The theme of the movie series Final Destination is very simple – Death has a plan and if you mess up his plan, he will come back and get you. When he does you’re almost guaranteed to die in a horrible freak accident of some kind. The premise is that you can’t cheat death, although the characters spend a lot of time trying to do just that. The franchise released five movies in total, from 2000 up until 2011. Fans who love slasher movies with a freaky theme just couldn’t seem to get enough.
Now if you’re a fan, you’ll agree that we all have our own favorite Final Destination death scene. The creators are so imaginative when it comes to crafting weird freak-accidents. Most fans loved the grisly logging truck pileup at the beginning of Final Destination 2, although we’re pretty sure that has inspired a new kind of paranoia among us when we spot lumber vehicles on the road.
The movies speak to one of our primal fears – death. We know we all have to die, but to think that our deaths are predestined is even more terrifying. And yet freak accidents happen all the time. And sometimes people even manage to escape one accident just to die in another – just like in the movies.
Here are 15 stories that could have been ripped straight out of a Final Destination movie.
15 Entire Football Team Killed By Lightning
The odds of this next freak accident occurring must have been astronomical but nevertheless, it happened. In 1998, in the Republic of the Congo, during a football match between the Bena Tshadi team and visitors Basangaa, a sudden bolt of lightning struck all 11 members of the visiting team, killing them instantly. A few others were seriously injured, but the home team players emerged completely unscathed.
The event outraged soccer fans who started throwing around accusations of witchcraft shortly afterward. In central and western Africa, witchcraft is commonly blamed for hostile natural phenomena. Witch-doctors are frequently hired to place curses on opposing football teams. Whether or not this was the work of a hex or just an unlikely accident, we’ll never know but it sure is freaky.
14 She Survived One Shooting Just To Die In Another
Jessica Redfield was a pretty redhead from Texas who loved blogging and wanted to become a sportscaster. She had just started an internship at a Denver radio station when she had a life-changing experience – she survived a mall shooting.
She was in the Eaton Center food court moments before Christopher Husbands opened fire on the patrons, killing one person and injuring five others. Jessica wrote on her blog about having a funny feeling that night and stepping outside for some fresh air – a decision that saved her life.
But just one month later Jessica attended a screening of The Dark Knight Rises at a movie theater in Aurora. Unfortunately for her, this was the night that James Holmes went on the rampage inside the theater and shot 80 people, 12 of whom died. Jessica was among the fatalities.
13 Young Star Trek Actor Killed In “Freak Accident”
Freak accidents are the foundation for any good Final Destination movie, but these kinds of things really do happen in real life. Just look at the case of Star Trek actor Anton Yelchin, who was killed in his own home last year.
Yelchin, who is best remembered for his portrayal of Pavel Chekov in the Star Trek reboot series, was found dead at his home Studio City, California, by his friends on the 19th of June 2016. They discovered him pinned between his Jeep Grand Cherokee and a brick pillar outside his home. It seems he had gotten out of the car and the vehicle had rolled down the steep driveway, pinning him to the gate. An autopsy revealed that he had died from traumatic asphyxiation. He was just 27 years old.
12 This Woman Survived 9/11 But Then…
Hilda Yolanda Mayol considered herself to be very lucky. She was fortunate enough to have been able to survive the attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001 so she had a good reason for believing this. Hilda had been working in a restaurant on the ground floor and had managed to flee between the time that the airplanes impacted and the buildings collapsed. 2,996 other people weren’t so fortunate that fateful day.
But, in a life twist straight out of Final Destination, her luck only lasted for two months. Hilda was among the 260 passengers killed when American Airlines Flight 589 crashed in the New York borough of Queens on November 12. She was on her way to the Dominican Republic to see her family. There were no survivors from the crash.
11 He Choked On What?
Tennessee Williams is considered to be among the three foremost playwrights in 20th-century American drama, but his life certainly wasn’t easy. He struggled through years of obscurity and many of his early works were critical and commercial failures.
Williams suffered from severe depression and to add to the problem, he developed a substance addiction as well. He used increasing amounts of drugs and alcohol to try and deal with his anxiety and sometimes smoked up to two packets of cigarettes a day. It was medication that finally did him in but not in the way you’re imagining.
He was found dead in his hotel suite on February 25th, 1983 at the age of 71. An autopsy revealed that Williams had choked to death from inhaling the plastic cap of a bottle which may have contained nasal spray or eye solution.
10 The Case Of The Deadly Scarf
Isadora Duncan was somewhat of a celebrity in her day. She was a pioneering America ballet dancer who performed throughout Europe during the peak of her career. She was born in California in 1877 and moved to Western Europe in her early twenties.
Isadora was an eccentric woman in her time. She publicly supported communism, rejected Christianity in favor of atheism, and was openly bisexual. She lived a full and exciting life and was well respected in the performing arts community for her approach to dance.
Isadora’s death is a textbook example of a freak accident. The 50-year-old was killed when the scarf she had been wearing became entangled in the wheels and axle of the car she was riding in. The scarf tightened quickly around her neck and the force hurled her out the car, breaking her neck and killing her instantly.
Interesting note: today in modern medicine the term Isadora Duncan Syndrome refers to injury or death following entanglement of neckwear with a wheel or other machinery.
9 A Very Unfortunate Series Of Events
Death often seems to have a knock-on effect; one death leads to another. But this story just takes it to a whole different level.
This unfortunate series of events occurred in Buenos Aires in 1983. It started when a small dog slipped and fell out of a 13th-floor window of an apartment building. A 75-year-old pensioner who happened to be walking on the pavement outside the building was killed when the dog landed on her head. That’s two fatalities already and we’re only halfway.
