It is surprising to learn that some unusual things can be deadly when traveling or visiting other countries. Creatures big and small can be very dangerous. Animals, natural disasters, insects, sea creatures, and even kitchen appliances can be the cause of an untimely death. Something can hit us on the head or we can slip and fall getting out of bed. Many of these deaths occur without any warning. Some occur because the person was doing something stupid. Other risks can be avoided by those who take the proper precautions.
Here is our list of the more surprising things that can cause death and some interesting stories about the unusual circumstances surrounding some of these deaths.
20. Being Gored to Death by a Bull in Spain
Pamplona is a city in northern Spain that holds a festival each July for the Feast of San Fermin. As part of the celebrations, bulls are released to run through the narrow city streets and men try to prove their machismo by running down the streets just in front of the charging bulls.
Since they started keeping records, fifteen people have been killed by the running of the bulls during the festival in Pamplona. In 2016, one tourist was gored to death and seven others were injured.
19. Being Killed by a Tornado in East India
Americans experience the greatest number of deaths by tornados in the world with the average deaths of over 500 per year. The worst places that are hit include Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, Missouri, and Mississippi. One category EF5 that hit Joplin, Missouri on May 22, 2011, killed 158 people.
In 2010, East India experienced a massive storm that also hit parts of Bangladesh. The storm gave birth to a huge tornado that lasted about twenty minutes. The storm destroyed about 500,000 homes and left over 140 people dead in its aftermath. Tornados of this kind are rare in India. The last one came in 1998. The one that hit in 2010 caught people unaware. The populace was not given any warning at all and they were all mostly sleeping.
18. Spider Bites in Australia
Because of the use of antivenom treatments, few people die from spider bites in Australia. No one has died from a spider bite in Australia for thirty-seven years since 1979, until 2016. In April of last year, one young man who was bitten by a deadly Redback spider died from complications after receiving medical treatment in a hospital for an infected abscess caused by the spider bite.
The Redback spider is a relative of the deadly Black Widow spider. Just like the Black Widow, it has a distinctive red mark on its back. Australia has other deadly spiders, which include the Funnel-web varieties, and the White-Tail spider. Other poisonous, but not deadly, spiders are the Mouse spider, the Wolf spider, and the Common Black house spider.
17. Bitten by a Tigerfish in the Congo
If you think being attacked by a biting, carnivorous piranha fish sounds bad, an attack by its much larger and fiercer “characin” cousin, the tigerfish, is much worse. A tigerfish makes a piranha look like a tiny aquarium fish in comparison. The tigerfish can weigh up to 110 lbs. and reach a length of over five feet long.
They live in the fresh water rivers of the Congo. There are no statistics of how many deaths occur each year from tiger fish bites because few who encounter them live to tell the tale. Its razor-sharp teeth can tear a person to shreds within a few minutes. Each tooth can measure up to eight inches long.
They are attracted to anything shiny in the water. If one of them sinks those teeth into your leg that can easily pull you under. These fish swim in schools so more than one will join in any attack. Boats have been found floating down the river full of supplies, yet without passengers and it is thought the passengers have been eaten by the tiger fish.
16. Attacked by Sheep in England
Normally we do not think of sheep as being very aggressive. However, one unlucky woman from England learned the hard way how dangerous sheep can become if they are hungry. During 1999, a 67-year-old woman named Betty Stobbs was delivering hay to her farm’s sheep using an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) pulling a wagon behind it. The sheep were in a field next to a rock quarry.
When she approached with the food, the sheep charged her ATV. The herd knocked her out of the seat and she fell down into the quarry. Then, the sheep pushed the ATV over the edge also, which landed on her, crushing her to death.
15. Death by Toaster in Eastern Europe
It is estimated that there are about 700 deaths worldwide caused by toasters.
Besides the possibility of being electrocuted, faulty wiring in the older buildings in some parts of Eastern Europe is responsible for causing toasters to catch fire. The fail-safe switch in older appliances can become blocked with old bread crumbs and not turn the electricity off like it should.
When left unattended, a toaster can set the house on fire. Also, it is a terrible idea to use a knife to pry toast out of a toaster when the bread is stuck inside. Unplug the toaster first before trying to clear the stuck toast with a knife. Otherwise, you risk electrocution.
14. Being a Gay Man in Saudi Arabia
The sentence for the “crime” of a man having sodomy with another man in Saudi Arabia is death. This punishment is usually carried out by a public beheading. Saudi Arabia executes close to 200 people each year. About half of those killed are for non-violent crimes.
