1979: Robert Williams, a worker at a Ford Motor Co. plant, was the first known human to be killed by a robot, after the arm of a one-ton factory robot hit him in the head.
1979: John Bowen, a 20-year-old of Nashua, New Hampshire was attending a halftime show at a football game at Shea Stadium on December 9, 1979. During an event which featured novelty and custom-made remote control flying machines, a 40-pound model plane shaped like a lawnmower accidentally dived into the stands with its sharp blades striking Bowen and another spectator and causing severe head injuries. While the other spectator survived, Bowen died in hospital four days later.
1981: David Allen Kirwan a 24-year-old attempted to rescue a friend's dog after it fell into Celestine Pool, a hot spring at Yellowstone National Park on July 20, 1981. Despite numerous shouts from bystanders, Kirwan dove headfirst into the pool but was unable to save the dog. After managing to swin back to shore, he was helped out of pool, where his injuries became apparent - the exposure to the 200oF (93oC) water of the hot spring resulted in third-degree burns to 100% of his body and had also blinded him. After being led to the sidewalk, Kirwan reportedly stated: "That was stupid. How bad am I? That was a stupid thing I did." When one of Kirwan's shoes was removed, all of the skin came off with it. He died the next day at a Salt Lake City hospital. Although there have been at least 19 deaths due to scalding at the Yellowstone, this was the only known case where someone died after deliberately jumping into one of the park's hot springs.
1981: American photographer Carl McCunn paid a bush pilot to drop him at a remote lake near the Coleen River in Alaska in March 1981 to photograph wildlife, but failed to confirm arrangements for the pilot to pick him up again in August. Rather than starve, McCunn shot himself in the head. His body was found in February 1982.
1981: Boris Sagal, a film director, died while shooting the TV miniseries World War III when he walked into the tail rotor blade of a helicopter and was decapitated.
1981: Jeff Dailey, a 19-year-old gamer, became the first known person to die while playing video games. After achieving a score of 16,660 in the arcade game Berzerk, he succumbed to a massive heart attack. A year later, an 18-year-old gamer died after achieving high scores in the same game.
1981: Kenji Urada, a Japanese factory worker was killed by a malfunctioning robot he was working on at a Kawasaki plant in Japan. The robot's arm pushed him into a grinding machine, killing him.
1982: Vic Morrow, actor, was decapitated by a helicopter blade during filming of Twilight Zone: The Movie. Two child actors, Myca Dinh Le (who was decapitated) and Renee Shin-Yi Chen (who was crushed), also died.
1982: Vladimir Smirnov, an Olympic champion fencer, died of brain damage nine days after his opponent's foil snapped during a match, penetrated his mask, pierced his eyeball and entered his brain.
1982: James Joseph Suchochi was killed near Lake Pleasant, Arizona while shooting at Cacti for fun with his shotgun. After firing several shots at a 26ft (8m) tall Saguaro Cactus from extremely close range, a 4ft limb of the Cactus that was weakened by the gunfire detached and fell on him, crushing him with enough force to cause lethal injuries.
1983: Richard Wertheim, a linesman at the boys' singles finals in the US open, was struck by a ball hit by a young Stefan Edberg. He toppled backwards off his chair fracturing his skull as he hit the ground.
1983: Four divers and a tender were killed on the Byford Dolphin semi-submersible, when a decompression chamber explosively decompressed from 9 atm to 1 atm in a fraction of a second. The diver nearest the chamber opening literally exploded just before his remains were ejected through a 24in (60 cm) opening. The other divers' remains showed signs of boiled blood, unusually strong rigor mortis, large amounts of gas in the blood vessels, and scattered hemorrhages in the soft tissues.
1983: Sergei Chalibashvili, a professional diver, died after a diving accident during the 1983 Summer Universiade in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. When he attempted a three-and-a-half reverse somersault in the tuck position from the ten meter platform, he smashed his head on the platform and was knocked unconscious. He died after being in a coma for a week.
1983: American author Tennessee Williams died when he choked on an eyedrop bottle cap in his room at the Hotel Elysee in New York. He would routinely place the cap in his mouth, lean back, and place his eyedrops in each eye. Williams' lack of gag response may have been due to the effects of drugs and alcohol abuse.
