an obscene joke during a meal in Venice. Another version states that he fell from a chair from too much laughter, fracturing his skull.|
|Hans Staininger||1567||Hans Staininger, the burgomaster of Braunau (then Bavaria, now Austria), died when he broke his neck by tripping over his own beard. The beard, which was 4.5 feet (1.4 m) long at the time, was usually kept rolled up in a leather pouch.|
|Marco Antonio Bragadin||17 August 1571||Marco Antonio Bragadin, Venetian Captain-General of Famagusta in Cyprus, was gruesomely killed in August 1571 after the Ottomans took the city. He was dragged round the walls with sacks of earth and stone on his back; next, he was tied to a chair and hoisted to the yardarm of the Turkish flagship, where he was exposed to the taunts of the sailors. Finally, he was taken to his place of execution in the main square, tied naked to a column, and flayed alive. Bragadin's skin was stuffed with straw and sewn, reinvested with his military insignia, and exhibited riding an ox in a mocking procession along the streets of Famagusta; the macabre trophy was hoisted upon the masthead pennant of the personal galley of the Ottoman commander, Amir al-bahr Mustafa Pasha, to be brought to Constantinople as a gift for Sultan Selim II. Bragadin's skin was stolen in 1580 by a Venetian seaman and brought back to Venice, where it was received as a returning hero.|
|Tycho Brahe||24 October 1601||Tycho Brahe contracted a bladder or kidney ailment after attending a banquet in Prague, and died eleven days later. According to Kepler's first-hand account, Brahe had refused to leave the banquet to relieve himself because it would have been a breach of etiquette. After he had returned home he was no longer able to urinate, except eventually in very small quantities and with excruciating pain.|
Early modern period
|Name of person||Image||Date of death||Details|
|Thomas Urquhart||1660||Thomas Urquhart, a Scottish aristocrat, polymath and first translator of François Rabelais's writings into English, is said to have died laughing upon hearing that Charles II had taken the throne.|
|James Betts||1667||James Betts died from asphyxiation after being sealed in a cupboard by Elizabeth Spencer, at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge in an attempt to hide him from her father, John Spencer.|
|François Vatel||24 April 1671||Vatel, the majordomo of Prince Louis II de Bourbon-Condè, was responsible for a banquet for 2,000 people hosted in honour of King Louis XIV at the Château de Chantilly, where he died. According to a letter by Madame de Sévigné, Vatel was so distraught about the lateness of the seafood delivery and about other mishaps that he committed suicide with his sword, and his body was discovered when someone came to tell him of the arrival of the fish.|
|Molière||17 February 1673||The French playwright Molière suffered a pulmonary hemorrhage caused by tuberculosis while playing the character Argan, a severe hypochondriac, in his own play Le malade imaginaire (The Imaginary Invalid). He disguised his convulsion as part of his performance and finished out the show, which included a scene in which the character he was playing faked his own death to find out how his wife really felt about him. After the show, Molière's actual wife, who played the daughter of his character, realized that he really was ill and carried him across the street to their house in the same chair he had pretended to die in as part of the performance, he began coughing up blood and she sent for a priest to hear him renounce his acting career so he could be buried on sacred ground, but Molière died before a sympathetic priest could be found.|
|Bhai Mati Das||1675||Bhai Mati Das, Bhai Sati Das and Bhai Dayala are revered as early Sikh martyrs. By order of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, Bhai Mati Das was executed by being bound between two pillars and sawn in half, while his younger brother Bhai Sati Das wrapped in cotton wool soaked in oil and set on fire and Bha Dayala was boiled in a cauldron full of water and roasted over a block of charcoal. All three were particularly calm during the torture.|
