The Darwin Awards

Phil the test manager, Going Postal

Named in honour of Charles Darwin, the father of evolution, the Darwin Awards commemorate those who improve our gene pool by removing themselves from it.

Some of you will be familiar with the Darwin awards, but for those that are not, you do get some strange deaths, and whilst of course sad, these tongue in cheek stories do bring a smile for those of us who are left.  The awards have been going since 1995, and the main link is here: Darwin_Awards

To give you a flavour, below are some of my favourites (not sure if that is the right word):

2008Adelir Antonio, 51, was not so lucky (Video)

A Catholic priest ascended to heaven on a host of helium balloons, paying homage to Lawn Chair Larry’s aerial adventure. In 1982, Lawnchair Larry attached 45 weather balloons to his lawnchair, packed a picnic lunch, and cut the tether–but instead of drifting above Los Angeles as planned, he was rocketed into LAX air traffic lanes by the hefty lift of the balloons!

The priest did take numerous precautions, including wearing a survival suit, flying a buoyant chair, packing a satellite phone and GPS. However, the late A.A. made a fatal mistake — he did not know how to use the GPS. The winds changed, as winds do, and he was blown inexorably toward open sea. He could have parachuted to safety while over land but chose not to. When the voyager was perilously lost at sea, he finally phoned for help–but rescuers were unable to determine his location since he could not use his GPS. He struggled with the unit as the charge on the mobile dwindled and died.

2009 – (Paint job)

Two disguised men entered a Sprint store on Sparkleberry Lane, pulled out guns, and stole wallets, purses, and credit cards from employees before ordering them into a bathroom. Both men fled, but they could not flee from their own stupidity. 23-year-old James T. had disguised himself by painting his face gold.

In order to conceal his identity during the robbery, James had covered his skin with spray paint. Paints are clearly labelled, do not get on skin, do not get in eyes, and do not inhale. Paint fumes are well-known to be toxic, and the metallic colours are particularly noxious. James began having trouble breathing and died wheezing shortly after the robbery took place.

2010DARWIN AWARD WINNER OF THE CENTURY! Angry Wheelchair Man, the rashly rushing rammer who epitomises the downfall of the human race.

(25 August 2010, Daejon, South Korea) An angry handicapped man, annoyed that an elevator departed without him, thinks it over before ramming his wheelchair into the doors (bam!) once, twice, three times in all. Success and failure combined as he gained access to the elevator, and plunged down the rabbit hole to his death. This 40-year-old man earns immortality as an irritated Darwin Award winner. [Video below is PG] Man V Lift

2014 – Double Darwin Award!

(2 March 2014, Netherlands) Two intoxicated men dared each other to test their courage against an intercity train at a Rotterdam train station. At 1800 hours on a Sunday evening, the station was crowded with more than 300 fans returning from a soccer-match pitting Feyenoord against Ajax at De Kuip.

The two men stepped off the platform and strode forth onto the tracks. One super-daredevil lay down between the tracks, intending to prove that the entire train would pass over him. His friend was less confident and he merely knelt down next to the track and kept his head as close as possible to where he thought the train’s profile would be. Turns out that the 130 km/h train that came down the track some seconds later was both lower and wider than they thought. They were killed instantly.

2016 – (Distracted Driver)

Referred to as a “distracted driver,” Clifford Ray Jones, 58, was driving without trousers — without seatbelt — and with a porno flick screening on his mobile device. Add a wide-open sunroof on a cold winter Sunday, and you have a recipe for disaster.

He should have kept his hands on the wheel instead of the stick. At 3:40am Clifford’s Toyota went out of control on the onramp to I-75, rolled, and crashed, ejaculating our hero through the sunroof in a spectacular climax to his life. Come and gone.

My personal favourite:

1995 – The Arizona Highway Patrol were mystified when they came upon a pile of smouldering wreckage embedded in the side of a cliff rising above the road at the apex of a curve. The metal debris resembled the site of an airplane crash, but it turned out to be the vaporized remains of an automobile. The make of the vehicle was unidentifiable at the scene.

The folks in the lab finally figured out what it was, and pieced together the events that led up to its demise.

It seems that a former Air Force sergeant had somehow got hold of a JATO (Jet Assisted Take-Off) unit. JATO units are solid fuel rockets used to give heavy military transport airplanes an extra push for take-off from short airfields.

Dried desert lakebeds are the location of choice for breaking the world ground vehicle speed record. The sergeant took the JATO unit into the Arizona desert and found a long, straight stretch of road. He attached the JATO unit to his car, jumped in, accelerated to a high speed, and fired off the rocket.

The facts, as best as could be determined, are as follows:

The operator was driving a 1967 Chevy Impala. He ignited the JATO unit approximately 3.9 miles from the crash site. This was established by the location of a prominently scorched and melted strip of asphalt. The vehicle quickly reached a speed of between 250 and 300 mph and continued at that speed, under full power, for an additional 20-25 seconds. The soon-to-be pilot experienced G-forces usually reserved for dog-fighting F-14 jocks under full afterburners.

The Chevy remained on the straight highway for approximately 2.6 miles (15-20 seconds) before the driver applied the brakes, completely melting them, blowing the tires, and leaving thick rubber marks on the road surface. The vehicle then became airborne for an additional 1.3 miles, impacted the cliff face at a height of 125 feet, and left a blackened crater 3 feet deep in the rock.

Most of the driver’s remains were not recovered; however, small fragments of bone, teeth, and hair were extracted from the crater, and fingernail and bone shards were removed from a piece of debris believed to be a portion of the steering wheel.

Ironically a still-legible bumper sticker was found, reading
“How do you like my driving? Dial 1-800-EAT-SHIT.”

The current leader for 2018 is:

(28 January 2018, Selangor Malaysia) Zaim Kosnan spotted a twelve-foot reticulated python dozing on the side of the road. “That sizeable snake is worth money!” The 35-year-old prepared for this windfall with gloves and a sickle.

Sweet success! Swiftly was the first round won, and triumphantly Zaim held the reptile’s head high as he transported it home by motorbike.

Swinging in the air, the displeased captive made a counter-move and wrapped its body round and round its captor, constricting in self-defense. Zaim swerved off the road and the results of Round Two became apparent to passers-by the next morning.  They killed The 3.5 meter snake to free the man’s body, and a post-mortem confirmed his death by strangulation.

Take care everyone.

© Phil the test manager 2018

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