1984:Tommy Cooper, British slapstick comedian died of a heart attack while performing live on national television. The audience continued to laugh as he lay collapsed on the stage, thinking it was part of the act. Following the principle that the show must go on, his body was left on the stage, hastily curtained off, and while attempts were made to revive him the other actors continued the act on the small part of the set which remained.
1984: Jon-Erik Hexum, an American television actor, died after he shot himself in the head with a prop gun during a break in filming, playing Russian Roulette using a revolver loaded with a single blank cartridge. Hexum apparently was not informed that blanks have gunpowder that explodes into gas with enough force to cause severe injury or death if the weapon is fired as contact shot. This is the principle that gives a powerhead its lethality.
1986: Over 1,700 people were killed almost instantly near Lake Nyos in Cameroon when a mass of approximately 100 million cubic metres of carbon dioxide that had collected at the bottom of the lake due to seepage from geothermal sources was suddenly released on August 21, 1986. The gas cloud immediately settled (carbon dioxide is heavier than air) and covered an area of up to 12 miles (20 km) from the lake, killing all oxygen-breathing life almost instantly - although the nearby vegetation, which consumes carbon dioxide and releases oxygen, flourished afterwards.
1987: Budd Dwyer, the State Treasurer of Pennsylvania, committed suicide during a televised press conference in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Facing a potential 55-year jail sentence for alleged involvement in a conspiracy, Dwyer shot himself in the mouth with a revolver.
1988: C.B. Lansing on Aloha Airlines Flight 243, flight attendant was sucked out of an airliner when the bulkhead tore off in mid flight.
1991: Edward Juchniewicz, a 76-year-old man, was killed when the ambulance stretcher he was strapped to rolled down a grade and overturned. The ambulance attendants, while speaking to a doctor's staff, had left the stretcher unattended. Juchniewicz suffered a head injury and died a short time later.
1992: American survivalist Christopher McCandless died of starvation near Denali National Park after a few months trying to live off the land in the Alaskan wilderness. His life and death were researched by Jon Krakauer, who then wrote the novel Into the Wild which was later turned into a movie.
1993: Actor Brandon Lee, son of Bruce Lee, was shot and killed by Michael Massee using a prop .44 Magnum gun while filming the movie The Crow. A cartridge with only a primer and a bullet was fired in the pistol before the fatal scene; this caused a squib load, in which the primer provided enough force to push the bullet out of the cartridge and into the barrel of the revolver, where it became stuck. The malfunction went unnoticed by the crew, and the same gun was used again later to shoot the death scene. His death was not instantly recognized by the crew or other actors; they believed he was still acting.
1993: Garry Hoy, a 38-year old lawyer and a senior partner at the Holden Day Wilson Law firm in Toronto, Canada, fell to his death on July 9, 1993, after he threw himself against a window on the 24th floor of the Toronto-Dominion Centre in an attempt to prove to a group of visiting Law Students that the glass was "unbreakable." His first attempt failed to damage the glass at all, but on his second attempt he broke through the glass and he fell over 300 feet to his death.
1993: Michael A. Shingledecker Jr. was killed almost instantly when he and a friend were struck by a pickup truck while lying flat on the yellow dividing line of a two-lane highway in Polk, Pennsylvania. They were copying a daredevil stunt from the movie The Program. Marco Birkhimer died of a similar accident while performing the same stunt in Route 206 of Bordentown, New Jersey.
1994: Gloria Ramirez was admitted to Riverside General Hospital for complications of advanced cervical cancer. Before she died, her body mysteriously emitted toxic fumes that made several emergency room workers very ill. She has been dubbed as the "toxic lady" by the media.
1996: Sharon Lopatka, an Internet entrepreneur from Maryland, allegedly solicited a man via the Internet to torture and kill her for the purpose of sexual gratification. Her killer, Robert Fredrick Glass, was convicted of voluntary manslaughter for the homicide.
1998: Tom and Eileen Lonergan were stranded while scuba diving with a group of divers off Australia's Great Barrier Reef. The group's boat accidentally abandoned them owing to an incorrect head count taken by the dive boat crew. Their bodies were never recovered. The incident inspired the film Open Water and an episode of 20/20.
1998: Daniel V. Jones committed suicide on a freeway carpool lane near Los Angeles, California by shooting himself through the chin with a shotgun, which was accidentally televised by journalists monitoring the incident on helicopters. Jones, a former hotel maintenance worker, had killed himself partly because of his frustration over treatment by his HMO.