|Jean-Baptiste Lully||22 March 1687||Jean-Baptiste Lully, the French composer, died of a gangrenous abscess after accidentally piercing his foot with a staff while he was vigorously conducting a Te Deum. It was customary at that time to conduct by banging a staff on the floor, he refused to have his leg amputated so he could still dance.|
|Stanisław Leszczyński||23 February 1766||The former King Stanisław I of Poland, father-in-law of Louis XV of France, died in 1766, at the rare age of 88, as a result of serious burns: his silk attire caught fire from a spark while the King was snoozing near the fireplace in his palace in Lunéville on 5 February. Leszczyński was badly burned when the servants rescued him after a while, but he breathed his last after many days of agony.|
|Adolf Frederick, King of Sweden||12 February 1771||Adolf Frederick, King of Sweden, died of digestion problems on 12 February 1771 after having consumed a meal of lobster, caviar, sauerkraut, smoked herring, and champagne, topped off with 14 servings of his favourite dessert: semla served in a bowl of hot milk, called "hetvägg". He is thus remembered by Swedish schoolchildren as "the king who ate himself to death."|
|Frantisek Kotzwara||2 September 1791||While he was in London, Kotzwara visited a prostitute named Susannah Hill in Vine Street, Westminster. After dinner with her in her lodgings, Kotzwara paid her two shillings and requested that she cut off his testicles. Hill refused to do so. Kotzwara then tied a ligature around the doorknob, the other end fastened around his neck, and proceeded to have sexual intercourse with Hill. After it was over, Kotzwara was dead.|
|Name of person||Image||Date of death||Details|
|William Snyder||11 January 1854||William Snyder, a 13-year-old, died in San Francisco, California, when a circus clown swung him around by his heels.|
|Mathilda of Austria||6 June 1867||Archduchess Mathilda of Austria, daughter of Archduke Albrecht, Duke of Teschen, died at the age of 18 in Schloss Hetzendorf. She had put on a gauze dress to go to the theatre. Before leaving for the theatre, she wanted to smoke a cigarette but shortly thereafter her father, who had forbidden smoking, approached her, and she hid the cigarette behind her dress, immediately setting light to its very flammable material and giving her second and third-degree burns.|
|Clement Vallandigham||17 June 1871||Clement Vallandigham, a lawyer and Ohio politician defending a man accused of murder, accidentally shot himself and died while demonstrating how the victim might have accidentally shot himself. His client was cleared.|
|Henry Taylor||November 1872||Henry Taylor, a pall bearer at Kensal Green Cemetery in London, tripped over a stone and stumbled as he was carrying a coffin. The other pall bearers let go of the coffin and it fell on top of Taylor, crushing him to death in front of all the mourners; the widow of the man in the coffin reportedly "nearly went into hysterics".|
|Sir William Payne-Gallwey, 2nd Baronet||19 December 1881||Sir William Payne-Gallwey, a former British MP, sustained "severe internal injuries" when he fell over and landed on a turnip while out hunting. He died a few days later.|
|Allan Pinkerton||1 July 1884||Allan Pinkerton, the founder of the Pinkerton Detective Agency, was in Chicago, Illinois when he tripped on the pavement and severely bit on his tongue. His tongue became infected with gangrene, ultimately leading to his death.|
|Empress Elisabeth of Austria||10 September 1898||During a trip in Geneva, Empress Elisabeth of Austria was stabbed to death, with a thin file, by the Italian anarchist Luigi Lucheni. The weapon pierced the victim's pericardium, and a lung; because of the sharpness and thinness of the file the wound was very narrow and, due to pressure from Elisabeth's extremely tight corseting, which was usually sewn onto her, she did not notice what had happened (in fact she believed a simple passerby had hit her) and continued to walk for a while before collapsing.|
1901 – 1960
|Name of person||Image||Date of death||Details|
