Criticality accident

Louis Slotin, a Canadian physicist working on the Manhattan Project at the Los Alamos Laboratory in New Mexico, became the second person in history to die in a nuclear criticality event, eight months after Harry K. Daghlian, Jr. became the first. Slotin was performing an experiment which attempted to begin the first stages of a nuclear reaction by enclosing a plutonium-gallium alloy bomb-core in a beryllium sphere. Slotin, who was not following proper safety protocol at the time, dropped the sphere and caused a “prompt critical” reaction that exposed him to a lethal dose of ionizing radiation. He died nine days later after suffering what doctors described as an “agonizing sequence of radiation-induced traumas”. The bomb-core that had been used during the accident was actually the same core that had killed Harry K. Daghlian, Jr. eight months prior, which was consequently nicknamed “The Demon Core” by the rest of the Manhattan Project staff.

Submission by Logan Agle. Thank you.

Sauna Death

Vladimir Ladyzhensky, a Russian athlete, died in the final round of the 2010 World Sauna Championship in Heinola, Finland, after collapsing and being pulled from the finalists’ sauna for the men’s competition. The event was an endurance-contest started in 1999 in which competitors attempt to be the last person to leave a high-temperature, high-humidity sauna. Ladyzhensky was dragged out after collapsing and almost immediately began suffering spasms and convulsions. Timo Kaukonen, a Finnish competitor and five-time champion of the event, also collapsed during the final round and had to be removed from the sauna by medical personnel. Both men were immediately taken to a hospital for treatment. An autopsy determined that Ladyzhensky had ultimately died of third-degree burns over portions of his body, with his condition exacerbated by the pain-killers he had taken earlier in order to increase his ability to endure the intense final round of competition. Kaukonen had to be placed into a medically-induced coma that lasted six weeks, but ultimately survived after having suffered severe burns over 70% of his body’s surface, having scalded his respiratory-system and suffering kidney-failure. The sauna used for the final round of the men’s competition had been heated to more than 230 degrees Fahrenheit and had a humidity nearing 100% saturation due to a constant water-drip on the heating-element. This was significantly more extreme than the saunas used in previous World Sauna Championship competitions. Footage of the 2010 event, including Ladyzhensky and Kaukonen’s collapse and removal from the sauna, has been made available on the Internet. In 2011, it was announced that Heinola was officially cancelling all future World Sauna Championship events.

Submission by Logan Agle. Thank you.

Purple vs Pink

Austin Wuennenberg, a 21-year-old employee of Disney World piloting the Monorail Purple train on the Disney Monorail System, was killed when the Monorail Pink train backed into his cockpit during a failed rail switch-over.

Submission by Logan Agle. Thank you.

Oops

Harry K. Daghlian, Jr., a scientist working on the Manhattan Project at the Los Alamos Laboratory in New Mexico, became the first person in history to die in a nuclear criticality event. While preparing a bomb for the Operation Crossroads series of nuclear tests, Daghlian accidentally dropped a tungsten-carbide brick onto a plutonium-gallium alloy bomb-core, causing it to go supercritical. Daghlian received an estimated 510 REM of neutron radiation and quickly developed severe radiation poisoning. He died in a coma 25 days after the initial incident.

Submission by Logan Agle. Thank you.

Comedian Died Onstage

Dick Shawn, an American actor and standup comedian known for his roles in movies including It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World and The Producers, died at the age of 63 in the middle of a standup routine being performed at the University of California. Shawn suffered a heart-attack on stage and collapsed face-down, with many audience-members believing it was part of his act since just prior to collapsing he had been imitating political campaign slogans including “If elected, I will not lay down on the job”.

Submission by Logan Agle. Thank you.

Double Trouble

Nasir Shaikh, a 26-year-old repairman from Mumbai, India, was killed in a pressure-explosion when two air-compressors for a mall’s air-conditioning system simultaneously violently ruptured while he was performing maintenance on them.

Submission by Logan Agle. Thank you.

Nailed it

Richard M. Talley, the 56-year-old CEO and founder of American Title Services in Greenwood Village, Colorado, committed suicide by shooting himself eight times in the head and upper chest with a high-powered nail gun. American Title Services was under investigation at the time for insurance fraud.

Submission by Logan Agle. Thank you.