The 20 Most Unusual Deaths Of The 21st Century

Every year over 55 million human beings die, so it’s to be expected that some of them pass away in less than ordinary circumstances. These 20 unfortunates, however, died in some of the most bizarre ways imaginable. Death by underpants? Check. Killer hay bales? Check. Being willingly eaten by another person? Check. Prepare to be horrified.

20. V. Kamaraj

In February 2016 V. Kamaraj became the first person in modern times – and possibly the first person ever – to lose their life after being hit by a meteorite. The unfortunate bus driver was reportedly struck by the space rock, which also left behind a 4-foot crater. It happened while he was walking the campus of Bharathidasan Engineering College in southern India.

19. Joao Maria de Souza

It had started just like any other night, but this particular evening in July 2013 would end in tragedy for Joao Maria de Souza, 45. While he was sleeping at his home in Caratinga, southeast Brazil, a cow, which had apparently walked away from a nearby farm, suddenly fell through the ceiling and crushed him to death. His wife – and, indeed, the bovine – survived unscathed.

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18. Peng Fang

Chef Peng Fang was attempting a pretty challenging dish back in 2014 – one made from the meat of a spitting cobra. But 20 minutes after he’d decapitated the snake at a restaurant in Guangdong province, the highly venomous creature still somehow managed to bite him. And by the time medics appeared, the unfortunately named Fang was already dead.

17. Edward Archbold

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In 2012 Edward Archbold ate over 60 grams of mealworms, a bucketload of roaches and 35 giant worms – enough for him to win the bug-eating competition he’d entered. However, the 32-year-old Floridian collapsed and died at the scene, with doctors later confirming that he’d succumbed to “asphyxia due to choking and aspiration of gastric contents.”

16. Denver Lee St. Clair

Brad Davis, 35, was handed a 30-year jail sentence in July 2015 after pleading guilty to the first-degree manslaughter of his 58-year-old stepdad. Eighteen months previously, while the pair were fighting, Davis had pulled his relative’s underpants up over his head. Tragically, though, the garment’s elastic waistband ended up strangling him. The defendant referred to his accidental crime as an “atomic wedgie.”

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15. Robert Mwaijega

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One day in 2016, fisherman Robert Mwaijega had taken a decent haul of fish from one of the rivers around Lake Nyasa, Tanzania. One of the fish managed, however, to jump from the boat’s floor right the way into the 47-year-old’s mouth and down his gullet to his chest. Mwaijega, suddenly unable to breathe, choked and died shortly afterwards.

14. Mike Edwards

Well-known British cellist Mike Edwards – who once played with the group Electric Light Orchestra – was tragically killed in September 2010 in a particularly unusual car accident. While he was driving along a main road in Devon, southwest England, his van was struck by a rolling hay bale. The offending object weighed 1,300 pounds, which meant that, sadly, Edwards, 62, had no chance.

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13. Judy Kay Zagorski

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In 2008 Michigan resident Judy Kay Zagorski was traveling in a boat on Florida’s Vaca Key when a stingray weighing 75 pounds suddenly leapt from the water. The sea creature, which had a wingspan of around 6 feet, collided with Zagorski’s face. Moreover, the force of the impact was so strong that she was killed.

12. Steve Irwin

Legendary Australian wildlife TV presenter Steve Irwin died doing what he loved best – documenting some of the world’s deadliest animals. In September 2006 he was working off the coast of Queensland, Australia, when he was stabbed multiple times in the chest by a stingray’s tail. Sadly, he bled to death within minutes.

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11. Philip Quinn

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One night in November 2004 Philip Quinn of Kent, Washington, did one of those silly things that common sense normally tells you to never, ever do: he put a lava lamp atop a hot stove. Moreover, minutes later it blew up, and of the many pieces of glass that went flying, one found its way into the 24-year-old’s heart. His parents later found his lifeless body.

10. Bernd Brandes

Imagine, just for a second, encouraging someone to cut off your genitals – then letting said someone cook said genitals for that evening’s meal. Well, in 2001 this is exactly what happened to 43-year-old Bernd Brandes, who, after his dinner with cannibal Armin Meiwes, let his companion kill him, carve up his body and cook a “rump steak” from his back. Meiwes was later convicted of manslaughter; this was, however, upgraded to murder – for which he received a life sentence – in 2006.

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9. Irma Bule

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Singer Irma Bule was well known in Indonesia for performing with snakes. But one night in 2016 she made the mistake of dancing with one – a king cobra, no less – that hadn’t been defanged. Inevitably, after stepping on it, the 29-year-old was bitten. And despite continuing to perform for three quarters of an hour, she eventually succumbed to the venom and died.

8. Ravi Subramanian

It’s one of those things you occasionally wonder about when flying: do people really get sucked into aircraft engines? Well, in December 2015 Mumbai airport engineer Ravi Subramanian did and died instantly. The pilot, not aware that Subramanian was standing with his back to one of the engines, had been given permission to start taxiing – a decision that, sadly, resulted in the engineer’s sudden demise.

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7. James Shay

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In October 2015 James Shay attempted to retrieve some items from a clothing donation bin in Brown Mills, New Jersey. Unfortunately, however, the 58-year-old slipped and, on getting lodged in the bin’s opening, found that his neck was being squeezed. Unable to breathe, he died not long afterwards and was later discovered by a member of the public.

6. Jimi Heselden

Multi-millionaire Jimi Heselden, the British boss of Segway, was sadly killed by the novelty self-balancing vehicle that he’d recently acquired in 2010. While riding along a cliff close to the River Wharfe in Yorkshire, England, Heselden somehow managed to fall 80 feet to his watery death. He left behind a fortune of just over $200 million.

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5. David Phyall

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David Phyall’s time was up in 2008, in more ways than one. The 58-year-old had to move out of his apartment in Eastleigh, England, ahead of it being demolished by developers. And in protest at the apparent injustice, Phyall decided to decapitate himself with a chainsaw. His severed head was later found inside his home after police received an emergency call.

4. Brent Tyler and Chelsea Tumbleston

One night in 2007 Chelsea Tumbleston and Brent Tyler ventured onto a four-story roof in Columbia, South Carolina. What’s more, after removing their clothes, the pair of 21-year-olds started getting intimate. Things took a tragic turn, however, when the naked duo rolled off the pyramid-shaped metallic roof and plunged 50 feet to their deaths.

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3. Kristian Digby

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British TV presenter Kristian Digby was just 32 when he died in particularly odd circumstances at his home in Newham, London, in March 2010. One morning a neighbor found him dead on his bed, clad solely in boxer shorts. There was also a plastic garbage bag over Digby’s head and an ethyl chloride container at his side – clues that pointed to a sexual experiment gone horribly wrong.

2. Jennifer Strange

Jennifer Strange’s death was, indeed, strange. In 2007 the 28-year-old took part in KDND 107.9’s “Hold Your Wee for a Wii” water-drinking competition, the winner of which would receive a Nintendo Wii. Strange was determined to hold on for longer than anybody else, and sadly her determination ended up killing her when she succumbed to water intoxication.

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1. Surinder Singh Bajwa

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One day in October 2007 the deputy mayor of India’s capital, Delhi, was at home attempting to shoo away a group of rhesus macaque wild monkeys. But poor Surinder Singh Bajwa was outside on his first-floor balcony when the monkeys decided to fight back. Bajwa lost his footing and consequently fell to the ground; he would die the next day from head injuries.

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