We’ve already covered the Darwin Awards a few times before, but we’ll give a quick recap just in case you’re new here. Every year, the Darwin Awards are given posthumously to people who have rid themselves from this planet by acts of sheer stupidity. Someone can also be eligible to win a Darwin Award if they have done something so outrageously dumb that their injuries made them infertile, and unable to pass on their DNA to the next generation.
But there is yet another category in the Darwin Awards that we have not covered yet, and that is the honorable mentions. These are the people who were very close to proving that Darwin was right about survival of the fittest, but they just barely made it out of a dumb situation with their lives intact…
10. Connecticut Woman Nearly Goes Out With a Bang
It was a dark and stormy September night in Bridgeport, Connecticut in 2018. As per usual with heavy thunderstorms, all of the homes in the town lost power. A 30-year-old mother of two was home with her children when they were plunged into darkness. This woman could not find any candles upstairs, so she made her way down to the basement to search through boxes. She pulled out what she believed were a set of long candles. However, the objects in her hand were actually sticks of dynamite. Even after lighting the explosive, it never occurred to her to snuff them out until they exploded in her hands.
Somehow, this woman made it out alive without injuring anyone but herself. She lost several fingers, and had severe burns on her face. Buying and selling dynamite is illegal in Connecticut. (Clearly, to prevent situations like this.) So, technically, the woman was breaking the law by having it in her home in the first place. But the police decided that her injuries were enough punishment to fit the crime, and chose not to press charges.
9. California Man Doesn’t Play by the Rules
Whenever you go to pump gas in the United States, you’ve probably seen those signs warning you to never dispense gasoline in containers that are not designed to hold it. But that did not stop one California man from breaking the rules. He purchased gas and pumped it into a plastic water bottle in order to save it in his car just in case he needed to refuel later. In April 2019, this man was in a Target parking lot with his girlfriend when he realized that his car was out of gas. He pulled out his trusty bottle full of emergency petrol.
The only trouble was that he could not get the gas out of the bottle, because the rim of the bottle was not designed to dispense gasoline. So he decided it might help to widen the neck of the bottle with his lighter. Apparently, no one ever taught this man that gasoline plus fire equals explosions. He began to burn alive from head-to-toe, but managed to get out of the car that was now completely engulfed in flames. Nearby witnesses rushed over to help him snuff out the fire, and called an ambulance. He made it out alive, but not before suffering third degree burns on his entire body.
8. Mexican Man Would Die For Love
It’s hard for anyone to let go of someone they love. But there is a big difference between trying to move on in a healthy way, and spiraling into an unhealthy obsession. For one 50-year-old man living in Puerto Penasco, Mexico, that pain after his breakup escalated to insane proportions. He and his ex-girlfriend had been together for 14 years, but he was incredibly jealous, and his violent temper had escalated to domestic violence. His girlfriend finally had enough, and broke up with him. Unfortunately, that didn’t stop him from trying to stalk her.
This man dug a hole in his ex-girlfriend’s yard and began burrowing a tunnel that was meant to go underneath her house. For a few days straight, he continued to dig this hole in hopes that he could go underneath her house and burst inside. The only thing that he did not account for was the fact that he needed to survive in that tunnel until it was complete. So on April 29, 2019, the woman heard a scratching noise coming from her basement. It turns out that her ex was trapped underneath the floorboards, dying of dehydration. When the police arrived, they had to help him get out of the tunnel. He survived, only to be arrested by the cops.
7. Aussie Man Nearly Escapes Capture
In May 2019, a concerned citizen from Melbourne, Australia noticed an elderly man driving a mobility scooter on the shoulder of a major highway. The cars on the highway were driving an average of 100 kilometers per hour (or 62 miles per hour), which should have spelled out instant death for the man weaving on and off the shoulder. When the citizen tried to speak to the old man, he told him to “F*** off,” and kept driving.
The concerned driver stayed behind the old man with his hazard lights on, to ensure that no one else would hit him, and dialed triple-zero for Australia’s emergency services. It turns out that this was a 92-year-old named Bruce, and he was on the run and had been reported missing earlier that day. The police arrived, and his family came to collect him.
6. Yogi Defies Gravity
If you have a friend who does yoga, you are probably fully aware of their hobby, because they will most likely post pictures on their Instagram every time they are able to nail a new pose. In fact, if you don’t take a copious amount of pictures while doing yoga, did it really happen?
