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.
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.
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”.
Anton Yelchin, talented actor having starred in several prominent film/tv roles, was found deceased, after failing to meet with friends who visited his home to check on him when he didn’t show. He was found pinned between his Jeep Cherokee and a brick wall. His Jeep was found to still be running and in neutral. The Jeep was pushing with such force that it bent the gate beside the brick wall.
In 1908, Byron Carter, founder of Cartercar, came across a stalled motorist on Belle Isle in the middle of the Detroit River. He gallantly offered to crank the car for the stranded driver. When she forgot to retard the spark, the crank kicked and broke Carter’s jaw. Complications developed, and Carter later died of pneumonia.
Ismail ibn Hammad al-Jawhari, an author and scholar from Farab, Turkestan, famous for writing the highly influential “The Crown of Language and the Correct Arabic” dictionary, is said to have fallen to his death in 1002 while attempting to fly with a pair of homemade wooden wings after jumping off the roof of a mosque in Nishapur, Iran.
Submission by Logan Agle. Thank you.
Charles II of Navarre, also known as Charles the Bad, the king of Navarre and key participant in the Hundred Years War, burned alive when the brandy-soaked bandages he had been covered in to cure an illness were accidentally ignited by one of his servant’s candles.
Franz Reichelt, a 33-year-old Austrian tailor and inventor living in Paris, died jumping from the first platform of the Eiffel Tower in a test of his experimental parachute-suit. Reichelt had designed the flight-suit that extended into a parachute as a way to save pilots that were forced to eject from their aircraft mid-flight when they couldn’t carry a traditional backpack-parachute with them. He had received permission from the Paris Police to conduct a trial-run of his suit on the Eiffel Tower using a dummy. Just before the test was to take place, Reichelt revealed that he would be making the jump instead, despite attempts by friends and spectators to dissuade him. When he made the jump his parachute failed to deploy and he fell 190 ft. to his death. The entire event, including Reichelt’s death, was captured by a cinematographer. This footage can now be found on the Internet, and is one of the earliest examples of an accidental death being caught on film.
Submission by Logan Agle. Thank you.
Children’s entertainer Rod Hull died while adjusting the television aerial on the roof of his house. He had been watching a Manchester United European Cup match with his 19-year-old son Oliver. In his attempt to improve reception, he slipped from the roof and fell through an adjoining greenhouse. The 63-year-old entertainer suffered a severe skull fracture and chest injuries. He was pronounced dead on arrival at Conquest Hospital in Hastings.
Connor Clapton, the 4 year old son of musician Eric Clapton, fell out of an open picture window on the 53rd floor of a New York high-rise apartment. He landed on the roof of an adjacent 4-story building. The large window had been left open by a janitor while cleaning.
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 head with a .357 Magnum revolver.