Every kid in the world is told by their parents: accidents happen. Of course, they’re usually referring to spilled milk or something of that nature, not a person accidentally getting a fully grown cow dropped on their house. That kind of thing is what we call a “freak accident,” and they tend to happen a lot more than you may think.
Not all freak accidents are deadly, but a lot of them tend to be. Unless the accident is particularly bizarre, we only tend to hear about it if it involves someone dying. The term “freak accident” can range from an overturned car to...well...some of the things you’re going to read about.
Many of the people involved in these accidents are no longer with us, which is unfortunate. Some of them are still alive, though, which makes their accidents even more wild. People die in car accidents every day, but a kid survived getting speared through the head? That just doesn’t seem right. Some people are just luckier than others, but this is a list that is mostly comprised of the unlucky. Sure, some people got lucky with their bad luck, but fate still put them in harm’s way to begin with.
15 Toilet IED
We’ll start this off with a relatively funny situation in which nobody died. There is a lot of death coming up, so this will serve as an appetizer for the main course.
In 2013, a New York man named Michel Pierre was living in an apartment building with faulty plumbing. The water was shut off and was under maintenance. When it was turned back on, Pierre went to relieve himself. When he flushed, the toilet exploded which sent shrapnel flying.
Pierre required stitches for his injuries, but the real wound was internal. According to his interviews after the incident, Pierre now uses a rope to flush the toilet from out of the room. That’s all he can do to use the thing at all anymore.
14 Dishwasher Stabbing
Home appliances aren’t playing around, and it seems as though they may have an ax to grind with their masters. This year, a 31-year-old woman was killed in Scotland when she stumbled and fell into her open dishwasher. She landed on the silverware section, and the knives that were sticking out impaled her. She was rushed to a local hospital, but died from her injuries.
If everything is as it appears, then this is truly a freak accident. Apparently, the woman was a visitor at the home when the accident occurred, and the owner of the home was a reverend at a local church. He was not home at the time, and police believe there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding her death.
What a way to die. This woman may have been helping her reverend unload his dishwasher when she was killed by the knives. That should teach you not to do other people’s dishes.
13 Frozen Solid
Cryotherapy is a new kind of rehabilitation therapy that is currently being used for athletes and active individuals. It works by using nitrogen to cool the chamber, which can reach as low as -265 degrees Fahrenheit. This kind of therapy is supposed to boost the immune system, prevent inflammation, and help people recover from injury. It could be the real deal, but the FDA isn’t regulating it and it hasn’t been proven as an effective treatment for anything yet.
In 2015, a 24-year-old employee at a Nevada spa, named Chelsea Ake-Salvacion, decided to take a dip in the cryotherapy chamber after her shift ended. She was alone in the facility and was found the next day in the chamber, dead and completely frozen. Though it’s not entirely clear what happened to her, it is believed that she dropped her phone, reached for it, and lost consciousness. The cause of death was ruled as asphyxiation.
12 Passed Out Behind The Wheel
Motorcycle drivers are prone to devastating accidents, which is one reason why there seems to be so many road rage videos involving them. They take road safety seriously, but no amount of caution would have prevented Matthew Brealy’s accident.
In 2010, Brealy was riding his motorcycle down the road at around 50 mph, when he was struck in the head by a low-flying pigeon. The impact knocked Brealy unconscious, but he didn’t fall off the bike. Instead, Brealy kept right on driving, as his unconscious body propelled the bike faster, reaching a speed of 140 mph before crashing.
Brealy veered into a tree, but the crash only affected the bike and sent him flying into the road. While he suffered a broken leg, two skull fractures, and other injuries, Brealy was able to survive and rehabilitate himself.
11 Cockroach-Eating Competition
A Florida man was competing in a cockroach eating competition at a Florida (figures) pet store in 2012 when things took a turn for the worse. The competition was hosted by a local pet store, and the owner of the store put up a python for whichever person could eat the most cockroaches in a sitting. The owner of the store undoubtedly knew there would be some vomit involved, but it’s unlikely that he predicted exactly what took place.
