Daredevils are everywhere, and a quick Google search for the “Darwin Awards” will prove just how often ridiculous stunts can lead to death. However, there are a select few people who were able to pull off their dangerous stunts and actually and live to see another day… but that doesn’t mean they all went according to plan. Here at TopTenz, we want you all to stay alive for as long as possible. So, please. Please don’t try any of these stunts at home.
10. Up, Up, and Away
If you’ve ever seen Disney Pixar’s movie Up, then you may have wondered just how many balloons it would take to fly in real life. A 26-year-old man named Daniel Boria decided to find out for himself. He purchased 120 extra large balloons and helium, tied them to a lawn chair, and flew into the sky above Calgary.
This expensive stunt was actually part of Daniel’s idea to land in a nearby fair and rodeo called The Stampede to advertise his company, All Natural Cleaning. He originally wanted to surprise the crowd by skydiving into the event. Since he planned on doing this without permission from local authorities, every pilot in Calgary refused to go along with his harebrained scheme.
So, Daniel took matters into his own hands, spending over $20,000 to bring the plan together. Unfortunately, the balloons got so high in the air, commercial airplanes were flying below him. Temperatures dropped well below freezing, and he realized that he had no control over the balloons. He needed to parachute in a location that was nowhere near the rodeo, and landed in a field. Aside from minor injury to his ankle, Daniel landed safely… and was promptly arrested for public mischief and causing danger to life. He may not have succeeded in advertising for his company, but the fact that he is actually alive is sort of a miracle in itself.
You may have seen the lifehack that Coca-Cola can remove rust from a car, but what should people do when their entire car needs a good polishing? In 2016, a grandfather in Latvia decided to dig a massive hole and fill it with 6,000 bottles of Coca-Cola, just so he could drive an old car into it. The grandfather donned a helmet, but unfortunately, he hit the accelerator a little too hard, and the car crashed into the pit. Thankfully, the old man survived, and lived to make two follow-up videos about the car.
Any rust that may have been removed from the car was negated by the fact that the vehicle was completely crushed. It required heavy machinery and a team of men to get it out of the field where they pulled off the stunt. He spent a whopping 8,000 Euros on this stunt, hoping that it would bring him Internet fame.
8. No Parachute? No Problem.
In 2015, a Finnish stunt man named Antti Pendikainen decided to skydive from a hot air balloon without a protective suit, parachute, or even a shirt. While this may sound like a death wish, he was actually jumping with a group of other skydivers who had their protective gear. He was able to latch on to one of the other skydivers during freefall, and parachute to safety.
Of course, Antti filmed the entire experience and included it on his YouTube channel. He included this in a professional portfolio of stunts he has been able to pull off, in hopes of getting stunt acting jobs in the movies. This video received over 22 million views, so let’s hope he didn’t risk his life for nothing.
7. The Edge of the World
If you thought skydiving without a parachute was crazy, then this next one will make your heart drop. An Austrian skydiver named Felix Baumgartner jumped from 24 miles above the Earth to break a world record. The previous record was held by Joe Kittinger Jr., who jumped from 19.5 miles in 1960. After spiraling out of control at speeds over 800 MPH, Felix was able to stabilize and freefall down to safety on the Earth’s surface.
However, Felix Baumgartner obviously didn’t pay for this stunt on his own dime. This was a massively expensive advertising campaign called the Red Bull Stratos Jump, which was co-sponsored by GoPro. Felix did the fall with GoPro cameras stuck to his space suit, so it captures the experience in a way that most people never get to see. During a later interview, Felix explained that this stunt took five years of preparation, and that one false move could have killed him within 15 seconds. Thankfully, everything went according to plan, and Joe Kittinger Jr. was communicating with Felix through mission control, supporting him the entire way.
6. Bubble Boy
In 2017, a YouTuber from the UK who goes by the name of “KillemFTW” decided to cross the English Channel into France in a plastic bubble called a Zorb Ball. This inflatable plastic ball allows people to literally walk on water. While it’s normally meant for using as a pool toy, “Killem” decided to fill it up with an oxygen tank, a few granola bars, bottles of water, a compass, and his bank card to help him cross the Channel.
While there are plenty of people who swim across the English Channel every year, none of them are trapped in a plastic ball of death. He had to struggle and paddle against the strong tide, and he began to feel incredibly seasick. In the end, he made it to dry land, only to realize he actually ended up in The Netherlands instead of France.
5. Don’t Look Down
In 2013, a tightrope walker named Nik Wallenda decided to take a leap of faith by walking across the Grand Canyon in a special filmed for The Discovery Channel. Even though Nik had plenty of experience walking a tightrope (you probably recognize his last name, since he’s the progeny of the legendary Flying Wallendas), the wind and the conditions moved the wire as he was suspended 1,500 feet off the ground.
Without a safety net, one false step would have sent Nik plummeting into the Grand Canyon while his wife, Erendira, and his children watched on the sidelines. Thankfully, it all turned out alright, and he made it to safety.
4. A Dentist’s Worst Nightmare
After that last story, you may be wondering how Nik’s saint of a wife can handle being married to someone who’s willing to walk across the Grand Canyon. Well… It’s a woman who’s willing to hang 300 feet above Niagara Falls.
That’s right, both Erendira and Nik Wallenda come from multi-generation circus families. In 2017, she performed her aerialist tricks suspended from a helicopter that was flying above the falls. Her performance includes an elegant acrobatic routine, plus hanging from her feet and teeth. Her dentist made a special mouthguard for the occasion. During an interview, Erendira said that she mostly relies on her strong jaw muscles to hold her up.
3. Don’t Roll Over
Have you ever fallen asleep in a hammock on a warm summer’s day? What about falling asleep in a hammock that’s suspended 200 meters in the air? Well, that’s exactly was two Romanian men did in 2015. After climbing up the side of a giant chimney with scaffolding on top, they tied hammocks to either side, and decided to spend the night up there.
Obviously, a stunt like this wouldn’t be complete unless they recorded the video and put it on YouTube. According to the disclaimer at the beginning of their video, they chose a warm summer night during a full moon. Clearly, these two men probably don’t have a habit of tossing and turning in the middle of the night.
2. Block Head
This next story isn’t so much of a daring stunt as it is putting life in danger for the sake of views. In 2017, a YouTuber named Jay Swingler, who collaborates on a channel called TGFBro, decided to cement a microwave to his head. The mixture they used was far more solid than they had anticipated, and his friends spent well over an hour trying to chizel Jay’s head out of the microwave.
When Jay’s friends finally called emergency services, the ambulance and fire brigade spent over an hour trying to set him free. During an interview, emergency workers noted that the time they spent setting him free was taking away from their ability to save other people who may have had a life-threatening illness. In a follow-up video, Jay did thank the emergency responders for their help, but has zero shame about what he did, only focusing on how proud he was to have his 15 minutes of fame in the media.
1. One Wild Ride
In Taiwan, stunt drivers play the childhood game of seesaw… only, they do it in their jeeps. Two cars are suspended, balancing on a metal platform in the air that tilts back and forth as the cars move. A Japanese TV show called “Itte Q!” sent a group of celebrities to sit in the back seat of one of the cars together as they scream and hold on for dear life.
A man by the name of Mr. Wan has been performing this car seesaw stunt for the public for over 27 years. Maybe the real question we should be asking is: what possessed Mr. Wan to start doing this in the first place? We’ll probably never know.