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.

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.

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.

Celebration of the Fourth of July turns deadly

Brendon Mackey, a 7-year-old boy from Midlothian, Virginia, died during a 4th of July party when a .40 caliber bullet fell from the sky and struck him in the head after being shot upwards into the air somewhere else in the neighborhood in celebratory fire.

Submission by Logan Agle. Thank you.

Fatal Golf Tee

Navy Lieutenant George M. Prior, 30, died while playing golf at a course in Arlington, Virginia, due to a sudden, extreme allergic reaction to Draconil, a fungicide used to maintain the green on golf courses. Prior had a habit of carrying his tee in his teeth in between shots, which caused him to unknowingly ingest a small amount of the chemical.

Submission by Logan Agle. Thank you.