Strange deaths of 2000.




Blue skull A truck hauling produce crashed into a church van carrying mourners to a funeral in New Mexico on Saturday, killing three people and injuring several others, police said.

All of the fatalities were in the van, which was turning into the Tinnie Cemetery when it was rear-ended by the 18-wheel tractor-trailer on Highway 70 between Ruidoso and Roswell about 200 miles (320 kms) southeast of of Albuquerque.

Investigators had not determined a cause.

At least nine people were hospitalized with at least two in critical condition, police said. The driver of the truck, which overturned after the crash, was among those hurt. He was not identified and his condition was not reported.

The van was from the First Baptist Church in Alamagordo, New Mexico. The truck was headed to Ontario, Canada. Reuters - 8 January


Blue skullA German tourist was killed by a giant king bass on the island of Phangan in Thailand last January. It bit chunks from his shoulder, hands and thighs in a frenzied attack. Holiday-makers dragged the screaming man ashore, but he died before help arrived. Police said that bass were fierce predators, but it was unknown for one to attack a human. Mirror - 8 January 2000.


Blue skull A bus driver was killed after he was struck by his bus.

The man, who has not been named but is believed to be local, appears to have got off his bus in the Allerton area of Liverpool to investigate a problem.

He was then hit by the vehicle - a North Western bus with no passengers on board - as it began to roll and died later of his injuries.

Accident investigators were called to the scene and are trying to establish whether there was any fault with the bus.

An inquiry is to be opened by the Department of Transport. Top Stories - 13 January




Blue skull When Donna Jo Norder, 46, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel reservist, drove into a parking lot at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida on 18 February, a 3ft (91cm) barrier popped up underneath her car, even though she had used a clearance card to access the lot. The car windshield was smashed, both airbags deployed and the front end of the car was perched on top of the barrier when rescue workers arrived. She died at the scene. Associated Press - 19 February 2000


Blue skull Chalil Chathothu Ravindran, 45, retired to a room in his house in Chelora, a town in southern Indian state of Kerala, on 19 December. He told his mother he would come out of the room after 41 days of prayers with complete abstention from food and water, and that he would have divine powers. When he failed to come out after the specified period, neighbours tried to break into the room but were prevented by his relatives. After 50 days, police forced open the door and found Ravindran's decomposed body. Gold Coast Weekend Bulletin (Queensland) - 12 / 13 February 2000.




Blue skullWINNIPEG - A young Canadian man watching a hockey game has died after a puck accidentally flew into the stand and hit him in the head, a coroner said on Monday.

``The cause of death (March 3) was a left epidural hemorrhage as a result of being struck in the head by a puck,'' said a statement from the coroner in the western province of Manitoba.

The man, 21, died in a hospital several days after attending a February 26 game in a small town near the provincial capital of Winnipeg. His condition worsened following the game.

The impact of the puck also caused a skull fracture, the coroner said. Reuters - 7 March


Blue skull Christina Shire, 48, who was fit and healthy, bled to death after nicking a vein while cutting her toenail. She had probably carried out her pedicure four days before police discovered her body on 14 October 1999, surrounded by towels she used in an attempt to staunch the flow. Hornsey coroner's court in north London heard that she might have survived had she not walked around trying to clean up the blood. "Had she lain down," said a pathologist, "[the bleeding] would have stopped very quickly." Daily Telegraph - 9 March 2000


Blue skull Saliamin Akrami, 32, an Afghan asylum seeker residing in Willesden, west London, accidentally killed himself on 23 October 1999 by urinating on a live rail at the deserted Kensal Green railway station. Six hundred volts formed an arc into the tip of his penis, causing him to convulse and collapse on the rail. The alcohol in his blood was more than twice the drink-drive limit, and it was likely he was drunk, Pathologist Rufus Crompton identified the cause of death by a tiny, precise burn mark to the urinary opening of the penis. Guardian - 10 March 2000


Blue skull The body of Amarsinh Mavji, 40, was found in a temple in Gadhula village in the Bhavnagar district of Rajkot. The police claimed he was a victim of 'Kamal puja,' in which a person's head is chopped off to appease the goddess. Members of the Vaghri community had allegedly gathered at the temple to seek forgiveness of sins committed during the past year. As part of the ritual, Amarsinh chopped off his own head with a sword. Exactly how he managed to do this is not explained. Times of India - 10 Mar 2000


Blue skull DOVER TOWNSHIP, N.J., A 10-year-old boy has been charged with stabbing his father to death as the two argued over a missing can of chocolate cake frosting, authorities said.

