The 1999 Awards
15 July 1999, Alabama: A 25-year-old soldier died of injuries sustained from a 3-story fall, precipitated by his attempt to spit farther than his buddy. His plan was to hurl himself towards a metal guard-rail while expectorating, in order to add momentum to his saliva. In a tragic miscalculation, his momentum carried him right over the railing, which he caught hold of for a few moments before his grip slipped, sending him plummeting 24 feet to the cement below. The military specialist had a blood alcohol content of 0.14%, impairing his judgement and paving the way for his opportunity to win a Darwin Award.
11 August 1999: A 42-year-old man killed himself watching the eclipse while driving near Kaiserslautern, Germany. A witness driving behind him stated that the man was weaving back and forth as he concentrated on the partially occluded sun, when he suddenly accelerated and hit the bridge pier. He had apparently just donned his solar viewers, which are dark enough to totally obscure everything except the sun.
25 May 1999, Ukraine: A fisherman in Kiev electrocuted himself while fishing in the river Tereblya. The 43-year-old man connected cables to the main power supply of his home, and trailed the end into the river. The electric shock killed the fish, which floated belly-up to the top of the water. The man waded in to collect his catch, neglecting to remove the live wire, and tragically suffered the same fate as the fish. In an ironic twist, the man was fishing for a mourning meal to commemorate the first anniversary of his mother-in-law's death.
16 August 1999, Germany: A hunter from Bad Urach was shot dead by his own dog on Monday. The 51-year-old man was found sprawled next to his car in the Black Forest. A gun barrel was pointing out the window, and his bereaved dog was howling inside the car. The animal is presumed to have pressed the trigger with its paw. Police have ruled out foul play (as there was no evidence of chickens present) 1991, Nicosia, Cyprus: Under similar circumstances, an Iranian hunter was shot to death near Tehran by a snake that coiled around his shotgun as he pinned the reptile to the ground. Another hunter reported that the victim, named Ali, tried to catch the snake alive by pressing the butt of his shotgun behind its head. The snake coiled around the butt and pulled the trigger, shooting Ali in the head.
August 1999, Australia: Drinking oneself to death need not be a long lingering process. Allan, a 33-year-old computer technician, showed his competitive spirit by dying of competitive spirits. A Sydney hotel bar held a drinking competition, known as Feral Friday, with a 100-minute time limit and a sliding point scale ranging from 1 point for beer to 8 points for hard liquor. Allan stood and cheered his winning total of 236, (winners never quit!) which had also netted him the literally staggering blood alcohol level of 0.353. After several trips to the usual temple of overindulgence, the bathroom, Allan was helped back to his workplace to sleep it off, a condition that became permanent. A forensic pharmacologist estimated that after downing 34 beers, 4 bourbons, and 17 shots of tequila within 1 hour and 40 minutes, his blood alcohol level would have been 0.41 to 0.43, but Allan had vomited several times after the drinking stopped. The cost paid by Allan was much higher than that of the hotel, which was fined the equivalent of $13,100 US dollars for not intervening. It is not known whether Allan required any further embalming.
28 January 1999, London: A flock of sheep charged a well-meaning British farmer's wife and pushed her over a cliff to her death. Betty Stobbs, 67, was charged by dozens of sheep as she brought them a bale of hay on the back of a power bike. The sheep rushed forward and rammed the vehicle, knocking Betty and her bike over the edge of a vacant 100' quarry near Durham, in north eastern England. "I saw the sheep surround the bike. The next thing she was tumbling down the incline," neighbour Alan Renfry told reporters.
First Runner Up Award goes to ...
22 March 1999, Phnom Penh: Decades of armed strife have littered Cambodia with unexploded munitions and ordnance. Authorities warn citizens not to tamper with the devices. Three friends recently spent an evening sharing drinks and exchanging insults at a local cafe in the south eastern province of Svay Rieng. Their companionable arguing continued for hours, until one man pulled out a 25-year-old unexploded anti-tank mine found in his backyard. He tossed it under the table, and the three men began playing Russian roulette, each tossing down a drink and then stamping on the mine. The other villagers fled in terror. Minutes later, the explosive detonated with a tremendous boom, killing the three men in the bar. "Their wives could not even find their flesh because the blast destroyed everything," the Rasmei Kampuchea newspaper reported.
And the 1999 Darwin Award winner is.....
5 September 1999, Jerusalem: The switch away from daylight savings time caused consternation among terrorist groups this year. At precisely 5:30 Israel time on Sunday, two co-ordinated car bombs exploded in different cities, killing three terrorists who were transporting the bombs. It was initially believed that the devices had been detonated prematurely by Klutzy amateurs. A closer look revealed the truth behind the untimely explosions. Three days before, Israel had made a premature switch from daylight savings time to standard time in order to accommodate a week of Slihot, involving pre-sunrise prayers. Palestinians refused to "live on Zionist time." Two weeks of scheduling havoc ensued. The bombs had been prepared in a Palestine-controlled area, and set on Daylight Savings time. The confused drivers had already switched to standard time. As a result, the cars were still en-route when the explosives detonated, delivering to the terrorists their well-deserved demise.