|Topsy the elephant||4 January 1903||Topsy was executed by poisoning, electrocution, and strangulation. A 74-second film of the electrocution was recorded and preserved, it may have been the first time death was ever captured in a motion picture film.[better source needed]|
|Unknown||Early 1903||An unnamed person was beaten to death with a Bible during a healing ceremony gone wrong in Honolulu. The victim was being treated for malaria when his family summoned a Kahuna who decided he was possessed by devils and tried to exorcise the demons; the Kahuna was brought up on a charge of manslaughter.|
|Mary the elephant||13 September 1916||The day after Mary, a five-ton cow elephant, killed a trainer for the Sparks World Famous Shows circus in Sullivan County, Tennessee, she was hanged by the neck from a railcar-mounted industrial crane.|
|Grigori Rasputin||30 December
[O.S. 17 December] 1916
|According to the Russian mystic's murderer himself, Prince Felix Yusupov, Rasputin consumed tea, cakes, and wine which had been laced with cyanide but he did not appear to be affected by the poison. 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 Rasputin's body and dropped it into the Malaya Nevka River.|
|Twenty-one people||15 January 1919||A large storage tank burst in Boston's North End, releasing a wave of molasses which killed 21 people and injured 150. This event was later dubbed the Great Molasses Flood.|
|George Herbert, 5th Earl of Carnarvon||5 April 1923||George Herbert, 5th Earl of Carnarvon, who financed Howard Carter's search for Tutankhamun, died after a mosquito bite, which he had cut while shaving, became infected. Some attributed his death to the so-called curse of the pharaohs.|
|Bobby Leach||1926||Bobby Leach, an American stunt performer, died after a botched amputation of the infected leg which he had broken after slipping on an orange peel.|
|Phillip McClean||1926||Phillip McClean, aged 16, and his brother were clubbing a cassowary on the family property in Mossman, Queensland, when the bird knocked him down, kicked him in the neck, and opened a large cut, leading to death from loss of blood.|
|Isadora Duncan||14 September 1927||Isadora Duncan, a dancer, broke her neck when her long scarf caught on the wheel of a car in which she was a passenger.|
|Gareth Jones||1958||Gareth Jones, an actor, died of a heart attack between scenes of a live television play, Underground. Other members of the cast improvised lines, such as "I'm sure if So‑and‑so were here he would say..." to compensate for Jones's absence. Coincidentally, Jones's character was supposed to die of a heart attack in a later scene of the play.|
|Name of person||Image||Date of death||Details|
|John A. Byrnes, Richard Leroy McKinley, and Richard C. Legg||1961||U.S. Army specialists John A. Byrnes and Richard Leroy McKinley and Navy electrician's mate Richard C. Legg were killed by a water hammer explosion during maintenance on the SL-1 nuclear reactor in Idaho.|
|Nick Piantanida||1966||Nick Piantanida, a skydiver, died four months after an attempt to break the record for the highest parachute jump; his suit had depressurized causing brain damage.|
|Name of person||Image||Date of death||Details|
|Georgy Dobrovolsky, Vladislav Volkov, and Viktor Patsayev||1971||Georgy Dobrovolsky, Vladislav Volkov, and Viktor Patsayev, Soviet cosmonauts, died when their Soyuz-11 spacecraft depressurized during preparations for re-entry. These are the only known human deaths outside the Earth's atmosphere.|
|Basil Brown||1974||Basil Brown, a 48-year-old health food advocate from Croydon, England, died from liver damage after he consumed 70 million units of Vitamin A and around 10 US gallons (38 litres) of carrot juice over ten days, turning his skin bright yellow.|
|Alex Mitchell||1975||After watching the "Kung Fu Kapers" episode of The Goodies, Alex Mitchell laughed continuously for 25 minutes and then fell dead on his sofa from heart failure.|
|Tina Christopherson||1977||Tina Christopherson died when she fanatically drank 4 US gallons (15 litres) of water a day to combat stomach cancer.|
