There are many different cases where people have taken part in an activity
that was meant to be fun, only to find out that they have placed themselves in a
deadly situation. Not all of these activities appear to be dangerous. In fact
some of them are routinely quite fun and would seem quite harmless. The sad
reality is that for all of these people discussed here, death resulted. The fact
is that nothing is truly safe. You can die from something incredibly dangerous
or something that seems fairly innocuous.
14) Hazing Gone Wrong
This is what a typical hazing event looks like:
Hazing has been a part of American history since the
1600’s. Over one million students are hazed every year. Fifty-five percent of
these have involved teams, organizations, or clubs. In most cases, the students
who organize hazing rituals view it as something fun to do with new members of
their group. In these students’ minds, the behavior that is displayed is
socially acceptable and is not meant to be taken seriously. However, these acts
often involve underage drinking, physical and mental abuse, and humiliating acts
for the new person in the group. Though the group of students may not intend any
actually harm to come to the recruit, these rituals have ended in death on many
One hazing incident resulted in the death of George Desdunes, who was trying
to join the Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) fraternity at Cornell University. In early
February of 2011, George and one other student were kidnapped by SAE recruits.
The recruits drove the two students to a fraternity house. Once there, Desdunes
and the other student were bound with zip ties around their hands and their feet
and blind folded. As far as initiation activities go, this particular one was
quite straight forward. The fraternity would ask the two student’s questions
specific to the fraternity’s history. For each question answered incorrectly, a
shot of vodka would have to be taken. The students were also fed pixy stix,
strawberry syrup, hot sauce, and sandwiches.
The process went on for a few hours before Desdunes passed out. Other members
of the fraternity took Desdunes to the fraternity house. Upon arrival, the
fraternity brothers discovered that the door to his room was locked. They laid
Desdunes on the couch in the library and left. When the cleaning crew came a few
hours later, they discovered Desdunes' lifeless body. According to the coroner,
Desdunes had choked on his own vomit during the course of the night. The New
York Times ran a
full story on this young man's tragic death, and it spurred on
numerous inquiries into the regular hazings that many students endure.
13) Bungee Jumping Deaths
Though this activity can be safely done, there have been
cases where it has turned deadly. In May of 2002, Alberto Galletti and
girlfriend Tiziana Accorra attempted a tandem bungee jump in Arrone, Italy. The
bridge that the couple jumped from had been opened for six years, and had never
had any such accident or fatal mishap occur. That evening, however, the two snap
hooks attached to Alberto and Tiziana snapped. The owner of the facility
insisted that the connections had been tested, and that the exact same
connections had been used on a tandem jump only hours before. What was supposed
to be an adventurous date for the couple turned into a tragedy for the couple
and their loved ones.
In a similar situation, Matthew E. Coleman took a vacation to Switzerland.
Just before Mother's Day, he decided to call his mother just to tell her he
loved her and to wish her a happy Mother's Day in advance. According to the
Baltimore Sun, it turned out to be the last phone call he ever made. After
making the phone call, he went out on a bungee jumping expedition. Everything
went according to plan until it was Coleman's turn to jump. When he did, he
struck the ground headfirst. The long elastic rope turned out to be too long,
and he was killed on impact. It was considered an unnecessary tragic accident.
The Swiss authorities said that it was one of the saddest things to do to have
to call a mother on Mother's Day and tell her that her son had died.
12) Skydiving Deaths
In March of 2013, diving instructor Orvar Arnarson and pupil
Andrimar Pordarson were both killed in a skydiving accident in Florida. When the
sky divers participated in the fatal act, they had just completed two other
jumps hours before. According to the official reports, the skydivers were unable
to deploy their parachutes, and the backup parachutes were not deployed soon
enough. When the two divers did not return from their third jump, a search and
rescue party went looking for them.
Their bodies were discovered the next
morning about 30 miles from Tampa, Florida according to the Orlando News.
In another deadly skydiving mishap, a marine who was skydiving for training
purposes died. The incident took place in Riverside County, California, and is
not the only training session to result in death in recent months. Caleb Medley
was a trained skydiver who had never had any issues with his training
exercises. This time, however, Caleb was unable to open his parachute due to
malfunctions. The emergency parachute, which should have kicked in,
malfunctioned as well. According to authorities, a full investigation will be
held to determine why the parachute had malfunctioned.