Besides being gay there are fifteen other types of offenses that have the possibility of the death penalty including drug usage and practicing witchcraft or sorcery. One-third of these offenses are not even considered crimes in the United States. One man in Saudi Arabia was arrested for simply hanging a gay flag outside his home.
Straights, who are fooling around on their spouse, do not have much of a better deal either. If they are charged and convicted of adultery (especially the women) they suffer the death penalty, sometimes by being stoned to death.
13. Death from Falling Out of Bed
This is a worldwide phenomenon. In the USA alone, there are about 1.8 million emergency room visits caused by a person falling out of bed. Around 400,000 of those emergency room visits require hospitalization and about 450 falls from bed result in death each year.
Most of the deaths happen when an elderly person is trying to get out of bed. They may slip and fall or fracture a hip. If the elderly person has a medical condition or mental impairment, it is important to make the bedroom safer to prevent such falls. Bed rails are good safety devices to install and getting the room free of clutter is also important.
12. Hippo Attack in Senegal
Hippos are far more dangerous than sharks. About 500 people are killed by hippos each year. Many are stomped to death. A female hippo protecting her newborn calf will attack anyone who comes near her. Besides stomping on someone with their crushing weight (an average hippo can easily weigh over two tons), hippos also have strong tusks and teeth for biting.
Men from a small fishing village called Gouloumbou in Senegal who fish on the Gambia River are terrified of hippos because they attack the fishing boats. Hippos killed more than 25 fishermen from Gouloumbou during the past decade.
Hippos are surprisingly fast and can run on land up to 30 MPH. They are swift and graceful swimmers and can catch a motorboat, and then overturn it dumping its passengers into the water to be able to bite them.
11. Killed by a Falling Icicle in Russia
About 1,000 people worldwide and over 100 people in Russia alone are killed by falling icicles. These hanging ice daggers can grow to over six feet long and weigh up to one hundred pounds. If they do not get dislodged and there is a source of dripping water than then refreezes, they will continue to grow until they fall or break off.
Many of the accidents that cause deaths occur when people leave their homes and slam the door shut behind them. This kind of vibration can cause the ice to break off and fall down directly on the person underneath it.
Another factor that causes icicles to dislodge and fall is high winds. Ice can fall from very high up if it has formed on high-rise buildings. During 2001, 74 residents of Moscow were killed by falling ice. Falling ice is a silent killer, which hits without warning.
10. Death by Baguette in France
Choking on a French bread roll is one of the silliest ways to die, yet around 17 people in France die from choking on baguettes each year. What is even stranger is the fact that for some people wheat is so toxic it literally can kill them by simply eating it. There are people who are so allergic to wheat that they will have a severe allergic reaction that makes them unable to breathe.
Moreover, those who suffer from celiac disease cannot eat anything containing gluten (the main ingredient in wheat). When they eat gluten, the immune system of the body responds by producing antibodies that destroy the lining of the intestinal system. About one percent of the population has this celiac disease. They need to maintain a gluten-free diet. Otherwise, the deterioration of their intestinal lining will eventually become so severe that they cannot absorb nutrients, which causes failing health.
9. Canadian Killer Storm Drain
Can a storm drain kill someone? Yes, if there is the right combination of bad luck and stupidity. During 2008, a 57-year-old Canadian man left his wallet behind at a gas station. He wallet was then stolen. He called the police and before they arrived on the scene the man saw his wallet tossed down a storm drain. The man tried to remove it but failed. When the police arrived, they cautioned him not to try to retrieve it.
After the police left, the man came back and tried a second time. He removed the protective grate and climbed down head first, only to get stuck several feet below street level. The police passed by, noticed his truck parked near the storm drain and found him still alive. A rescue team was summoned and they used a tow truck to pull him out of the drain, yet he died at the hospital a little while later.
8. Killed by Body Odor in England
Some people have body order that is so bad that you think you might die from smelling it; however, that is not usually the case. One English lad, was trying to control his own body order so intensely that he died from having a heart attack after inhaling too many deodorant chemicals. He had an obsession with smelling clean and sprayed his entire body twice each day. The problem was that he used the deodorant spray in a tiny enclosed room and that cause the increased concentrations of the chemicals that he inhaled.
An autopsy revealed that he had over ten times the lethal levels of propane and butane in his blood when he died. In England, since 1971, over 130 people have died from purposely inhaling deodorant fumes in order to get high. This 16-year-old boy’s death is the only known accidental case of this occurring.
