For those of you who have come across them before you will know that the Darwin Awards are a light-hearted way of recognising how stupidity and natural selection combine to kill a person or prevent them from being able to reproduce. The stories quoted are all true and sad as many are, they are all mildly amusing too. We have picked the top 5 related to electrical accidents and listed them below in order of stupidity (1 being the most ridiculous) for your reading pleasure:
1. Eugene Duncan (1 June 2008, West Virginia)
Eugene Duncan tops our list despite the fact he survived his exploits by the skin of his teeth. Eugene had a power line running through his back garden and (maybe following the release The Dark Knight in 2008) decided to climb a pylon and repel himself down one of the lines using just a single piece of rope. Eugene came into contact with a power line carrying 46,000 volts resulting in a huge electric shock and quite a large fall. Amazingly Eugene survived his ordeal but was charged with trespassing by his local police department.
Unfortunately we couldn’t find a picture of Eugene, however the above pic is equally worrying. It is a Czech girl who mistook a high voltage pylon for a bridge whilst high!
2. Gabriel Thomas Mondragon (15 March 2008, Washington)
Gabriel Thomas was an environmentalist with attitude. He sought to make people pay for their apparent sins against nature by cutting off the power supply for thousands. His plan showed he had considered the risks and took precautions, yet he completely underestimated the true power of the line through which he chose to cut. Using rubber gloves for insulation and a tree saw attached to a metal pole Mondragon cut through a 69,000 Volt line. He was found lying on his back, with the gloves partially melted on his hands and his pants burned away from his body. Amazingly he survived and was quoted as saying “I did it to punish the rich white people of Orcas Island and make them pay for the death of the whales and the depletion of the rain forests.”
3. Daniel (14 February 2002, Pennsylvania)
Daniel and his best friend loved to practice their marksmanship in a local field. However on this occasion their choice of target would prove to be rather costly. Electrical insulators are used to hold power lines in place and they are there for a reason. So when they both shot 6 of the insulators holding the power line above them aloft it soon fell to the ground throwing sparks out everywhere. Despite remaining unscathed at this point Daniel was worried about a serious fire breaking out and opted to simply pick the lose sizzling wire up with his hand and was instantly electrocuted.
4. Michael Anderson Godwin (March 1989, South Carolina, USA)
Michael Anderson Godwin was just 28 years old when he was sentenced to death in South Carolina. Following an appeal he managed to avoid the electric chair, but unfortunately even that couldn’t save him from himself. In March of 1989, Godwin was sat on his steel prison toilet, trying to fix a pair of headphones attached to his TV. He bit into the wire, and the rest is history. The irony of this is astounding.
5. Arthur de Souza (10 January 2010, Brazil)
In 2010 a municipal guard named Arthur de Souza Coelho had enough of the crime in his neighbourhood and decided to take action to protect his car from being stolen. He installed a small but shockingly powerful electric fence around his pride and joy and it worked, no body touched the car. It’s a good thing too as the fence proved to be fatal. When Arthur forgot to turn the fence off one morning he was electrocuted and the inevitable happened.
The message remains clear and simple. Electricity is dangerous so don’t mess with it otherwise you could end up on the list above.