An onlooker was so startled when she saw the accident happen that she stepped into the street and was hit by a bus. She died instantly. Lastly, a man who had witnessed both accidents suffered a fatal heart attack and collapsed.
Steve Irwin’s death was sad because he was a much-loved TV personality, but it was also extremely ironic. It may even be proof that if you tempt death enough, it will catch up with you.
Irwin, also known as “The Crocodile Hunter” was an Australian nature expert who achieved worldwide fame from the internationally broadcast documentary series, The Crocodile Hunter. Audiences loved his expressive speech, especially his catchphrase “Crikey!”, and his seemingly fearless attitude when it came to snakes, spiders, lizards, and, as his nickname suggested, crocodiles.
Steve was pierced in the chest by a stingray barb while snorkeling off the coast of Port Douglas in Queensland, Australia on the 4th of September 2006. He was filming an underwater documentary at the time and died from cardiac failure shortly afterward. He was only 44 years old.
7 Crushed By A Taco Bell Sign
Okay, this one is guaranteed to make you feel a bit paranoid. I really hope for your sake that you’re not reading this in a fast food parking lot. If so you may just want to move your car.
This story falls squarely in the “wrong place at the wrong time” category. Diana Durr, a woman from Nebraska, died when a 75-foot Taco Bell sign fell on the top of the truck cab she was in and crushed her. Diana had gone to the parking lot to meet a couple who wanted to buy some dogs from her and told her to meet them “right underneath the big Taco Bell sign.” The pole holding the sign up broke about 15 feet above the ground after it was pounded by heavy winds.
6 Famous Last Words, “It’s Safe, I Swear”
Garry Hoy was a well-respected and educated man. He was a professional engineer and a senior partner at the Holden Day Wilson Law firm in Toronto, Canada. But it wasn’t his work that earned him a Wikipedia page, it was his unusual death.
Garry would often throw himself against a window on the 24th floor of the office tower that his law firm was situated in. He performed this stunt many times to prove to visitors that the glass was “unbreakable” and always bounced harmlessly off the glass.
But his luck ran out on the 9th of July 1983. Hoy bounced off the glass the first time but went for it again and this time the entire window popped out of its frame, sending him plummeting to his death 984 feet down.
5 Death By Chocolate – Literally
Working at a chocolate factory sounds like a dream job doesn’t it? It brings to mind images of Charlie and The Chocolate Factory – rivers of delicious brown gold and sweet treats as far as the eye can see. Now that sure does sound like a dream.
But for Vincent Smith, an employee of the Cocoa Services Inc., this dream turned into a nightmare – a deadly nightmare.
Vincent had a fatal accident at work. He was busy loading chunks of chocolate into a large melting tank when he slipped and fell in. The tank was full of liquid chocolate heated to around 120F and as he fell he was knocked unconscious by one of the mixing handles. It took rescuers 10 minutes to get him out by which time he had already drowned.
4 Roller Coaster Operator Caught By Hair
Amusement parks ignite both fear and excitement in most people. Yes, you can enjoy an incredible adrenaline rush on the rides, but there’s also always that fear – what if something goes wrong?
The guys behind the Final Destination movies capitalized on this universal fear when they made the third movie in the series which opens with a terrifying roller coaster accident.
Freak accidents at theme parks aren’t just movie fiction, they really do happen from time to time. And just like the movies they can be deadly.
Just take the case of Doug McKay, an American amusement park operator, who was killed when his arm and hair got caught in a speeding coaster car. The car pulled him up 40 feet into the air and he plunged down back first into a fence.
3 Sucked Out Of Plane After Explosive Decompression
Aloha Airlines flight 243, a Boeing 737-297 took off from Hilo on its way to Honolulu on the 28th of April 1988 with ninety passengers and four crew members. Among them was chief flight attendant, Clarabelle Lansin.
About halfway through the flight, Clarabelle was collecting empty drink cups in the fifth row when the bulk overhead suddenly tore loose causing explosion decompression in the cabin. She was sucked through the hole in the side of the airplane. Her body was never found.
Incredibly the plane managed to land safely and although many were seriously injured Clarabelle was the only fatality. The section of the jet that tore off measured 18 feet long, and spanned the length of the airplane cabin. This section was also never recovered.
2 The First Man Killed By A Robot
The word “robot” was invented by playwright Karel Capek for his play R.U.R - Rossum’s Universal Robots which premièred in 1920. He based the word on the Czech word “robota” which means forced labor. The word entered the English language in 1923.
On the 58th anniversary of the premiere of R.U.R, there was another first in the robot world. Robert Williams, a worker at a Ford Motor Co. plant, became the first known human to be killed by a robot after the heavy arm of a one-ton factory robot hit him in the head. At the time Robert had been gathering parts in a storage facility where the huge robot also retrieved parts.
A jury later agreed that the accident had been caused by lack of safety measures and his family was awarded $10 million in compensation.
1 Bitten By A Severed Snake Head
Cobra flesh is considered a delicacy in China and is thought to promote good health. The flesh of the snake is used to make a soup which is highly sought after in high-end restaurants.
In 2013, Peng Fan, a chef from Foshan, Southern China tragically died while preparing this dish. As he had done many times before he severed the head of an Indochinese spitting cobra, put it aside and sliced up the body for the soup. Twenty minutes later he was finished preparing the soup and picked up the snake's head to throw it away. The snake's jaw snapped shut and injected him with neurotoxic poison.
Experts say that all reptiles can function reflexively for up to an hour after losing body parts, or even their whole body.