Have you ever been left in awe, your heart in your mouth, figuratively speaking, when you watch a movie or YouTube videos of actors or actresses, professionals, or amateurs, performing daring or unthinkable feats/exploits/stunts?
Call it as you may, these daredevil stunts have gain immense popularity worldwide. Browse on social media sites, you'll see hundreds of such daredevil stunts littered there.
So, what is a daredevil stunt? Simply, it is a reckless, bold, and risky act. In the filming industry, professionals go through several trainings, and safety measures are put in place to minimize severe injuries, and the possibility of death. Outside of the filming industry, the daredevil stunt men and women, majority of whom are amateurs, perform risky acts for a number of reasons, chief among them, to gain more likes and follows in their social media accounts.
Herein, we will look at the 6 most fatal daredevil stunts, not including film-contracted stunts, that were acted out by both professionals and amateurs.
1. Death from a Bridge, April 1999 - Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Robert C. Landeta, 26, a former junior Olympic boxer, desired to gain a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records by scaling five mountains in four hours.
On the fateful day, he began his conquest by climbing Brooklyn Bridge. In the mid-morning, halfway to the top of the bridge, he lost his grip on a thick suspension cable, and fell 500 feet below, hitting an alleyway. According to eyewitnesses, the fall which eventually led to his immediate death resulted when the young man made a fatal mistake of turning around to pose for a photo
Not only did Landeta want to make it on the Guinness Book of World Records, but also hoped the feat would boost his CV.
He was pursuing a career as an actor and stuntman before his death.
2. Death on the Air, April 2013 - Siliguri town, West Bengal, India
Sailendra Nath Roy, 50, suffered a heart attack while trying to cross a river suspended on a zip wire by his ponytail.
With the help of his friends, he set up a zip wire of 600ft long from the Coronation Bridge measuring 70ft high.
Hundreds of people had gathered to watch the feat. According to the eyewitnesses, Mr. Roy stopped making progress after covering a distance of 300 feet. A photographer, who covered the stunt, said that Mr. Roy was desperately trying to scream out some instruction. However, no one could make out what he's saying. He struggled for half-an-hour to move, and came to a standstill - no movement noticeable.
According to police, the stuntman was hanging on the wire for 45 minutes before he's brought down. He was pronounced dead on arrival at a local hospital; the cause of death, a 'massive heart attack.'
Mr. Roy wasn't new to performing stunts using his hair. He had claimed a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for having travelled the farthest distance on a zip using his ponytail. Additionally, as stated by Independent, "In 2008, Mr Roy pulled the famous Darjeeling toy train with his ponytail, and in 2007 he flew from one building to another with his ponytail tied to a rope."
3. Death from a skyscraper, November 2017 - Changsha, Hunan Province, China
He was known for performing dangerous stunts atop high-rising buildings. The stunts which he either filmed himself or by someone else garnered him thousands of followers and likes on China's social media site, Weibo. If his followers liked his stunts, they would tip him.
This form of stunt, 'rooftopping,' which involves scaling very tall buildings without the use of safety equipment, has become increasingly common in urban areas.
The last video which filmed his death shows Wu Yongning struggling to get back on the roof a 62-story building, Huayuan International Centre, in the central city of Changsha.
In the video, Wu performs several pull ups off the top of the building before trying to get back on the top of the building. Sweating to hold onto the building's ledge, he struggles to gain his footing on the wall so as to hoist himself to the top. Exhausted, his hands slips leading to his fall on a terrace below the ledge. His body, according to the police, was found by a cleaner.
The video clip had received more than 15 million views in a month on Weibo.
It's reported that Wu hoped the prize money he'd receive, $15,000, from participating in the challenge would enable him to fund the treatment of his mother who was sick, and his wedding. It isn't known who sponsored and organized the challenge.
Wu was a trained martial arts stuntman, having played a number of acting roles in several films.