Edward Archbold, a 32-year-old contestant, was dead-set on winning the grand prize. He was well ahead of the field, but continued to stuff his face full of cockroaches to pad his lead. Unfortunately, his eyes were bigger than his stomach and he ended up choking on one of the cockroaches. Police did a toxicology on Archbold and found no drugs or alcohol in his system, meaning his death was entirely caused by a rogue cockroach that decided to take Archbold down with him.
10 Buried Alive
Being buried alive is one of everyone’s greatest fears, and in 2015, a New Delhi man was unwittingly buried alive after a long night of drinking.
The road quality in India is notoriously poor, mostly caused by the rampant monsoons in the area. Crews are routinely paving the roads and covering holes, which was the case in 2015 when this incident occurred. A crew of workers were busy covering a hole, but didn’t think to look down before they finished their work.
The crew had finished their work by flattening the road with a steamroller and went home to their families. It wasn’t until the next day that someone noticed an arm sticking out of the road. Latori Barman had been buried by the crew after passing out drunk. After they left, he attempted to free himself and was almost to the top before passing out and dying. The two crew members who were in charge of the project were charged and held accountable for the man’s death.
9 Twice Dead
Being buried alive would certainly be one of the worst experiences imaginable, and Los Angeles woman Maria de Jesus Arroyo experienced something similar when she had a heart attack in 2010. She was sent to the hospital after the attack, but doctors were unable to save her life...or so they thought.
Hospital officials put Maria in a body bag for the night. When they came back, they noticed something strange. The body bag had been opened part of the way, and Maria had some facial injuries that were not present during the previous day’s examination.
Doctors examined the body, and soon concluded that Maria had been alive when she was stashed away. She had survived the heart attack, but died for real when she was sent to the freezer in the hospital.
8 Lightning Strikes Twice
Lightning is supposedly never supposed to strike the same place twice. That sounds like one of those things we’ve all heard but isn’t really true. Lightning is lightning. It will strike wherever and whenever it feels like striking. Sure, hitting the same spot twice in a row is unlikely, but that doesn’t mean it never happens. In 2013, Casey Wagner found out that this was an old wives’ tale the hard way, and walked away to tell about it.
Wagner was seeking refuge from a storm and ended up standing under a tree. Everyone knows that trees and other tall objects are the first place to hide in the event of a lightning storm. That’s storm-hiding 101. Well, the tree got hit by lightning, sending Wagner to the ground. The understanding of what had happened barely sunk in when the second bolt of lightning struck him in the foot.
Depending if you’re a glass half-empty or half-full kind of person, Wagner can be considered lucky that he walked away with his life, though a strong case could be made for him having terrible luck.
7 Vengeful Fish
Some Tanzanian fisherman were out for out for a routine day of catching perege one day in 2016, but no one could expect the tragedy that was about to take place. The men were fishing and dumping their catches in the boat at their feet. Many of the fish were still alive, but the fishermen kept on adding to their plunder.
The fish that were still living were flopping around in the boat, as fish normally do. One of the fish got some serious air, and found its way into one of the fisherman’s (Robert Mwaijega’s) mouth. The fish continued to wiggle until it maneuvered its way down the man’s throat and into his chest. His buddies tried to help, but there was nothing they could do but watch.
Mwaijega made it to the hospital and was about to undergo life-saving surgery, but died shortly after from asphyxiation. The doctors still removed the fish from his chest after his death. No one in the village had seen anything like this, but it will undoubtedly be a cautionary tale to other fishermen in the area.
6 Trashy Commute
No one likes the commute home from work. It’s slow and painstaking, and everyone just wants to get home and unload. One 27-year-old New Jersey man was killed on his way home from work just this week. He was sitting in gridlocked traffic when a garbage truck fell from the sky and crushed him.