11) River Rafting Deaths
In September of 2012, guide Rory Fay guided Richard Clar and
Tamara Blake down the Hudson River in a river rafting expedition. While on their
journey, Blake and Fay were ejected from the raft in white water. While Clar was
able to guide the raft to the shoreline, Blake and Fay fought to get to the
shore. Fay eventually met up with Clar, and the two began searching for Blake.
Fearing the worst, the two men contacted authorities. After authorities began
Moyie River Rafting:
Blake’s body was discovered five miles down the stream. As if the
death of Blake was not bad enough, authorities determined that Fay was
intoxicated. Fay was eventually tried, and he pled guilty to homicide under a
criminal negligence theory. He was sentenced to a year in jail and five years of
10) Surfing Deaths
Surfing is one of those activities that looks cool and feels cool.
Some of the greatest waves can be caught in the most dangerous places. While
many people have drowned while surfing, a number have also died by shark attack.
According to Shark Week, shark attacks are less likely to occur than being
struck by lightning. However, those odds change drastically when you're surfing
in shark infested waters.
California Surfer Surfing the Santa Cruz Region Along the Northern CA
By Brocken Inaglory
via Wikimedia Commons
According to the Huffington Post, a French couple who had just gotten married
went out surfing on an island east of Madagascar. The shark came up and attacked
the husband twice after the wife went back to shore. While one swimmer tried to
save him, another went to get help. The brave swimmer managed to wrestle the
injured man free from the shark, and he dragged him to shore with the help of
the lifeguards. However, by that time, it was too late. This occurred just at
the beginning of May 2013, and the beach is still closed after several other
shark attack incidents and shark charges occurred.
Newport Beach Surfer:
Even without sharks, surfing can be hazardous. According to UPI.com, a body
surfer went out to catch some waves off Newport Beach. The day started out
beautifully. Everything seemed to be going well. All at once, the water changed,
and the waves suddenly became much more violent. The current took him out and
then slammed him down onto the rocks. While the rescuers were able to get to him
within minutes, he had been crushed by the pressure of the water and the rocks.
He died on impact. The official report states that he was thrown up twenty feet
into the air before crashing onto the rough rocks. While this was tragic, the
lifeguards were able to rescue the other three surfers who had been dragged out
to sea by the same waves.
9) American Football Deaths
During this tragic football game, Al Lucas, a defensive
lineman, suffered spinal cord injuries. He was playing arena football for the
Los Angeles Avengers at the time. During this game, the Avengers were playing
against the New York Dragons. Lucas played the defensive line to start off. The
tragic event took place in the first quarter of the game. While the Dragons
Corey Johnson and Mike Horacek ran interferences up the left side of the field,
Lucas ducked to avoid a blocker. Lucas collided with both Dragons players at the
15 yard line. During the collision, Johnson’s knee and upper thigh collided with
Lucas’ head at the wrong angle. When the team doctors ran out onto the field,
they immediately knew that the injury was severe, but they didn't realize that
it would be fatal. The doctors loaded Lucas onto a stretcher and took him to
California Hospital Medical Center. Lucas was pronounced dead shortly after. It
was determined by the coroner’s office that the cause of death was blunt force
trauma to the spinal cord.
Al Lucas (# 71):
8) Golfing Deaths
Golfer Hiroshi Tango:
When people think of golfing, they hardly ever think about it as a
dangerous sport. The sport is supposed to be relaxing, and so it's no wonder
that people don't think that they might risk dying. However, in October of 2010,
that’s exactly what happened according to CBS. While Hiroshi Tango was playing a
friendly game of golf, a golf ball struck him in the head. Tango was immediately
taken to Loma Linda University Medical Center. Despite the medical team’s best
efforts, Tango died nine days later.
In another, more gruesome incident, a 16 year old boy was killed while
playing golf. In 1994, Jeremy Brenno became angered when he missed a shot. The
boy became so angered that he struck the bench with his gold club. When the club
hit the bench, the shaft broke, and bounced back at Brenno, piercing his heart.
The boy was taken to the nearest hospital, but could not be revived.
"Uncle John's Bathroom Reader" details another odd series of deaths relating
to golf. Over the course of a few weeks, several of the golf patrons of a
particular golf course in Florida started falling ill. Three of them died.
During the autopsy, the doctors identified poison as being the cause, but the
three men had nothing in common.
