More Darwin Awards:
Confirmed True by Darwin (7 January 2004, Croatia)
Eastern Europe is known for its harsh winters,and Zlatko, 52, had seen his fair share of them in his town nearZagreb. But when temperatures dropped low enough to play havoc with outdoor machinery, Zlatko was exasperated to find that his Opel Kadett had fallen victim to the cold, repeatedly refusing to start.The engine must be frozen, he decided. He remembered times he himself had been freezing in those icy Croatian winters. There was nothing better than warming up before a toasty roaring fire. Yes! That was clearly the solution to his problem. A roaring fire would warm up the Opel's engine. Zlatko fetched some old newspapers, stuffed them under the engine, and lit them. While waiting for the engine to warm up, he wandered off -- a fortunate occurance, because his beloved car exploded in a fireball. The heartbroken man told reporters, "I couldn't start the engine and realized it was frozen. Now my lovely car is destroyed."Luckily, Zlatko has identified what went wrong."Maybe I used too much paper," he said.
THE ARMY'S A BLAST
Confirmed True by Darwin (6 May 2004, Ukraine)
Piling up live artillery is grueling work, so it makes perfect sense that a group of soldiers would take a cigarette breakat lunch time. The warehouse was filled with 92,000 tons of ammunition --until the soldiers lit up their ciggies and inhaled deeply, ignoring warnings that smoking can cause cancer. They flicked the butts away and went back to work. The glowing embers of the tobacco butts acted like slowfuses, which started a small fire that nobody noticed until it ignited a chain reaction of massive explosions.The explosions lasted for a week, tossing debris as far as 25 miles away, destroying buildings in a two-mile radius, and forcing the evacuation of thousands of nearby residents. Red-hot shrapnel set off additional fires in nearby towns and ruptured a minor gas pipeline. Total damage from the smokebreak was estimated at $750 million. Miraculously, only one of the soldiers at the arsenal died in the disaster. Six soldiers were charged with "grossly neglecting the fire safety rules and smoking on the ammunition site."
CAUGHT IN THE AUGER Unconfirmed by Darwin
"Welcome my son, welcome to the machine."-Pink Floyd
(31 July 1995, Christchurch, New Zealand)
An ice-maker may seem innocuous,but when it's big enough to walk into -- for example, one that supplies iceto fishing boats -- it can be so dangerous that safety procedures and fail-safe devices are required. So it was a bit of a surprise when employees at a fish processing plant heard screams emanating from inside the giant ice-maker.An employee had been running the machine when the flow of ice jammed. Access to the machine's auger chamber was restricted, and employees are trained never to enter the chamber while the auger is running. It would be easy enough to ignore the warning signs, but it is hard to get around another safety feature: the auger will not run unless the operator holds down a foot pedal outside the chamber. Take your foot off the pedal and the machine shuts down.There was no way the operator could run the auger and also enter the chamber. Or so it seemed, but one enterprising employee found a way. He laid a heavy piece of metal on the foot pedal to keep the auger running while he entered the chamber to clear the ice jam. He was caught by the swirling auger and drawn inevitably, and fatally, into the ice machine. Ironically, the employee had helped negotiate a labor contract stipulating that workers should scrupulously follow all safety procedures and abide by the company's operating rules.
Hope you all were entertained with that.
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