|Tom Pryce and Frederick Jansen van Vuuren||1977||Tom Pryce, a driver in the 1977 South African Grand Prix, was killed alongside fire marshal Frederick Jansen Van Vuuren after being struck on the head by a fire extinguisher when his car, travelling at 170 miles per hour (270 km/h), hit Jansen Van Vuuren as he was running across the Kyalami race track to extinguish a burning car.|
|Kurt Gödel||1978||Kurt Gödel, an Austrian-American logician and mathematician, died of starvation when his wife was hospitalized. Gödel refused to eat food prepared by anyone else.|
|Robert Williams||1979||Robert Williams, a worker at a Ford Motor Co. plant, became the first person known to be killed by a robot when the arm of a factory robot struck him in the head.|
|John Bowen||1979||John Bowen, a 20-year-old from Nashua, New Hampshire, was killed at a half-time show at Shea Stadium when a 40-pound (18 kg) model plane shaped like a lawnmower crashed into the stands.|
|Name of person||Image||Date of death||Details|
|Boris Sagal||1981||Boris Sagal, a Ukrainian-American film director, died while shooting the TV miniseries World War III in Portland, Oregon, when he walked into the tail rotor blade of a helicopter and was partially decapitated.|
|David Grundman||1982||David Grundman, shooting at cacti with his shotgun near Lake Pleasant, Arizona, was crushed when a 4-foot (1.2 m) limb of the cactus detached and fell on him.|
|Tennessee Williams||1983||Tennessee Williams, an American playwright, died after accidentally choking on a plastic bottle cap which he was using to ingest barbiturates. Reports at the time of his death indicated he had died applying eyedrops while holding the cap between his teeth, but this was corrected in the official medical examiner's report six months later.|
|Truls Hellevik||1983||Truls Hellevik, a Norwegian diver, was explosively dismembered when accidentally exposed to an eight-atmosphere change in air pressure which instantaneously forced his body through a 60-centimetre-diameter (24 in) opening.|
|Dick Wertheim||1983||Dick Wertheim, a tennis linesman, died after a ball struck him in the groin and he fell out of his chair.|
|Jimmy Ferrozzo||1983||Jimmy Ferrozzo, a bouncer at the Condor Club in San Francisco, died while engaging in sexual intercourse with his girlfriend Theresa Hill on a grand piano that was lowered from the ceiling by a hydraulic motor. Ferrozzo accidentally activated the lifting mechanism which pinned him against the ceiling leading to his suffocation. Hill survived the accident.|
|Paul G. Thomas||1983||Paul G. Thomas, owner of a wool mill in Thompson, Connecticut, died of suffocation after falling into a machine in the wool mill and becoming wrapped in 800 yards (730 m) of wool.|
|Name of person||Image||Date of death||Details|
|Carl Beauford Terry and Linda Varnar Keath||1991||A male flight instructor and a female student, Carl Beauford Terry and Linda Varnar Keath, were killed when the Piper PA-34 Seneca airplane they were flying crashed, believed to have been caused by the two people having sex in the cockpit of the plane. Movements in the cockpit led to the stick being pushed down and the airplane exceeding its speed limitations and breaking off the right wing.|
|Brandon Lee||1993||Brandon Lee, 28-year-old film actor, martial artist, and son of Bruce Lee, was accidentally shot to death by co-star Michael Massee while filming a scene for The Crow, as the result of an improperly-loaded prop gun.|
|Garry Hoy||1993||Garry Hoy, a lawyer in Toronto fell to his death from the 24th floor of the Toronto-Dominion Centre while demonstrating to a group of visitors that the building's windows were "unbreakable". Hoy threw himself against the window, which did not break but popped out of its frame.|
|Gloria Ramirez||1994||Gloria Ramirez, 31, died from kidney failure related to her cervical cancer. While treating her, several of the hospital staff became ill, suffering from loss of consciousness, shortness of breath and muscle spasms. Shortly before dying, Ramirez was allegedly covered with an oily sheen, which smelled of fruit and garlic; when drawing her blood with a syringe, nurses noticed it had a smell similar to ammonia and there were unusual particles floating in it.|