Andrew Harms, 38, accused his son of taking the icing, goaded the boy and even handed him a 5-inch kitchen knife during Monday night's argument, Ocean County Prosecutor E. David Millard said.

``The discussion became heated and emotional. At that point, Mr. Harms picked up a knife and placed it in the juvenile's hand and stated that if he hated him that much, then he wanted him to stab him,'' he said.

His son then allegedly plunged it once into the man's chest. Harms died an hour later.

The boy, a fourth-grader whose name was not released, has been charged with manslaughter and illegal possession of a weapon. He was being held without bail Wednesday in a juvenile detention center.

The boy is too young to face charges as an adult, but could get three years of juvenile detention if convicted, Millard said.

``The focus with very young offenders like this is usually toward rehabilitation,'' he said.

Millard would not discuss the prior relationship between the boy and his father except to say there had been ``some emotional turmoil.'' Associated Press - 15 March


Blue skull HAMILTON, New Zealand, An audience of hospital patients applauded when a magician collapsed and died during a show, thinking it was part of his act, his family said Friday.

Ron Watson, known as Uncle Ron the Magician, was trying to cheer up stroke victims in the Tokoroa Hospital, including his wife Sheila, when he fell to the ground minutes into his act.

The audience thought the collapse was part of it - except his wife, who tried to get up to help him, despite being partly paralyzed.

``Everyone thought it was part of the act, but of course she knew it wasn't,'' said his son, John Watson.

Doctors spent 45 minutes trying to revive Watson, 69, without success.

John Watson said his father died doing what he loved. His magician idols had been escape artist Houdini and Englishman Tommy Cooper, who also died while performing.

Watson was a former member of England's Bognor Regis Magic Circle and gave performances for charity since he retired 15 years ago. Associated Press - 16 March


Blue skullA Greek fisherman hauling in his nets on 17 March found the body of his son who had been missing for a month. Panagiotis Vettas, 22, fell overboard on 26 January during a fishing trip with his 60-year-old father, Giogos, southeast of Kimolos Island, 90 miles (145km) southwest of Athens. The search had been called off after a few days. Associated Press - 18 March 2000.




Blue skull Stephen Hyett, 38, of Haverhill, Suffolk, who six years ago survived a pioneering transplant in which his stomach, liver, kidney, pancreas, duodenum and small bowel were replaced, died from head injuries after falling off a chair while changing a light bulb. Express -15 April 2000


Blue skullArvin Jah, 48, was killed by a plant pot dropped by a monkey from the sixth floor of a block of flats in New Delhi. The Sun - 17 April 2000.


Blue skull A 23-year-old Italian man died during an Easter re-enactment of Christ's passion, probably because the noose he was wearing in the role of Judas Iscariot was too tight, police said Sunday.

Watched by his parents, Renato Di Paolo had taken part in a re-enactment of the Via Crucis, or way of the cross, in Camerata Nuova 75 km (47 miles) outside Rome Saturday night.

He played Judas, who betrayed Christ, allowing him to be arrested and crucified on what Christians commemorate as Good Friday. Engulfed by remorse, Judas hanged himself from a tree.

Di Paolo, who had played the part safely Friday night, jumped from a height of about 30 cm (one foot) and lay immobile on the ground with a noose around his neck while the play continued. A fellow actor raised the alarm after noticing that he looked too rigid. Di Paolo was rushed to hospital but could not be saved. Reuters - 24 April 2000


Blue skull DUBLIN (Reuters) - A prisoner was stabbed to death in an Irish jail over Easter after his snoring drove a cellmate into a violent rage, newspapers reported Tuesday.

Thomas Brady, 22, was stabbed with a sharpened table knife as he slept in his cell at Dublin's Mountjoy prison early on Easter Sunday. He was rushed to a hospital but could not be saved.

``The Gardai (police) have told me that Thomas was stabbed in his sleep because he was snoring,'' the victim's father told The Star newspaper.

Police said they were questioning a man over the killing but did not disclose his identity. Reuters - 25 April 2000


Blue skull A 22-year-old Ugandan man known as Namerya ate live caterpillars, snails, snakes, lizards, butterflies, rats and frogs for a living. He made 60p for each snake. A report in the New Vision newspaper in Kampala said he died after eating a chameleon, when a swelling developed in his mouth. BBC News - 27 April; AFP - 28 April 2000


Blue skull A cheerful man killed himself so that he could avoid losing his feelings of happiness. Syrian police said Najib Saddi, 35, the boss of a fish firm, left a suicide note saying he was "perfectly happy" but was afraid of "future unhappiness". Daily Express - 29 April 2000




Blue skullLouise Joseph, 26, from Hull, drowned on 2 April during a day out on Papabasam beach in Trivandrum, south India. With her friends Kiran Jhite and Anna Boyd, she was paddling 5ft (1.5m) into the water, which was only 8in (20cm) deep. A fierce rip tide carried them 20ft (6m) out, Kiran and Anna were rescued, but Louise was not so lucky. Daily Telegraph, Daily Express - 12 May 2000.