In 2019, a 23-year-old college student named Alexa Terraza wanted to prove to her friends that she could do a gravity-defying yoga pose to make all other yogis jealous. She asked her friend to record her while she showed off doing a pose over the balcony of an apartment in San Pedro, Mexico. The only trouble is that what comes up must eventually come down, and she fell 80 feet off the balcony to the ground below. Somehow, she miraculously survived after being rushed to the hospital with 100 broken bones.
5. Humans are Friends, Not Food
An Australian woman named Melissa Brunning was enjoying a leisurely afternoon on her yacht, sailing in a remote part of Australia called Kimberly. This is 2,500 kilometers (1,553 miles) away from Perth, and far away from the rest of human civilization. There was a group of four tawny nurse sharks swimming around the back of the boat. Instead of keeping her distance, Brunning thought it would be a great idea to put her hands in the water to feed the sharks. One of the sharks chomped down on her finger, and pulled her straight into the bay.
The entire incident was caught on video. At first, Brunning believed that she had lost her finger, but thankfully, it was still intact. Since they were so far away from the nearest hospital, her finger contracted a bad infection. Aside from the sharks, that area is also full of saltwater crocodiles that can grow up to seven meters long. She is even more lucky that one of them was not waiting in the wings, ready to chomp much more than her finger.
4. Man Makes a Molten Mistake
If you visit an active volcano, you would think that it would be common sense not to get too close to the edge, but apparently, some people like to laugh in the face of danger. In 2019, a 32-year-old man was visiting the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. He ignored all of the warning signs and crossed the safety barriers in order to get a closer look at the running lava. This is when he got too close to the edge of Kilauea caldera, and fell off a 300-foot cliff.
Considering that fresh lava is between 1,300 and 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit (that’s 700 and 1,200 degrees Celsius), you would think that this should be an instant Darwin Award. However, by no small miracle, the man actually fell onto a tiny ledge inside of the mouth of the volcano and survived. We can only guess that he had built up years of good karma that were finally coming in handy. Two and a half hours later, he was rescued using ropes, and airlifted to a nearby hospital.
3. Man Forgets What a Wild Animal Is
A 55-year-old man named Pieter Nortje was celebrating his wedding anniversary in South Africa. He asked his wife to record a video while he showed off to his family and friends that he got to pet a lion. Apparently no one told him that lions are not the same as house cats, and he completely ignored all of the nearby warning signs.
Nortje reached through the electric fence, saying to the male, “Come here, lovey. Let daddy stroke you… If you bite me, I’ll bite you back.” In the video footage, you can see that the lion was actually enjoying the scratches for a moment. That is, until a second lion clearly did not want him to be around, and began to bite his arm. Luckily for him, he was able to pull out of the lion’s grasp. According to hunting experts who have examined the video footage, they say that he is very lucky that the lions were well-fed, because that electric fence would not have been enough to stop the lions from mauling him to death if they were in the mood.
2. American Tourist Strikes Again
A little while back, we covered dangers of dumb selfies. Worry not, though, because as we’re about to show you, people nearly killing themselves to get a sweet photo for Instagram isn’t going away anytime soon.
In June of 2019, a 23-year-old American tourist was visiting Turin, Italy. He couldn’t help himself once he spotted a statue of General Alfonso Ferrero La Marmorain riding a horse. It was the perfect opportunity for a selfie — at least, in his mind. He had been out drinking all night with his friends, and felt that it would be a fabulous idea to to climb the historic statue so that he could straddle the horse and take a photo. It should be a surprise to no one that he fell from the statue down to the street below. He was rushed to the hospital, where it was necessary to perform brain surgery in order to help him survive.
1. Florida Couple Survives A Not-So-Romantic Evening
For those of you who have seen The Notebook, you may remember the scene where they decide to lay in the middle of the street on their first date. One Florida couple in their early 20s thought it would be a good idea to replicate the scene by laying in the middle of the road of a park in West Palm Beach during the Lunar Eclipse in January 2019.
The only problem, of course, is that reality is almost never like the movies. While the couple was in the middle of their romantic look at the moon and stars, a police officer was patrolling the park that same night. There were no street lights to help him see. Suddenly, he hit what felt like a speed bump as he ran over the couple. Luckily for them, he was only going 5 MPH (8.05 KPH), so they were able to survive with non-life threatening injuries.