|Jeremy Brenno||1994||Jeremy Brenno, 16, was killed on a golf course when, frustrated, he struck a bench with a 3-wood golf club. The shaft broke, bounced back at him, and pierced his heart.|
|Karen Wetterhahn||1997||Karen Wetterhahn, a professor of chemistry at Dartmouth College, died ten months after a few drops of dimethylmercury (an organomercury compound and one of the strongest known neurotoxins) landed on her protective gloves. Although Wetterhahn had been following the required procedures, the material permeated the gloves and her skin within seconds.|
|Jonathan Capewell||1998||Jonathan Capewell, 16, died from a heart attack brought on by the buildup of butane and propane in the blood after excessive use of deodorant sprays. Capewell was reported to have an obsession with personal hygiene. An autopsy showed that Capewell had 0.37 mg of butane per litre in his blood, and the same amount of propane, whereas 0.1 mg per litre can be fatal.|
|Betty Stobbs||1999||Betty Stobbs, 67, died after delivering a bale of hay to her sheep. The starving sheep rushed Stobbs, who was on her motorcycle. In the ensuing scuffle, Stobbs was knocked down into a deep ravine near Durham, England, and died when her motorcycle landed on her.|
|Name of person||Image||Date of death||Details|
|Bernd Brandes||2001||Bernd Brandes, a German engineer from Berlin, was willingly slaughtered so that he could be butchered and eaten by cannibal Armin Meiwes. Brandes had responded to an internet advertisement which Meiwes had placed for this purpose. In prison, Meiwes became a vegetarian.|
|David Phyall||2001||David Phyall, 50, the last resident in a block of flats due to be demolished in Bishopstoke, near Southampton, Hampshire, England, decapitated himself with a chainsaw to highlight the injustice of being forced to move out.|
|Brian Douglas Wells||2003||Brian Douglas Wells, a pizza delivery man from Erie, Pennsylvania, was killed by an explosive collar around his neck, as part of a bank-robbery scheme.|
|Hitoshi Nikaidoh||2003||Hitoshi Nikaidoh, a doctor in Houston, Texas, was decapitated after his head was trapped in the doors of an elevator at his workplace|
|Phillip Quinn||2004||Phillip Quinn, 24, from Kent, Washington, was killed when a lava lamp he was heating on a stove exploded, with a shard piercing his heart.|
|Kenneth Pinyan||2005||Kenneth Pinyan died from injuries caused by anal sex with a stallion.|
|Mildred Bowman and Alice Wardle||2005||Mildred Bowman, 62, and Alice Wardle, 68, were two sisters killed in Benidorm, Spain after becoming trapped for four days when their fold-up bed collapsed.|
|Humberto Hernandez||2007||Humberto Hernandez, a 24-year-old Oakland, California resident, was killed after being struck in the face by an airborne fire hydrant while walking. A passing car had struck the fire hydrant and the water pressure shot the hydrant at Hernandez with enough force to kill him.|
|Judy Kay Zagorski||2008||Judy Kay Zagorski was killed when a 75-pound (34 kg) spotted eagle ray leapt out of the water and knocked her over. The ray also died.|
|Unknown||2008||A 43-year-old Irish mother of four died of an allergic reaction after having sex with a German Shepherd dog.|
|Taylor Mitchell||2009||Taylor Mitchell, a 19-year-old Canadian folk singer, was killed by a pair of coyotes while hiking in Cape Breton Highlands National Park, in the only known fatal coyote attack on an adult.|
|Name of person||Image||Date of death||Details|
|Mike Edwards||2010||Mike Edwards, 62, cellist and a founding member of the band Electric Light Orchestra, died when a large round bale of hay rolled down a hill and collided with the van he was driving.|
|Jimi Heselden||2010||Jimi Heselden, 62, owner of Segway Inc., died after apparently riding a Segway Personal Transport System, his own product, off a cliff.|
|Jose Luis Ochoa||2011||Jose Luis Ochoa, 35, died after being stabbed in the leg at an illegal cockfight in Tulare County, California, by a bird with a knife-like spur strapped to its leg.|
|Edward Archbold||2012||Edward Archbold, 32, of West Palm Beach, Florida, choked on "arthropod body parts" during a cockroach-eating contest.|
