We all know that the guillotine used to be a form of capital punishment (it was still in use in France up until as recently as 1981). We’ve all watched characters in horror movies get decapitated in various sickening ways; we’ve all seen the news stories about ISIS cutting off the heads of their hostages, and some of us have even gleefully removed the heads of our virtual opponents in video games like those in the Mortal Kombat series. But decapitation can occur in many other ways.
Sometimes, the most horrific of tragedies occur by accident – and that applies to people being decapitated, too. Whether it’s due to a mechanical issue with a vehicle, a driver behind the wheel whilst intoxicated, a worker being in the wrong place at the wrong time or otherwise, people have literally lost their heads in accidents on countless occasions over the years.
In this article, we’ll run you through a number of instances where people have been the victims of decapitation from all around the world. Here are fifteen horrible accidents that resulted in people being decapitated.
15. Post Office Van Hits A Motorcyclist
In 2017, Vishwajeet Singh – a 30-year-old man from Deoria, Uttar Pradesh, India – was decapitated in the residential colony of Sarita Vihar when a post office van struck his motorcycle while he was travelling down a flyover.
Singh was on his way to Faridabad on his TVS motorcycle when he was struck and, such was the impact of the collision, he was tossed several feet into the air. Singh’s head got caught in some iron grills on the side of the flyover, but the rest of his body went flying before it fell limp to the road below.
14. Out-Of-Control Pickup Truck
In 2015, on a Warminster side road near Orillia, Ontario, Canada, a young woman was decapitated when the pickup truck she was a passenger in veered off the road and crashed into a tree.
22-year-old Tyson Lawlor was driving his black Silverado truck at around 3:00 am one November morning, with his cousin Ellen Silk and two other friends for company, when he lost control and the accident occurred.
Such was the impact of the crash, Silk – who, along with Lawlor, wasn’t wearing a safety belt – was completely beheaded. Her body ended up wedged in the back seat of the truck behind Lawlor’s seat, while fragments of her scalp and locks of her long blonde hair were found on a nearby tree.
Lawlor was hysterical and immediately rang his mother to explain how he had “f**ked up”. He was subsequently put on trial, with the charges including dangerous driving causing death, impaired causing death and criminal negligence causing death.
13. Water Ride Terror
In August of 2010, 10-year-old Caleb Schwab – the son of Scott Schwab, a member of the Kansas House of Representatives, and his wife Michelle – was tragically decapitated in an accident on Verruckt, a 168-foot slide at Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Kansas City, Kansas.
Caleb was one of three passengers riding at the time, when the ride went airborne and hit a metal support bar, severing the child’s head from his body. The other two passengers – both women – came away relatively unscathed, with one suffering a broken jaw and the other a broken face bone and a cut that required stitches.
The accident was put down to an uneven weight distribution in the ride vehicle. One of the women riding with Caleb weighed 275 pounds (125 kg) and the other 197 pounds (89 kg), meaning that the much lighter young boy should have been sat in the middle – he was, however, sat at the front.
12. Roller Coaster Tragedy
In 2008, Asia Leeshawn Ferguson was decapitated by a roller coaster at Six Flags Over Georgia theme park in Cobb County, Georgia, after he’d jumped over two fences and entered a restricted area.
Six Flags spokeswoman Hela Sheth, said that park officials were unsure about why 17-year-old Ferguson had chosen to enter the restricted area near the Batman: The Ride attraction, but there were murmurings that he was either trying to retrieve a lost hat or trying to temporarily leave the park to get some food.
The white-knuckle thrill ride was going at full speed – which is approximately 50 mph – when the teenager was struck, which was enough to separate his head completely from his torso.
11. Stuck In Cruise Control
In February of 2016, a driver was decapitated on a busy motorway in Buckinghamshire, England, after his car got stuck in cruise control. Kaushal Gandhi, who was from Harrow in north London, died instantly via decapitation when his car hit a stationary 18-tonne lorry at 119 mph.
32-year-old Mumbai-born Gandhi made a phonecall to the emergency services while he was stuck behind the wheel of his Skoda Octavia on the M40, telling the call operator that he couldn’t stop the car from accelerating. The eight-minute call he made was recorded and played at the inquest into his death.