7. Death by Wonderbra in England
About 24,000 people worldwide are killed by lightning each year. Two British ladies have the honor of also being in the category of silly reasons for death, along with the deodorant-obsessed boy. These two women from London were walking in Hyde Park in 1999 when a bad thunderstorm occurred. They took shelter under a tree and both were hit by a huge bolt of lightning. The metal wiring in their brassieres acted as a conductor of electricity and both died instantly.
The coroner ruled the death a “misadventure.” Even though the wonderbra was not the actual cause of death, wearing one probably did not help. The coroner concluded that the woman would probably have died anyway even if not wearing a wonderbra.
6. Killed by Video Game Addiction in South Korea
Video game addiction has become a serious problem along with drug and alcohol abuse among the young people in South Korea. During 2005, 28-year-old Lee Seung Seop, who was working as a repair technician, quit his job so he would have more time to play video games. He liked to play the online version of Starcraft, which is very popular in South Korea.
Lee played the game for almost 50 hours in a row taking only short breaks to nap and go to the restroom. He collapsed at the Internet café where he was playing and was taken to the hospital. He died just a short time later. The cause of death was a heart attack brought on by severe exhaustion and dehydration.
5. Rat Encounters in Ireland
During 1997, and Irishman named David Bailey was playing golf with his friends. When he went down into a ditch to retrieve a bad shot that he had made, he frightened a rat. It ran up his pants leg and urinated on him; however, it did not bite him or scratch him. Even though his golfing buddies encouraged him to stop playing and go home to take a shower, he did not think anything about the incident was that significant and he continued to finish his round of golf.
Two weeks later, his kidneys went into failure and this caused his death. He had contracted a disease called leptospirosis, which is an infectious bacteria spread by rodents and livestock. This disease is usually not severe; however, it does have the ability to cause kidney disease, liver disease, meningitis, and pneumonia.
4. Hit on the Head by a Coconut in Tahiti
Around 150 people are killed each year by being hit on the head by a falling coconut. When a green coconut is mature and full of water, it can weight over 4 pounds. Coconut palm trees may grow as high as up to 100 feet. A coconut falling from such a height reaches terminal velocity at the speed of close to 85 MPH. This means the force of the impact from a falling coconut at that speed is equivalent to being struck by something weighing about a ton. Many of those killed were sleeping peacefully under the shade of the palm trees. All it takes is one strong breeze and here come the falling coconuts.
3. Ants in Ethiopia
Ants may be small, but when they attack all at once, dozens of bites can add up to a toxic overload of ant venom in your system. Every year about twenty to fifty people are killed by ant attacks in Africa. The types of ants found in Ethiopia are so violent that scientists worry that they may invade the entire planet.
When ants are swarming, they are vicious. Each ant releases a chemical signal that causes the other ants to also go into attack mode. Slapping at them or trying to swat them away, just makes them even more aggressively try to bite you. The best thing to do in order to remove them quickly is to jump into the water. That is if there are no hippos nearby. If that is not possible the other alternative is to stay calm and very gently blow them or brush them off your skin. It takes extreme patience and self-control to be able to do this. If you just realized that you sat down on an ant bed and there is no water around, this is your only way to avoid hundreds of ant stings that could potentially be fatal.
2. Being Stung by Jellyfish in the Philippines
Every year, twenty to forty people die in the Philippines from an anaphylactic reaction brought on by the sting of a jellyfish. The body’s immune system goes out of control and people who experience this allergic reaction cannot breathe.
Encountering a jellyfish is far too easy. They are nearly invisible. One can stumble across them while walking barefoot down the beach. They can still sting even if dead. Another way to encounter them is to brush up against their tentacles while swimming. The tentacles are long, up to five-feet in some cases, and they float out from the main part of the jellyfish like gossamer threads ready to sting anything they touch. You can find them on your face when you come up for air or get badly stung on the legs and torso when swimming into a group of them floating together. The box jelly variety is the most poisonous and responsible for most of the deaths.
1. Mosquito Bites in Africa, Southeast Asia, and Central America
Mosquitoes are responsible for the death of over 750,000 people each year. These bloodsucking demons spread many, sometimes deadly, diseases such as chikungunya, dengue, encephalitis, malaria, yellow fever, Rift Valley fever, the West Nile virus, and Zika.
Forgetting to use insect repellant in tropical areas could be a death sentence. Researchers from the University of Washington determined that mosquitoes have a very well-developed sense of smell, which they use to hone in on their victims. They are especially attracted by the smell of carbon dioxide that we exhale when we breathe. Mosquitoes can smell carbon dioxide from up to thirty feet away.
If you are lying in your hammock enjoying a tropical breeze, be sure to cover up with mosquito netting around dusk and dawn when the mosquitoes are most active.
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