The 1997 Awards
5th Runner Up: A San Anselmos, CA man died yesterday when he hit a lift tower at the Mammoth Mountain ski area while riding down the slope on a foam pad, authorities said. Matthew Hubal, 22, was pronounced dead at Centinela Mammoth Hospital. The accident occurred about 3 a.m., the Mono County Sheriff's department said. Hubal and his friends apparently had hiked up a ski run called Stump Alley and undid some yellow foam protectors from a lift tower, said Lieutenant Mike Donnelly of the Mammoth Lakes Police Department. The pads are used to protect skiers who might hit the towers. The group apparently used the pads to slide down the ski slope and Hubal crashed into a tower. It has since been investigated that the tower he hit was the one with its pad removed.
4th Runner Up: Poacher, Marino Malerba of Spain, who shot a stag standing above him on an overhanging rock, was killed instantly when it fell on him.
3rd Runner Up: Robert Puelo, 32, was apparently being disorderly in a St. Louis market. When the clerk threatened to call police, Puelo grabbed a hot dog, shoved it in his mouth, and walked out without paying for it. Police found him unconscious in front of the store; paramedics removed the 6 inch wiener from his throat, where it had choked him to death.
2nd Runner Up: Man Loses Face at Party. A man at a West Virginia party popped a blasting cap into his mouth and bit down, triggering an explosion that blew off his lips, teeth and tongue, State police said. Jerry Stromeyer, 24, of Kincaid, bit the blasting cap as a prank during a party late Tuesday night. Another man had it in an aquarium, hooked to a battery and was trying to explode it. "It wouldn't go off and this guy said, "I'll show you how to set it off." He put it in his mouth and bit down, blasting away his facial regions and parts of his mouth. Stromeyer was listed in guarded condition Wednesday with extensive facial injuries, according to a spokesman at Charleston Area Medical Division "I just can't imagine anyone doing something like that."
1st Runner Up: Doctors at Portland's University Hospital said an Oregon man shot through the skull by a hunting arrow is lucky to be alive, and will be released soon from the hospital. Tony Roberts, 25, lost his right eye last weekend during an initiation into a men's rafting club, Mountain Men Anonymous, In Grants Pass, Oregon. A friend tried to shoot a beer can off his head, but the arrow entered Roberts right eye. Doctors said had the arrow gone 1 millimeter to the left, a major blood vessel would have been cut and Roberts would have died instantly. Dr. Johnny Dalashaw at the University Hospital in Portland said the arrow went through 8 to 10 inches of brain, with the tip protruding at the rear of his skull, yet somehow managed to miss all major blood vessels. Had Robert tried to pull the arrow out on his own he surely would have killed himself. Roberts admitted afterwards, he and his friends had been drinking that afternoon. Said Roberts, "I feel so dumb about this". No charges have been filed but the Josephine County district attorney's office said the initiation stunt is under investigation.
THE WINNERS: John Pernicky and his friend, Sal Hawkins, of the State of Washington, who decided to attend a local Metallica concert at the Amphitheater at Gorge, AS. Having no tickets (but 18 beers among them) they thought it would be easy enough to hop over the 9 foot high fence and sneak into the show. The 2 friends pulled their pickup truck over to the fence, and the plan was for John - 100 pounds heavier than Sal - to hop over, and then assist his friend over the fence. Unfortunately for John, there was a 30 foot drop on the other side of the fence. Having heaved himself over, he found himself crashing through a tree. His fall was abruptly halted by a large branch which snagged him by his shorts. Dangling from the tree, with one arm broken, John locked down and saw a group of bushes below him. Possibly figuring the bushes would break his fall, John removed his pocket knife and proceeded to cut away his shorts to free himself from the tree. Finally free, John crashed below into Holly bushes. The sharp leaves scratched his entire body and now being without his shorts, he was the unwilling victim of a holly branch penetrating his rectal cavity. To make matters worse, his pocket knife proceeded to fall with him and landed 3 inches into his left thigh. Seeing his friend in considerable pain and agony, Sal decided to throw him a rope and pull him to safety by tying the rope to the pickup truck and slowly driving away. However, in his drunken stupor, Sal put the truck into reverse rather than first, and crashed through the fence, landing on and killing his friend. Sal was thrown from the truck, suffered massive internal injuries and died at the scene. Police arrived to find a pickup truck with its driver thrown 100 feet from the truck. Upon moving the truck they found the dead John under it, half naked, with scratches, a holly stick up his rectum, a knife in his thigh and his shorts dangling from the tree branches 25 feet in the air.
Japan Times -- April 16, 1997 "The government must crack down on this disgusting craze of "Pumping"," a spokesman for the Nakhon Ratchasima hospital told reporters. "If this perversion catches on, it will destroy the cream of Thailand's manhood." He was speaking after the remains of 13 year-old Charnchai Puanmuangpak had been rushed into the hospital's emergency room. "Most 'Pumpers' use a standard bicycle pump," he explained, "inserting the nozzle far up their rectum, giving themselves a rush of air, creating a momentary high. This act is a sin against God." Charnchai took it further still. He started using a two-cylinder foot pump, but even that wasn't exciting enough for him, and he boasted to friends that he was going to try the compressed air hose at a nearby gasoline station. They dared him to do it so, under cover of darkness, he snuck in. Not realising how powerful the machine was, he inserted the tube deep into his rectum, and placed a coin in the slot. As a result, he died virtually instantly, but passersbys are still in shock. One woman thought she was watching a twilight fireworks display, and started clapping. "We still haven't located all of him." say the police authorities. "When that quantity of air interacted with the gas in his system, he nearly exploded. It was like an atom bomb went off or something." "Pumping is the devil's pastime, and we must all say no to Satan," Ratchasima concluded. "Inflate your tires by all means, but then hide your bicycle pump where it cannot tempt you."