|Erica Marshall||2012||Erica Marshall, a 28-year-old British veterinarian in Ocala, Florida, died when the horse she was treating in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber kicked the wall, released a spark from its horseshoes and triggered an explosion.|
|Elisa Lam||2013||Elisa Lam, from Vancouver, British Columbia, was missing for several weeks before being found dead in a large water tank on the roof of the Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles, after guests complained about the taste of the water.|
|Takuya Nagaya||2013||Takuya Nagaya, 23, from Japan, started to slither on the floor and claimed he had become a snake. Takuya died after his father spent the next two days head-butting and biting him "to drive [out] the snake that had possessed him."|
|Roger Mirro||2013||Roger Mirro was crushed by a trash compactor while looking through a dumpster for his phone.|
|Unknown||2013||An unnamed Belarusian fisherman, 60, bled to death after being bitten by a beaver which he had tried to grab in order to have his picture taken with it.|
|João Maria de Souza||2013||João Maria de Souza, 45, was crushed in his bed by a cow falling through the roof of his home in Caratinga, Brazil. The cow had climbed on top of the house from a steep hillside behind it. Both the cow and de Souza's wife (who had been in bed next to him) were unharmed.|
|Denver Lee St. Clair||2013||Denver Lee St. Clair was asphyxiated by an "atomic wedgie" administered by his stepson during a fight. After St. Clair had been knocked unconscious, the elastic band from his torn underwear was pulled over his head and stretched around his neck, strangling him.|
|Kendrick Johnson||2013||Kendrick Johnson, 17, was discovered trapped upside down in a rolled-up gym mat in his high school gymnasium. Police originally concluded he had climbed in to retrieve a shoe and became trapped, but the case was later reopened as a possible homicide.|
|Miguel Martinez||2013||Miguel Martinez, 14, from Lubbock, Texas, was impaled through the chest by the horn of a bull statue while playing hide-and-seek at night in front of the National Ranching Heritage Center.|
|Noah Barthe, Connor Barthe||2013||The two young brothers, aged 4 and 6, were killed by an African rock python during a sleepover in New Brunswick, Canada. The large snake had escaped a pet store and slithered up through ducts into the apartment where they slept. Though it suffocated the children it did not attempt to eat them.|
|Hayato Tsuruta||2013||Hayato Tsuruta, 28, from Japan, with intellectual disabilities, ran away from his residential facility and went to a supermarket. There he consumed so many doughnuts displayed that he choked to death.|
|Heval Yıldırım||2014||Heval Yıldırım, 13, of Turkey was killed when a sacrificial goat bought for Eid al-Adha jumped off the roof over a protective fence and fell onto him. Yıldırım's father placed the goat on the roof of the building where he lived because he could not find another suitable place to keep it.|
|Christophe de Margerie||2014||Christophe de Margerie, an oil executive, was killed when his corporate jet collided with a snowplow reportedly driven by a drunk driver.|
|Peng Fan||2014||Peng Fan, a chef in Foshan, China, was bitten by a cobra's severed head, which he had cut off 20 minutes earlier while preparing a soup.|
|Peter Biaksangzula||2014||Peter Biaksangzuala, an Indian association football player, died after sustaining spinal cord injuries while awkwardly landing a somersault celebrating a goal.|
|Chelsea Ake-Salvacion||2015||Chelsea Ake-Salvacion, 24, an employee of a Henderson, Nevada salon, was suffocated while using a cryotherapy machine set to the wrong level, which eliminated the oxygen in the chamber.|
|Ravi Subramanian||2015||Ravi Subramanian, an Air India technician, was sucked into an aircraft's jet engines.|
|Stephen Whinfrey||2015||Stephen Whinfrey, 50, became trapped and asphyxiated when rabbiting near Doncaster, England, after his head became stuck down a rabbit hole|
|V. Kamaraj||2016||V. Kamaraj, a 40-year-old Indian bus driver, was claimed by local Indian newspapers to have been killed by a meteorite which left a two-foot (61 cm) crater, although officials from NASA oppose that view saying that the most likely explanation was a land-based explosion.|