It was not until later after additional
illnesses that the doctors realized the source: golf tees. The landscaper had
been using a special pesticide over the golf course, unaware that some of the
golfers chewed on the golf tees. The pesticides started to accumulate in their
systems, and it proved to be deadly for some.
7) Baseball Deaths
Baseball doesn't have as many injuries as sports like soccer and
football. But sometimes even baseball ends with the death of a player. In 1920,
baseball player Ray Chapman died while playing for Cleveland. In the fatal play,
Chapman was up to bat, and Yankees pitcher Carl Mays was pitching. Not one
person watching could have suspected what was about to happen. When Mays threw
the ball, he threw an all-famous spit ball. Covered in spitting tobacco, the
ball raced towards Chapman. The tobacco made the ball difficult to see, and
Chapman could not react fast enough. Instead of hitting a home run, Chapman fell
to the ground when the spitball hit him in the head. Chapman was rushed to a
nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead 12 hours later. This particular
play led to the banning of spitballs, and laid the framework for helmets to be
mandatory when batting. It is also considered one of the most tragic deaths in
baseball, according to "Tragedies on the Diamond."
Another tragic occurrence happened in 2011 at the Texas Rangers stadium, but
involved the death of a fan rather than a player. Super fan Shannon Stone
attended the game with his young son, Cooper. Sitting in the left field stands,
Shannon was enjoying a day of baseball with his boy. Shannon was, therefore,
elated when Josh Hamilton indicated that he wanted to toss him a ball to give to
his son. It is one of those events that every baseball fan hopes for, and yet it
ended so tragically. In an attempt to catch the ball from Hamilton, Shannon
leaned out too far, lost his balance, and fell to his death over the stands. As
Shannon’s son screamed for his dad, Hamilton froze in horror. Paramedics rushed
Shannon to the hospital, but it was already too late.
A considerate gesture by a
great player ended in the death of a devoted father, husband, and baseball fan.
Hamilton had a hard time living down the guilt. He blamed himself for the event
though, as stated in the Telegraph, there was no way he could have known what
would have happened. Here is a video of this tragic event:
6) Death Singing at a Concert
In 1972, Les Harvey of Stone the Crows took the stage
during the show at Swansea University to perform a sound check for that nights
show. It was a show that he would never make it to. When Harvey approached the
microphone, there was no reason to suspect that it was not grounded like it was
supposed to be. So without reservation, Harvey gripped the microphone with his
wet hands. Almost instantly, Harvey was electrocuted and killed.
Of course, dying while performing is not so unusual. In fact, there are some
who believe it is the greatest honor that a performer can receive. According to
"They Went Thataway," Moliere, a French actor, died from a coughing fit while
depicting a character who was dying from a coughing fit on stage. The great
concert pianist Simon Barere died from a massive cerebral hemorrhage while
playing Grieg's Piano Concerto in A Minor at Carnegie Hall. In another stroke of
irony, Gareth Jones died of a heart attack while depicting a character who was
dying of a heart attack in Armchair Theater's Underground.
5) Roller Coaster Deaths
Roller coaster rides form wonderful summer pastimes, but
they can also be quite dangerous. They have had their share of accidents and
deaths like every other ride in amusement parks. One particularly gruesome
roller coaster incident took place in Sao Paulo, Brazil. While visiting
amusement park Hop Hari, a 14 year old female decided to ride on La Tour Eiffel.
The ride cars were to be lifted up to the top of a structure that was 224 feet
tall. Once they reached the top, riders were dropped 129 feet at speeds of 60
miles per hour. During this particular ride, the young girl was told to sit in
seats that had not worked in over ten years. Her seat belt did not fasten. As
other riders experienced the thrill from the first drop, the girl was thrown
from the faulty seat. She landed face first in front of the base of the tower,
and was rushed out of the park. The girl was declared dead on her way to the
hospital, according to the Rio Times.
In a touch of tragic irony, Ranker tells the story of the early days of the
first indoor roller coaster. The ride instructor had decided to make a video of
the ride since all of the customers were so afraid of the ride being dangerous.