Blue skullNeil Micklewright, 19, died after accidentally stabbing himself in the eye with a screwdriver while breaking into a church safe in Oldbury, West Midlands. He was found writhing in agony by paramedics. Daily Record - 13 May 2000.


Blue skullBuilder Ian Miller, 55, was cycling along a road near Ayrsgarth in North Yorkshire on 8 May when a pheasant got caught in the spokes of his bicycle. He fell, hit his head on a wall, and died in hospital three days later. Halifax Evening Courier - 19 May 2000.


Blue skull George Story featured in the inaugural issue of Life magazine 64 years ago as a newborn baby dangling by his feet. From that appearance he was known as "the Life Baby". As the magazine grew into an American institution, it continued to track its first star as he married twice, became a father and retired. He appeared in the magazine's final issue in May 2000, this time under the headline "A Life Ends". A few days after it was announced that the magazine was to fold, Mr. Story died from heart failure. It was, as the article said, "sad and altogether strange". Man and magazine had been entwined. Sunday Telegraph - 21 May 2000


Blue skullGloria Terrell, 43, was detained by guards at a Value Village store in Detroit who suspected her of shoplifting a pair of shoes. She made a run for it and hid in a garbage compactor, where she was crushed to death after workers returned from a break and started the machine. Associated Press - 31 May 2000.




Blue skullA Chinese fisherman was killed by a two-foot (60cm) long arrowfish when it leapt from the sea and skewed his lungs with its pointed head. The young man from the province of Fujian, was fishing with a lamp from a small boat when the green fish. which has sharp spines and a long sword-like beak, shot out of the water. A fishery official said the fish might have been frightened by the lamp. Daily Telegraph - 27 June 2000.


Blue skullA thief died trying to flee an art museum in Bonn. Peter Grüber panicked after being surprised by a security guard at the Klausmann Museum of Art and when he raced around a corner, impaled himself upon a 4ft (1.2m)-long sword held by a statue of a blindfolded soldier. The exhibit is called "The Weapon of Justice". Guardian - 29 June 2000.


Blue skullSalesman Emmanuel Broust, 42, from Los Angeles was due to meet buyers in Tokyo, but suffered a heart attack and died in bed in the Ichi Haisin Hotel before making the appointment. For four months, staff continued to obey the "Do not disturb" sign on the door. His body was eventually found by a maid who had just started in the job and thought the room was empty. Initially, she wanted to resign in shame for having disturbed a guest. Metro - 30 June 2000.




Blue skullAt an evening barbecue in August 1996 an Australian fruit bat alighted on the back of a small child. A young woman picked it off and was bitten on the finger. More than two years later, she died from a rabies-lik illness, the second reported case of bat Lyssavirus in Australia. Information about this emerging threat is scarce, but all bat species in Australia are potential carriers. British Medical Journal - 1 July 2000.


Blue skullAn 81-year-old man died on 30 June when lightning struck his house in Safety Bay, south of Perth, Western Australia, and cut power to his respirator. Sunday Mail - 2 July 2000.


Blue skullJoshua Thomas Burchette, 23, of Ocean City, Maryland, complained of hiccoughs after a couple of beers on 1 July and asked a friend to punch him in the chest to try to get rid of them. When his friend reluctantly obliged, he collapsed on the sidewalk and died. Burchette's mother, Jeri Ann Fisyer, said her family has a history of heart problems and her son often complained of chest pains, but had never been hospitalized or placed on medication. Associated Press - 3 July 2000.


Blue skullOn 28 June a 69-year-old man in Vögisheim near Müllheim in Germany fell off a ladder while picking cherries. He died in Freiburg hospital the following morning at the same time as a 68-year-old man in Ebringen, only 6 miles (10km) away, who fell off a ladder while picking cherries and died immediately. Der Rebland-Kurier (Müllheim) - 5 July 2000.


Blue skull Joshua Thomas Burchette, 23, of Ocean City, Maryland, got hiccups after a couple of beers on 1 July, and asked a friend to punch him in the chest to try and get rid of them. His friend obliged; Burchette collapsed on the pavement and died. His mother said her family had a history of heart problems. Queensland Times - 5 July 2000.