|Lottie Michelle Belk||2016||Lottie Michelle Belk, 55, was fatally stabbed in the chest by a beach umbrella blown by a strong wind. Wind speeds at the time reached 20–25 miles per hour (32–40 km/h).|
|Caleb Schwab||2016||Caleb Schwab, 10, was decapitated when he was ejected from his raft on Verrückt, a 168-foot-tall (51 m) water slide.|
|Irma Bule||2016||Irma Bule, 29, an Indonesian dangdut singer who performed with live snakes, died during a concert after being bitten by a king cobra and refusing treatment.|
|Lauren Seitz||2016||Lauren Seitz, 18, died June 19, 2016, from a brain-eating amoeba she acquired at the US National Whitewater Center in North Carolina.|
|Anton Yelchin||2016||Anton Yelchin, 27, an American actor known for portraying Pavel Chekov in the Star Trek reboot movie series, was found pinned between his car and a brick wall. His driveway is on an incline and his car was found running and in neutral.|
|Unknown||2016||A seven-year-old girl died after being struck by a stone thrown by an elephant from its enclosure at the zoo at Rabat, Morocco.|
|Kristopher Moules and Timothy Gibbons||2016||Kristopher Moules, 25, a Corrections Officer and Timothy Gibbons, 29, an out of county inmate being housed at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, fell to their deaths after an altercation between the two caused them to slam into the fifth floor elevator doors. Despite the elevator having its up-to-date working credentials, upon impact the elevator doors popped open, causing the two men to fall five flights down the elevator shaft to their deaths; the county declared CO Moules’ death a homicide and declared Gibbons’ death an accident.|
|Charlie Holt||2017||Charlie Holt, 5, was killed at the Sun Dial Restaurant, a rotating restaurant at the top of Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia; his head was caught in a small space between the rotating and non-rotating sections.|
|Akbar Salubiro||2017||Akbar Salubiro, a 25-year old man, was killed and swallowed by a reticulated python in Indonesia, in the first fully confirmed case of a snake swallowing an adult human. A second case in Indonesia happened the following year, when another reticulated snake killed and swallowed an adult woman in her garden.|
|Robert Dreyer||2017||Robert Dreyer, 89, drowned on his birthday after crashing his car into a fire hydrant. Dreyer successfully stepped out of his car, but was swallowed by a sinkhole likely created as a result of the destruction of the fire hydrant and subsequent water pressure.|
|Debra Bedard||2017||Debra Bedard, 58, died after falling from a golf cart onto shards of wine glasses that had broken in her hands in Calaveras County, California.|
|Rebecca Burger||2017||Rebecca Burger, 33, a fitness blogger and model, died after a pressurized canister of whipped cream exploded and struck her in the chest.|
|Hidr Korkmaz||2017||Hidr Korkmaz, 42, a Turkish-Dutch drug dealer and informant, died while fishing when he threw his fish hook into an electric wire. Though he was a witness in the case against infamous Dutch criminal Willem Holleeder, he was not important to the case and authorities treated it as an accident.|
|Arslan Valeev||2017||Arslan Valeev, 31, died in Saint Petersburg, Russia, after enticing a pet black mamba to bite him live on webcam in an apparent suicide.|
|Rajesh Maru||2018||Rajesh Maru, 32, died at Nair Hospital in Mumbai after carrying a metal oxygen tank into a room housing an MRI scanner; the machine's magnetic field pulled Maru in, pinning his hand and breaching the tank, releasing liquid oxygen. A hospital employee had asked Maru to transport the tank, as Maru's hospitalized relative would need it during her scan. An autopsy showed that Maru died instantly from pneumothorax brought on by exposure to very high levels of leaked oxygen. Conflicting reports state two or three hospital employees were arrested for negligence; the Maharashtra state government compensated Maru's family 500,000 rupees.|