“I have kept pressing the button, but all it makes is a noise. My speed is increasing. I think what has happened was I tried to change the mode on the car, because I was on the sports mode. I pressed a button to come onto the normal mode and then it is not allowing me to do anything.”
He also apparently asked if he should apply the car’s handbrake before being cut off which, ironically, may well have saved his life by causing its rear wheels to lock up, turning the car around and making it skid backwards.
10. Hit By An Oncoming Train
In August of 2016, at Wandsworth Common Station in south London, England, a young man was decapitated when he stuck his head out of a train window and was hit by a train coming in the other direction. The 24-year-old man, who was from East Grinstead, West Sussex, was attended to by an ambulance crew, but it was clear from the moment they arrived that there was nothing they could do for him.
The incident, which occurred on the Gatwick Express train, was viewed by a number of traumatized train station workers and commuters – including one worker who “saw everything” and had to take time off work.
Another unnamed female witness said of the incident that the victim“lifted his head out and didn’t notice the train was coming” and went on to say “the head flew off. I ran. It was disgusting. The train stopped and people were screaming, they were coming out.”
9. High Speed DUI Crash
If ever there was an anti-drunk driving advert, this is it.
In March of 2017, Carlos Salomon Villuendas Adame was recklessly driving his BMW, while under the influence of alcohol, at 111 mph through the streets of Mexico City, Mexico. He lost control of the car, hit a pole and killed all four of his passengers (who were named as Claudia Reyes Millan, Karla Saldana Sanchez, Carlos Martinez Zorrilla and Luis Garcia Heredia).
Adame – who was 33 at the time of the incident – walked away with only minor injuries, but the car was smashed into dozens of pieces and his passengers were flung from the vehicle. Such was the force of the crash’s impact, two of the passengers were decapitated.
8. Freak Motorcycle Accident
In April of 2017, a freak accident in San Bernardino, California, saw a motorcyclist get tragically decapitated.
Fabian Zepeda, who was 27 years of age at the time and had a pregnant wife, was decapitated by riding neck-first into a low hanging cable, which was hanging across the street he was heading down.
A few minutes prior to Zepeda’s accident, a man driving a Ford Taurus had lost control of his vehicle and driven into a wooden utility pole, which had sent the wires attached to it all the way across the roadway.
The Ford Taurus driver was not taken into custody, as he was proven to not have been under the influence of alcohol or any other substances – and the whole thing was deemed to have been nothing more than an unfortunate and terrible accident.
7. Tram Crash
In 2016, in Croydon, England, a tram derailed and overturned just after 6:00 am one November morning in a tunnel near the Sandilands stop – it had reportedly been travelling at more than five times the speed limit.
The driver – a 42-year-old man by the name of Alfred Dorris – was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter and bailed at the time. He has since been re-bailed and is due to answer bail on the 20th of September in 2017. Passengers reported that Dorris had said he “blacked out” at the controls.
Lots of people were trapped, with more than 100 emergency workers on the scene working to free them, seven people were killed and more than fifty were injured – including one man who was decapitated in the accident. Rui De-sa, 31, who survived the crash, said of the incident “A man next to me had no head. Every time I close my eyes, that is all I see – his body.”
6. Falling From Scaffolding
In June of 2017, in Malabog, Albay in the Philippines, a construction worker fell from scaffolding and was tragically decapitated. Glen Joy Buela was 22 when his head was completely severed from his body after he hit a power cable and a concrete fence following his fall while working on a covered court project for Albay Power Energy Corp. Inc.
An explosion occurred as the young man’s body hit the cable, prompting his co-worker father Soly, 54, and another worker called JR Lorenzana to jump from the scaffolding. The pair were taken to the nearby Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital for treatment.
It has been said that Buela lost his balance while working on the scaffolding around 30 meters above the ground. Buela’s head was found within the fence by police officers and his body was found outside it.
5. Cement Truck Horror
In June of 2017, an elderly woman was tragically decapitated by a cement truck in a horrific crash in Deptford, South London.