Blue skull LLandis Burdon, 56, a retired civil servant, was shot dead after working in his garden in Talybont-on-Usk, near Brecon, Powys, on 6 July. The gunman was his next door neighbour of more than 20 years, Reg Bowen, 61, with home he had been having a dispute over a Leylandii hedge. The 6ft (1.8m) hedge was neatly trimmed on Mr. Bowen's side, but in need of a cut on Mr. Burdon's side. Apart from that, both gardens were in immaculate condition, full of summer blooms, hanging baskets and plant pots. The Times; Daily Telegraph; Daily Express - 7 July 2000.


Blue skullA monster catfish said to be 9ft (2.7m) long pulled an angler into a lake and towed him to his death. Anto Schwarz, 45, shouted to his friends that he had hooked a huge one as his rod bent double. After a struggle lasting several minutes, the fish pulled him off balance and Schwarz, entangled in his line and unable to swim, drowned in Eva Maria Lake near Vienna. The huge fish lurking in Austrian lakes and rivers are legendary. Daily Express - 26 July 2000.


Blue skullEsther Penn, 35, a securities administrator from Brooklyn, was putting the day's stock receipts away in a basement vault of the Depostory Trust and Clearing Corporation on Water Street, Lower Manhattan, on 27 July 2000, when she was accidentally locked inside. She pulled the fire alarm at around 9pm, thinking it would summon help, but instead it triggered a carbon-dioxide-gas-fire extinguishing system which sucked all the air from the vault and suffocated her. Associated Press - 29 July 2000.




Blue skullJose Rojas Mayarita, 39, hooked a 10ft (3m) blue Marlin off Acapulco. He struggled with it for hours, and as he reeled it in, it leapt and landed on top of him, impaling his stomach with its sword. He drifted in the Pacific for four days until he was spotted by a U.S. helicopter. His pulse was week, but he explained what had happened. Intestinal fluid had leaked into his kidneys and he died of renal failure in hospital on 1 August. Independant - 2 August 2000.


Blue skullSeven Mexicans died during an exorcism after the room in which they were holding the rite filled with carbon monoxide fumes, local radio and newspapers reported Sunday.

National Formato 21 radio said self-styled ``witch'' Teodoro Martinez was ridding a 15-year-old boy of evil spirits in the town of Tetla, in the central state of Tlaxcala, Friday when the tragedy occurred.

It said authorities found burning coal in the room, which led them to conclude the cause of death was carbon monoxide poisoning. Two people were being treated in the hospital. Reuters - 14 August 2000


Blue skullLightning killed a 24-year-old Frenchman as he strolled in a Paris park Sunday, police said.

The thunderbolt hit a metal railing in the Tuileries gardens on the north bank of the river Seine before striking the man, they said. The park is popular with tourists.

French meteorologists predicted violent storms for the next 24 hours in the region around the French capital and the city's mayor ordered the closure of parks and cemeteries. Reuters - 21 August 2000


Blue skullThree young park concession employees jumped into a 178 degree F (81 degree C) hot spring, thinking it was an ordinary cold-water pond. The three were burned on 21 August in the Cavern Spring, a 10ft (3m) deep pool in the Lower Geyser Basin, seven miles (11km) north of Old Faithful in the middle of Yellowstone National Park. Sarah Hulphers, 30, of Oroville, Washington, was burned over her entire body and died a few hours later in a Salt Lake City hospital. The other two - Tyler Montague, 18, and Lance Buchi, 18 - were in critical condition. Associated Press - 24 August 2000.


Blue skull SHAWNEE, Okla. An 82-year-old man was killed when his wife accidentally backed over him with their car while trying to drag him to the house after he had fallen in the driveway, police said.

Pottawatomie County Sheriff's Detective Tracy Warkentien described Franklin Gray's death Thursday as a ``freak accident.''

Gray, who is legally blind and uses a cane, was going for a walk along the driveway when he fell. His 87-year-old wife, Leta, tried to help him up but couldn't.

Gray asked her to drag him back to the house with a rope attached to the couple's car, Warkentien said. She came back with an extension cord and tied it to his belt.

The belt broke as the car started moving up the 44-foot driveway. The wife then tied the cord to Gray's ankle, Warkentien said.