|Elaine Herzberg||2018||Elaine Herzberg, a 49-year-old woman in Tempe, Arizona, died after being hit by a self-driving car operated by Uber, as she crossed the road, in what was reported to be the first death of a pedestrian struck by a self-driving car on public roads. In response to the fatal accident, Uber suspended self-driving car tests in all U.S. cities.|
|Ateef Rafiq||2018||Ateef Rafiq, 24, died from cardiac arrest in a cinema in Birmingham, England whilst looking for his dropped mobile phone. His head became wedged under the electronic footrest of a seat.|
|Jennifer Riordan||2018||Jennifer Riordan, 43, a passenger aboard Southwest Airlines Flight 1380, died after debris from an engine failure struck and destroyed the window she was sitting next to. She was partially sucked out through the window, but was pulled back into the aircraft and was given CPR until an emergency landing was made, she died upon arrival at hospital with her cause of death determined to be blunt trauma to the head, neck and torso.|
|Hildegard Whitling||2018||Hildegard Whiting, 77, died of suffocation from the carbon dioxide vapors produced by four dry ice coolers in a Dippin' Dots delivery car. The car was borrowed by the deliveryman's wife to take Whiting home.|
|John A. Korody||2018||John A. Korody, 61, died after falling into a vat of cooking oil and grease while standing on a grate in Orange County, Florida, near Orlando. Co-workers were unable to rescue him due to the strong fumes.|
|Sam Ballard||2018||Sam Ballard, 29, died from angiostrongyliasis after eating a garden slug as a dare eight years earlier.|
|Linda Goldbloom||2018||Linda Goldbloom, 79, died after being hit by a foul ball at Dodger Stadium. Goldbloom’s death was the first in nearly 50 years directly attributed to a foul ball.|
|Salvator Disi||2019||Salvator Disi, 62, was decapitated while using a power cart to jump start a helicopter in Hernando County, Florida. The unexpected up and down motion of the helicopter caused the rotor blades to strike Disi.|
|Paul McDonald||2019||Paul McDonald, 47, was attacked and killed by a pet deer on his property in north-east Victoria, Australia.|
- Autoerotic fatality
- Dancing plague of 1518
- Darwin Awards
- Death by coconut
- Death from laughter
- Execution by elephant
- List of causes of death by rate
- List of inventors killed by their own inventions
- List of last words
- List of people executed for witchcraft
- List of people who disappeared mysteriously
- List of wheel-well stowaway flights
- Spontaneous human combustion
- 1000 Ways to Die
- Toilet-related injuries and deaths
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Fatal accidents did occur as in the case of Arrhichion, but they were very rare...
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Heracl[t]ius, the Ephesian, fell into a dropsy, and was thereupon advised by the physicians to anoint himself all over with cow‑dung, and so to sit in the warm sun; his servant had left him alone, and the dogs, supposing him to be a wild beast, fell upon him, and killed him.
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Ctesias, the Greek physician to Artaxerxes, the king of Persia, gives an appallingly detailed description of the execution inflicted on a soldier named Mithridates, who was misguided enough to claim the credit for killing the king's brother, Cyrus...
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Charles II. King of Navarre, by a vicious life in his youth, fell into a paralytic distemper in his old age, that took away the use of his limbs, his physicians directed him to be sewed up in a sheet that had for a considerable time been steeped in strong distilled spirits, to recover the natural heat of his benumbed joints. The surgeon having sewed him up very close, and wanting a knife to cut off the thread, made use of a candle that was at hand to burn it off; but the flame from the thread reaching the sheet, the spirits wherewith it was wet immediately taking fire, burnt so vehemently, that no endeavours could extinguish the flame, thus the miserable King lost his life in using the means to recover his health.
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