Society - People
By: - at June 18, 2013

14 Fun Activities That Have Ended Up In Death

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:
Typical hazing event

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 occasions.

George Desdunes:
George Desdunes

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.

By Che010 via Wikimedia Commons

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.

Bungee Jumping from Kolnbreinsperre:
Bungee Jumping from Kolnbreinsperre
By Franz Egger via Wikimedia Commons

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.

skydiving participants dangerous deaths

Their bodies were discovered the next morning about 30 miles from Tampa, Florida according to the Orlando News.

skydiving deaths
By Ann W via Wikimedia Commons

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 searching,

Moyie River Rafting:
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 probation.

Raft on Nantahala River:
Raft on Nantahala River
By anoldent via Wikimedia Commons

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 Coastline:
Surfing Deaths California Surfer Surfing the Santa Cruz Region Along the Northern CA Coastline
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:
Newport Beach Surfer

Even without sharks, surfing can be hazardous. According to, 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):
#71 Al Lucas

8)  Golfing Deaths

Golfer Hiroshi Tango:
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.

golfing related death

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."

Chapman Monument Located at Progressive Field Cleveland, OH:
raymond johnsons chapman memorial Chapman Monument Located at Progressive Field Cleveland, OH
By MamaGeek via Wikimedia Commons

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
Les Harvey of Stone the CrowsIn 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.

"La Tour Eiffel" Hop Hari Sao Paulo, Brazil:
"La Tour Eiffel" Hop Hari Sao Paulo, Brazil
By Loprete via Wikimedia Commons

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 his life.

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.

death by laughter fish called wanda Ole Bentzen
By Quentin X via Wikimedia Commons

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:
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:
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.

Gamescom 2011 Featuring Blizzard and World of Warcraft:
Gamescom 2011 Featuring Blizzard and World of Warcraft
By Marco Verch via Wikimedia Commons

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.

scuba diving and way to die doing something fun

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.

Steve Irwin:
Steve Irwin

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.





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