When the extension cord broke, police said Gray asked his wife to back the car closer to him so he could reattach it. But, police said, her foot apparently was on the gas instead of the brake and when she put the car in reverse it backed over him. Associated Press - 26 August 2000


Blue skullAmigdalia Balta, 86, found dead of starvation in her home on the Greek island of Evia, has £350,000 in bank accounts and jewellery. A recluse for many years, she had also amassed 150 gold sovereigns. Daily Telegraph - 30 August 2000.



Blue skullA Romanian man who wanted to kill himself had a heart attack before being able to hang himself from a rope he had tied to the ceiling. Iosif Capota wrote farewell notes, then locked himself in a Calimanesti hotel room. The rope was hanging nearby. Evening Standard - 13 September 2000.


Blue skullJenny Rider, 41, poured petrol over her clothes and set it alight. As it flared, she changed her mind and plunged into a river in New Norfolk, Tasmania, to douse the flames. She then knocked herself unconscious on a rock and drowned. News of the World - 24 September 2000.


Blue skullA camel herder at Jizan in southern Saudi Arabia paid with his life for beating one of his beasts, the Al-Iqtissadiya newspaper reported. The camel waited all day after the morning beating before trampling the sleeping herder to death and biting his neck. The blood-stained camel was shot dead after the herd's owner found the body. Adelaide Advertiser - 27 September 2000.


Blue skullLesley Hovvells, 39, of Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, known as Red Sonia because of her flaming red hair, had 118 body piercings - 28 ear studs, 13 earings, 11 belly bars through her navel, 18 other bars, six lip rings, six nose studs, and 36 body rings. She is believed to have had over 40 piercings in the year before her death. She eventually died of septicaemia and bacteria in the bloodstream when her body was "overwhelmed" by infection. She went to her local pub with friends to celebrate the Millenium Eve and collapsed at 1:30am. She died in hospital 11 days later. The Times, Daily Telegraph - 29 September 2000.




Blue skullScott Dominguez, 24, was water-skiing at 112mph (180km/h) on the Clarence River, near Grafton, New South Wales, when a flock of swans took fright at the noise of the boat and flew across his path. He slammed into 5 swans and was knocked unconscious. Medics were unable to revive him. Adelaide Advertiser - 3 October 2000.


Blue skullA 20-year-old Yemeni bride was killed by a Scorpion which a jealous older wife had hidden in the younger woman's wig. Reports from Taiz in south Yemen said the creature was hidden in the hairpeice with the help of a hairdresser. The bride felt the stings as she was dressed to be taken to her future husband's house, but the coiffeur told her the pain was from hair pins. Doctors said she died of 24 stings. Less poison was enough to be fatal. Muslim men are traditionally allowed up to four wives. Melbourne Herald Sun - 13 October 2000.




blue skullGreek twins born 73 years ago died almost simultaneously on 5 November. Paul Kalaitzakis, who was in a coma, died 20 minutes after his brother Anthony. They were born in the village of Agia Barbara, near Iraklion. Daily Telegraph - 6 November 2000


Blue skull Julian Hendricks, 24, died when a tree fell on power lines, causing a power cut to the ventilator that kept him alive. The Bournemoutt and Poole coroner recorded a verdict of accidental death. The Times - 8 November 2000.


Blue skullGerman tourist Hermann Roag somehow survived a fall from the window of his 8th floor hotel room in Lausanne, Switzerland with no more than a broken ankle; but on the way to hospital he fell out of the ambulance and died under the wheels of a passing bus. Guardian - 23 November 2000.



Blue skullAntonio Mazelli, 24, whose friend Ricardo Lestrada handed him a mobile phone with a superglued handgrip - as a joke - to answer while driving along Milan's main highway, lost control of his vehicle and struck a crash barrier while trying to dislodge the unit from his right palm where it had stuck. He suffered minor injuries in the crash, while Lestrada died from internal injuries at the scene. Media Milano - 5 December 2000.


Blue skullThomasina Thomasa, 27, constructed a home-made bazooka out of an old piece of iron piping which he loaded with an empty beer can filled with gravel, using as propellant a teaspon of petrol vapour ignited by a car sparkplug screwed in the pipe base. The can knocked the TV aerial off his own near Buenos Aires in Argentina. The structure fell on him, causing multiple injuries from which he subsequently died. Correpondio Argentina - 18 December 2000.


Blue skullTwo men survived the crash of a small plane in the Swiss Alps - only to plummet over a cliff to their deaths while groping through wind-driven snow in search of help. A third man, one of two passengers aboard the Air Zermatt flight to Milan, which crashed after take-off on 23 December from Aosta, reached safety by heading in another direction. Adelaide Advertiser - 27 December 2000.



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