1998: Every player on the visiting soccer team at a game in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was struck by a fork bolt of lightning, killing them all instantly.
1999: Owen Hart, a Canadian-born professional wrestler for WWF, died during a pay-per-view event when performing a stunt. It was planned to have Owen come down from the rafters of the Kemper Arena on a safety harness tied to a rope to make his ring entrance. The safety latch was released and Owen dropped 78 feet (24 m), bouncing chest-first off the top rope resulting in a severed aorta, which caused his lungs to fill with blood.
2000: Airline passenger Jonathan Burton stormed the cockpit door of a Southwest Airlines flight from Las Vegas to Salt Lake City. The 19-year-old was subdued by eight other passengers with such force that he died of asphyxiation.
2001: Bernd-Jürgen Brandes from Germany was voluntarily stabbed repeatedly and then partly eaten by Armin Meiwes (who was later called the Cannibal of Rothenburg). Brandes had answered an internet advertisement by Meiwes looking for someone for this purpose. Brandes explicitly stated in his will that he wished to be killed and eaten.
2001: Gregory Biggs, a homeless man in Fort Worth, Texas, was struck by a car being driven by Chante Jawan Mallard, who had been drinking and taking drugs that night. Biggs' torso became lodged in Mallard's windshield with severe but not immediately fatal injuries. Mallard drove home and left the car in her garage with Biggs still lodged in her car's windshield. She repeatedly visited Biggs and even apologized for hitting him. Biggs died of his injuries several hours later. Chante Mallard was tried and convicted for murder in this case and received a 50-year prison sentence. The film Stuck is loosely based on this unusual death.
2002: Brittanie Cecil, an American 13-year-old hockey fan, died two days after being struck in the head by a hockey puck at a game between the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Calgary Flames at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
2003: Doug McKay was killed at the Island county fair amusement park when his arm was caught as he sprayed lubricant on a Super Loop 2 circular roller coaster. The ride was in operation at the time and he was pulled 40 feet (12 m) in the air before falling and landing on a fence.
2003: Brian Douglas Wells, a pizza delivery man in Erie, Pennsylvania, was killed by a time bomb that was fastened around his neck. He was apprehended by the police after robbing a bank, and claimed he had been forced to do it by three people who had put the bomb around his neck and would kill him if he refused. The bomb later exploded, killing him. In 2007, police alleged Wells was involved in the robbery plot along with two other conspirators.
2003: Dr. Hitoshi Nikaidoh, a surgical doctor, was decapitated as he stepped on to an elevator at Christus St. Joseph Hospital in Houston,Texas on August 16, 2003. According to a witness inside the elevator, the elevator doors closed as Nikaidoh entered, trapping his head inside the elevator with the remainder of his body still outside. His body was later found at the bottom of the elevator shaft while the upper portion of his head, severed just above the lower jaw, was found in the elevator. A subsequent investigation revealed that improper electrical wiring installed by a maintenance company several days earlier had effectively bypassed all of the safeguards.
2003: Timothy Treadwell, an American environmentalist who had lived in the wilderness among bears for thirteen summers in a remote region in Alaska, and his girlfriend Amie Huguenard were killed and partially consumed by a bear. An audio recording of their deaths was captured on a video camera which had been turned on at the beginning of the incident. Werner Herzog's documentary film, Grizzly Man, discusses Treadwell and his death.
2004: Phillip Quinn, a 24-year-old of Kent, Washington was killed during an attempt to heat up a lava lamp bulb on his kitchen stove while closely observing it from only a few feet away. The heat built up pressure in the bulb until it exploded, spraying shards of glass with enough force to pierce his chest, with one shard piercing his heart, killing him. The circumstances of his death were later repeated and confirmed in a 2006 episode of the popular science television series Mythbusters.
2005: Kenneth Pinyan ('Mr. Hands') of Gig Harbor, Washington died of acute peritonitis after seeking out and receiving anal intercourse from a stallion, an act he had engaged in previously. Pinyan delayed his visit to the hospital for several hours out of reluctance to explain the circumstances of his injury to doctors. The case led to the criminalization of bestiality in Washington. His story was recounted in the award winning 2007 documentary film Zoo.