The woman – who was in her 80s – had stepped off the pavement at a pedestrian crossing when she was mown down by the 12-tonne vehicle, which subsequently drove over her body and severed her head.
The driver – who was understandably distraught by the whole situation and seen in tears shortly after the incident – had said that he hadn’t seen the poor victim as she had attempted to cross the road.
A police investigation came to the conclusion that the driver had carried out his job by the book, but his vehicle’s inherent blind spots meant he would not have seen the woman crossing the road. London police officer PC Alex Routt, informed the inquest “As soon as she steps off the pavement, she effectively becomes not visible.”
4. The Rotating Cement Mixer Drum
In July of 2017, a cement mixer lorry driver was decapitated after he went to the back of his vehicle to inspect its faulty rotating drum in Tainan City, south-western Taiwan. The 41-year-old driver – who was named only as “Juan” – was pronounced dead at the scene.
Local residents had spotted Juan sitting at the top of a ladder on his vehicle and tried to get his attention. However, when they climbed the ladder to take a closer look at what was going on, they discovered his head was missing.
Police investigating the incident believe he died almost instantly after the rotating mechanism severed his head. The exact reason he put himself in such a dangerous position is unclear, but it is believed he lost his footing while inspecting the mixer.
3. Elevator Tragedy
The most recent of the accidents on this list, this one occurred in August of 2017 at the Valme Hospital in Seville, Southern Spain.
26-year-old mother of three, Rocio Cortes Nunez, was decapitated in a freak accident involving an elevator, having just woken up from giving birth via C-section earlier on the same day. Nunez’s newborn baby was with her when the horrific accident occurred and miraculously survived.
A hospital porter had opted to use a different elevator, after the door of the elevator in which he had taken Nunez’s stretcher had opened and closed a couple of times without anything happening. He was in the middle of pulling her stretcher out when it started moving upwards. Tragically, the porter was unable to pull the stretcher to safety.
Nunez’s head was trapped between the lift’s frame and roof when it started moving upwards, resulting in it becoming completely detached from her torso. It took firefighters two hours to reach her mauled body following the incident.
2. Marriage After Decapitation
This is a decapitation story with a difference, as it actually has something of a happy element to it. Unfortunately, it does also have a sad ending.
In 2014, Tony Cowan survived a car accident that ripped his head from his spine – an accident that doctors later described as “unsurvivable”. His car hit a speed bump hard, he lost control of his car and ended up wrapped around a telephone pole. He was internally decapitated, but his skin and muscles remained intact and he sustained no brain damage. Tony had died at the scene of the accident and been revived, but he was permanently paralyzed and lived each day in constant pain until his passing in 2016.
Cowan – who was from Chester-le-Street, County Durham, England – wanted to marry his long-term partner Karen Dawson, 29, and he had his wish fulfilled, in his hospital room at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary, just a few days before his death in December.
The wedding was originally scheduled to take place in May of 2017 but, such was the extent of the pain he was in, Cowan asked for it to be brought forward, so that he could have his life support machine turned off to end his agony. He was 31 when he died and he was buried with the wedding dress Karen would have worn, had the wedding been a more traditional one.
1. A Young Boy Survives
Okay, let’s end on a genuinely happy note – and we bet you never thought an article about decapitations would end like that!
In 2016, a 4-year-old little boy called Killian Gonzalez, was internally decapitated when he and his mother, Brandy, were travelling home to Nevada after celebrating the boy’s birthday in Idaho. Their vehicle had begun to skid and collided with another SUV. Such was the violence of the collision, Killian’s skull became detached from his spine.
The quick thinking of Leah Woodward – who was travelling past with her husband, a Nampa, Idaho police officer, when the accident occurred – saved the young boy’s life. Woodward came upon the scene, heard the boy screaming, and held his head perfectly still for over half an hour until emergency services arrived.
Killian suffered a ruptured spleen, a broken arm and multiple broken ribs in addition to his internal decapitation. His mother broke her arm, femur and tibia. The young boy is now in recovery and was eating, walking and even sitting up by himself less than a month after the crash.
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