Brian Claussen of Old Bridge was waiting for his turn to move another five feet, when a garbage truck landed on his car, crushing him and killing him instantly. The truck was entering the Route 9 south ramp, which crosses over the Route 9 bridge to Sayreville, which is where Claussen was waiting in traffic. The truck tipped over and off of the ramp, landing on Claussen’s car and killing him.
If you end up making it home this afternoon, count yourself lucky when you sit down and have a beer. That was likely Claussen’s last wish.
5 Free Bodywork
It’s a bit underrated how dangerous the road can be. Driving in a car is one of the most dangerous things people can do on a daily basis, so it should come as no surprise that some bizarre crashes can take place.
James Crawford learned this in 2012 when he was driving his van on the New Jersey Turnpike. There was a construction on the side of the road, and the man maneuvering a steel beam on his crane wasn’t quite on-the-ball. The beam hovered over traffic, and came low enough to rip the entire roof off of Crawford’s van.
Miraculously, Crawford was able to pull over and wait for a tow truck after the ordeal. He had some minor injuries, including a broken thumb, but was able to walk away from the crash without any nicks that were too substantial.
4 It’s Raining Cows
There are a lot of things to worry about when you lay down to sleep at night, but no one is lying awake with the thought of a cow plunging through their ceiling and killing them. For Brazilian man Joao Maria de Souza, though, this absurd hypothetical thought became a reality.
In 2013, Joao was sleeping in his bed with his wife. Their house was built next to a steep hill. Apparently, a cow escaped from a local farm that night. The cow climbed the hill and somehow made it to the victim’s roof. Cows are pretty heavy, and Joao’s roof wasn’t that strong. The roof gave way and dropped the 3,000-pound cow on top of Joao.
He didn’t die instantly, but perished in the hospital the next day. Surprisingly, his wife, who was sleeping next to him at the time, escaped unscathed.
3 Heavy Traffic
In 2013, on her way home from college, Morgan Lake was sitting in traffic on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. Suddenly, she saw a tractor-trailer barreling down on her with no time to stop. She braced for impact and was propelled forward into the barrier. The truck wasn’t done with her yet, as it hit her car a second time, sending it up and over the three-foot-tall barrier and into the water below.
Her car was badly damaged by the time it reached the water, meaning the car sunk immediately. Water was rushing in through the broken windows, but Lake was able to keep her composure long enough to escape. She held her breath, unbuckled her seat belt, climbed out her broken window, and swam to safety. Lake (who’s name has a hint of irony to it) was lucky to escape with her life, and only had a few cuts and bruises.
2 Swallowed By The Escalator
Parents are always warning their children about the dangers of untied shoes and wandering fingers on escalators, but few could predict the type of danger one woman faced in a Chinese mall.
In 2015, 30-year-old Xiang Liujuan was at the mall with her two-year-old son. She was riding the escalator down, but when she reached the bottom, the panel gave way, sending her falling into the deadly gears of the machine. She was able to toss her young son to safety, but it was too late for her. Liujuan was chewed up and killed by the machine in front of her son and other onlookers. It took rescue officials hours before they were able to remove her body from the escalator.
Apparently, the workers who had been repairing the escalator had failed to properly secure the bottom panel after they were finished working. This woman’s death is something that these workers will have to live with for the rest of their lives.
1 Spear Through The Head
This story needed no hyperbole in the title, as it’s probably the weirdest and most dangerous entry on this list. As we’ve seen, people have perished on far less deadly accidents, but this Florida man was an exception.
In 2012, Yasser Lopez went spear fishing with a few of his buddies. Lopez seems to have blocked part of the story out in his mind, but the main point is that a spear ended up lodged in the 16-year-old’s skull.
Lopez was still conscious when he got to the hospital, and doctors were able to tell that the spear went directly through the kid’s head. It hadn’t fully exited, but the medical professionals could feel it pushing against the back of his skull.
Lopez lost some motor function for a while after the incident, but survived and was able to make a full recovery (though he still has little memory of how the spear got there in the first place).
Sources: dailymail, patch, washingtonpost
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