2005: Lee Seung Seop, a 28-year-old South Korean, collapsed of fatigue and died after playing the videogame StarCraft online for almost 50 consecutive hours in an Internet cafe.
2006: Erika Tomanu, A seven-year-old girl in Saitama, Japan, died when she was sucked down the intake pipe of a current pool at a water park. The grill that was meant to cover the inlet came off, yet lifeguards at the pool at the time deemed it safe enough to allow swimmers to stay in the water as they had issued a verbal warning of the situation. She was sucked head first more than 10 metres down the pipe by the powerful pump and it took rescuers more than 6 hours to remove her by digging through concrete to access the pipe.
2006: Steve Irwin, an Australian television personality and naturalist known as The Crocodile Hunter, died when his heart was impaled by a short-tail stingray barb while filming a documentary entitled "Ocean's Deadliest" in Queensland's Great Barrier Reef.
2006: Alexander Litvinenko, a former officer of the Russian State security service, and later a Russian dissident and writer, died after being poisoned with polonium-210 causing acute radiation syndrome. He is the first known case of deliberate poisoning in this manner.
2007: Jennifer Strange, a 28-year-old woman from Sacramento, died of water intoxication while trying to win a Wii console in a KDND 107.9 "The End" radio station's "Hold Your Wee for a Wii" contest, which involved drinking large quantities of water without urinating.
2007: Humberto Hernandez, a 24-year-old Oakland, California resident, was killed while walking on a sidewalk after being struck in the face by an airborne fire hydrant; A passing car blew a tire and swerved onto the sidewalk, striking the fire hydrant. The force of the water pressure released so suddenly it propelled the 200-pound hydrant toward Hernandez with enough force to kill him.
2007: Kevin Whitrick, a 42-year-old man, committed suicide by hanging himself live on a webcam during an Internet chat session.
2007: Surinder Singh Bajwa, the Deputy Mayor of Delhi, India, was kicked by a Rhesus Macaque monkey at his home and fell from a first floor balcony, suffering serious head injuries. He later died from his injuries.
2008: Abigail Taylor, age 6, died nine months after several of her internal organs were partially sucked out of her lower body while she sat on an excessively powerful swimming pool drain. After several months, surgeons replaced her intestines and pancreas with donor organs. Unfortunately, she later succumbed to a rare transplant-related cancer.
2008: Gerald Mellin, a U.K. businessman, committed suicide by tying one end of a rope around his neck and the other to a tree. He then hopped into his Aston Martin DB7 and drove down a main road in Swansea until the rope decapitated him. He supposedly did this as an act of revenge against his ex-wife for leaving him.
2008: David Phyall, 50, the last resident in a block of flats due to be demolished in Bishopstoke, near Southampton, Hampshire, United Kingdom, cut his own head off with a chainsaw to highlight the injustice of being forced to move out.
2008: James Mason, of Chardon, Ohio, died of heart failure after his wife exercised him to death in a public swimming pool. Christine Newton-John was seen on video tape pulling Mason around the pool and preventing him from getting out of the water 43 times. Newton-John later pleaded guilty to reckless homicide.
2009: Diana Durre, of Chambers, Nebraska, died after a 75-foot (23 m) Taco Bell sign fell on top of the truck cab she was in. The pole broke at a welded joint about 15 feet (4.5 m) above the ground owing to strong winds. The sign fell right on top of the quad-cab pickup. Diana was meeting a Wyoming couple to sell them some dogs. Officials said they agreed to meet in North Platte, Nebraska about 1 p.m., “right underneath the big Taco Bell sign.”
2009: Sergey Tuganov, a 28-year-old Russian, bet two women that he could continuously have sex with them both for twelve hours. Several minutes after winning the $4,300 bet, he suffered a heart attack and died. It is believed that the heart attack was the result of Tuganov ingesting an entire bottle of Viagra just after he accepted the bet.
2009: Martin Cassidy, a 44-year-old stand-up comedian from Blackburn, England, died from asphyxia caused by breathing in large quantities of laughing gas while watching pornography on his laptop computer, according to a coroner. The coroner ruled a case of "Death by misadventure".
2009: Shanno Khan, an 11-year-old schoolgirl in India, died after being forced by her teacher to stand for hours outside in the searing New Delhi heat as punishment for not doing her homework.