He could only convince three people to get on the ride. The video depicts him
explaining how safe the ride was. Then the roller coaster took off. At the end
of the ride though, all of the cars braked but the last one. It flipped off its
hinges and dragged the rest of the coaster off the track. Two of the passengers
were killed immediately, but one survived. He remained crippled for the rest of
4) Laughing Deaths
Laughing is something that almost everyone enjoys. From the
Three Stooges to comic strip to something that just tickles you the wrong way,
you can't avoid laughing your whole life. The thought of actually dying while
you are laughing probably has not crossed your mind, but it is possible and it
has happened, more than once. On one specific occasion, a man named Ole Bentzen
laughed so hard at a scene from “A Fish Called Wanda” that it caused him to have
a heart attack, which led to his death. According to "Death by Laughter," there
was nothing that anyone could do to stop him. His companions tried everything
they could to make him stop, but nothing worked.
On another occasion, Greek artist Zeuxis found a painting of an old woman so
funny that he could not control his laughter. Because of his uncontrollable
laughter, Zeuxis could not catch his breath, and he ended up choking to death.
According to "Unusual Ways to Die," this is considered one of the first recorded
instances of death by laughter.
3) Tennis Death Like baseball, tennis is not one of the more violent sports. But
that doesn't mean that it hasn't had its share of tragedies. In 1983, a game of
tennis went horrifically wrong. As linesman Dick Wertheim watched tennis player
Stefan Edberg battle against his daily opponent, a rogue tennis ball hit him
directly in the groin. The hit caused Wertheim to topple back in his chair, and
he smacked his head on the ground with a great force.
Line Judge on the Center Line at Wimbledon's Center Court:
Wertheim was then rushed
to the hospital for treatment. Unfortunately, the treatment he received could
not save him, and he died five days later.
2) Death Playing Video Games
In many game related deaths, players become so
obsessed with gaming that they become extremely violent. These violent gamers
will often take out their anger and aggressor on anyone around them. In 2007, a
13 year old boy became so obsessed with playing his online games that he became
violent, according to MSN. The boy, known as Dinh the Dan brutally murdered an
81 year old woman and stole money to help him fund his addiction for online
gaming. According to the police report, Dinh first strangled the woman with
rope, and then buried her in front of his house. The boy is currently serving
time in a re-education camp.
Gamer Dinh the Dan:
The violence is not always turned outward. According to the Guardian, a 12
year old Japanese girl committed suicide when she failed in a massive campaign
on World of Warcraft. She had invested hours and hours of her time and amassed
quite a stock of gold and loyalty to her cause. When the mission failed, she
decided to take her own life by throwing herself out the window of her family's
apartment on the 17th floor. Tragically, her death turned out to not be the only
one like it, but it did bring national awareness to the problem of suicidal
teenagers in Japan.
Not all video game deaths come about because of a blurring of reality.
According to "Video Game shockers," one eight year old boy died from exhaustion
and seizures after playing his Nintendo straight through for a whole week
without stopping. The mother sued Nintendo, but the lawsuit failed as Nintendo
was determined to not be responsible since they were not the boy's parents. The
mother apparently did not try to stop him from playing because she did not want
to upset him.
1) Scuba Diving Deaths
Few things are as incredible as scuba diving. Through scuba
diving, you can experience the gorgeous world of the ocean. However, the ocean
is a dangerous place, though it isn't necessarily just the ocean that makes it
dangerous. In one scuba diving case, a young girl who was uncomfortable with
diving allowed her dive-buddy to talk her into diving anyways. The young girl
was without a working buoyancy control device (BCD), but she convinced herself
that she would be all right throughout the dive even though her first dive
proved how unprepared she was. During her second dive, the young girl panicked
when she realized that her BCD was not working.
Her diving buddy made several
attempts to assist her by trying to give her an alternate air source regulator,
but she refused. Her panic got even worse, and she made a dash for the surface.
With multiple weights attached to her, she was unable to make it to the surface.
Attempts from her dive buddy and the local life guard to resuscitate her were
unsuccessful. In this particular case, the girl allowed her panic and lack of
confidence to control her.
In one of the most famous scuba diving accidents though, the Sun revealed
that it's not always the ocean or drowning that causes death while scuba
diving. Steve Irwin, the popular Crocodile Hunter, was out scuba diving on a
shoot when a sting ray impaled him.
The moment, though captured on film, was so
horrifying that his wife and daughter asked that it be restricted. According to
"Surprising Facts about the Ocean," Steve Irwin's death actually led to
officials to reconsider a number of other supposed scuba diving accidents.
Deaths in the ocean and while scuba diving require a certain amount of
speculation as there is generally no body. Sting rays may actually be
responsible for as many as 10 percent of scuba related diving accidents,
according to current estimates.