4. Death on the Road, August 2017 - Vladivostok, Primorsky Krai, Russia
Olga Pronina, 40, a Russian hairdresser, and a biker stunt woman, lost control of her motorbike and crashed into a guardrail in Vladivostok.
Going by the username, Monika9422, Olga had amassed more than 160,000 followers on her Instagram by posting her stunts on her BMW S1000RR sports bike in revealing costumes.
Photos of the fatal crash shows her bike, split in half, rammed under a rail. She died on the spot from the severe injuries she suffered from the fatal crash.
5. Death from Fire, April 2016 - Hyderabad, India
Mohammed Jalauddin, 19, desired to participate in a reality show broadcasted in a local channel, titled, 'India's Got Talent.'
He asked his two friends to capture videos of him undertaking two stunts involving fire. He would then select the best shot video clips which he'd use as a ticket to gain an entry, as a participant, in the show.
The first stunt involved putting some petrol in his mouth, and blowing it against a stick. In the second stunt, acted on top of a hill, he poured kerosene on his T-Shirt, and lit it. However, he was unable to remove his T-Shirt on time to complete the stunt since his body had caught fire.
He sustained 60% burn injuries which he succumbed to a week later in a local hospital. Even in his dying condition, he wanted the video clips to be sent to the show. He absolved anyone from the incident stating he did it voluntarily.
6. Death from Cannonball, April 2011 - Dettling, Kent, U.K
Mathew Cranch, 24, suffered multiple injuries when he was fired from a canon, dying several hours later at a local hospital.
The stunt involved Mr. Cranch being fired from a canon installed on a lorry and landing on a safety net. Instead of landing safely on the net, he plunged to the ground owing to the net having collapsed.
The incident occured at the Dettling Showground in front of spectators during the Scott May's Daredevil Stunt Show.
In 2015, an inquest in Maidstone Crown Court, Kent, concluded Mr. Cranch's death had been an accident. However, on December 2016, the director of the UK-based stunt company was fined £100,000 for safety breaches, and given 12-month community service order by the same court.
Mr. Crunch had joined the stunt firm four weeks prior to his death.
7. Death from a Building, July 2013 - St. Petersburg, Russia
On July 2013, on the rooftop of a 16th floor building in St. Petersburg, Pavel Kashin attempted to do a backflip. Kashin was an experienced parkour artist named as one of the best forerunners in the world.
On the fateful day, Kashin was standing on a ledge that was 3ft wide on the rooftop of a 16-storey building. According to witnesses, as he attempted to perform a backflip (a backward somersault in the air), he lost his footing on the landing; plunging onto the sidewalk below the apartment.
8. Death from a Cliff, March 2013 - Utah United States
Kyle Lee Stocking, 22, miscalculated the length of a climbing rope which which would enable him to swing under a 110-foot sandstone arch located near Moab, Utah.
According to police, the rope was too long such that when Lee jumped, he hit the ground rather than swinging under the Corona arch.
He died at the scene.
9. Death from Steaming - Suala Sanglang, Malaysia
Lim Ba, 68, a Taoist medium, died from burns and heart attack when performing a 'human steaming' ritual, meant to cleanse both the body and soul, at a Chinese temple during the Nine Emperor Gods festival.
During the performance, Ba sat on a wooden platform that was placed on top of a boiling wok, in a meditative posture; covered by a giant cylindrical metal lid.
After thirty minutes of being enclosed in the metal lid while sitting on the boiling wok, bangs were heard coming from the lid. The lid was opened, and Ba was taken out by devotees in an unconscious state.
He died from second-degree burns and heart attack before an ambulance had arrived.
According to his youngest son, his father had been performing the 'human steaming' ritual for more than ten years. His family concerned about his health situation had repeatedly begged him to stop doing it
Her daughter, in a reported interview on The Star newspaper, said the longest time her father had stayed in the steam cover was 75 minutes.
© 2021 Alianess Benny Njuguna