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Accidents Happen: 10 of the Craziest Catastrophes Nobody Saw Coming

by Aric Mitchell

Accidents are accidents for a reason. No one sees them coming. You don't get up in the morning and pencil in "head-on collision" to your daily planner. However, no matter how expected the unexpected is, sometimes it can be so unexpected that Nostrodamus himself couldn't help scratching his head and muttering "Holy $#!+."

When the unfortunate subjects of the following accidents started their fateful last days, we doubt they expected what was going to happen next. But with hindsight 20/20, we can now add the following to our list of crazy stuff that could happen to us any time now.

Sani Abacha

General Sani Abacha served as the Head of State for Nigeria shortly before his death. During his tenure, he was seen as a bit of a tyrant and a man guilty of several human rights abuses. But nothing like that could compare to his abuse of a certain little blue pill designed for those looking to serve as General between the sheets. While there are conflicts surrounding his death-some claim it was a reaction to an overdose of Viagra while others believe he was poisoned by a sextet of Indian prostitutes-one thing is for certain. The man died happy, or as happy as one can be in the presence of six adoring hookers, who may or may not be your killers.

Sani Abacha
Photo from Wikipedia.org

The official cause of death was listed as heart attack, but what set that in motion is another story. Regardless of which scenario is the accurate one, we doubt that he thought the next 5 seconds of his life would be the last 5 seconds of his life. (That's at least how long we're assuming the orgy would have been if his ticker had allowed him to go through with it.)

Vic Morrow

Movie and TV audiences today may not recognize the name "Vic Morrow," but throughout the 50's, 60's and 70's he derived quite the reputation as a character actor, logging memorable roles in the film The Blackboard Jungle as well as the original Bad News Bears, and ABC's classic TV series Combat! He was in his waning years as an actor when a memorable role in the film adaptation Twilight Zone: The Movie was offered to him in 1982. Morrow would play a bigoted businessman and war veteran with prejudices against a wide variety of ethnicities, including African-Americans, Mexicans, and Jews, who steps across the threshold into the Twilight Zone and discovers what it's like to be all the different groups that he hates.

Vic Morrow

The story was meant to be a redemptive one in which the main character sets aside his hatred in the closing moments and saves two small Vietnamese children during the Vietnam War. Unfortunately, fate had other plans. While filming a climactic scene in the narrative, weather conditions caused a helicopter to spin out of control and crash into Morrow and his two small co-stars. All three were killed in the accident. The movie wasn't much better.

Brandon Lee

Brandon Lee
Photo from Wikipedia.org

For years there has been speculation that the great Bruce Lee's family is under some kind of curse. For starters, Bruce Lee was one of the most physically fit men to ever walk the earth. As a martial arts expert he kept himself in prime shape at all times, yet he died at 32 years of age from complications related to cerebral edema, a condition in which the subject is given to severe headaches and seizures. With all famous deaths conspiracy theories circulate as to the real cause. Regardless, when son Brandon took a role in the film The Crow, it appeared as though all the curse talk would soon be a thing of the past. The younger Lee was a rising star and a martial arts expert in his own right.

He'd previously worked with Ivan Drago in Showdown in Little Tokyo. When something in that god-awful film attracted director Alex Proyas to the star, the only luck that it seemed the Lee Clan now had was good. Then, during filming on March 31, 1993, Lee was supposed to get shot at by a gun that contained blank ammunition. Unfortunately, and unbeknownst to the crew, there was a piece of bullet stuck in the barrel. The force of the blast pushed the fragment far enough to enter Lee's body. He died six hours later.

Sherwood Anderson

Sherwood Anderson
Photo from Wikipedia.org

This guy may not be immediately recognizable to some of you younger pups, but when your books and short stories inspire the likes of Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, and John Steinbeck, you've got a little room to brag. Anderson's most famous work, Winesburg, Ohio, is a book of related short stories all revolving around the life of George Willard. Hailed as a classic piece of literature in weaving both the short and long form stories together, Winesburg, Ohio, would be overshadowed only by the unceremonious way in which the author kicked the bucket. While devouring a martini olive, Anderson figured he'd just go ahead and eat the toothpick, too. (We're assuming it was on purpose; wouldn't you?) While the incident may have just returned as a slightly painful stool the next day for many of us, it perforated Anderson's colon and led to him contracting peritonitis, which ultimately did him in. Drinking apparently does kill; just not in all the ways you would expect.

Jack Daniel

Jack Daniel
Photo from Wikipedia.org

Jasper Newton "Jack" Daniel is one of our favorite people here at BudgetLife.com, and we think he's probably one of yours, too. Forget about the fact that he's one of the primary reasons we can't remember our weddings, the births of our child, or what we did to wake up to the 200-pound stripper on the night of our buddy's bachelor party. He is the guy that gave us Jack Daniel's, and if we have to explain what that is, then you are either not a man, or have never lived amongst mortals. Nevertheless, as great as his contribution was to our society, he died in a manner exemplary of his trademark temper yet as embarrassing as could be for a guy rugged enough to invent whiskey. It seems that Daniel arrived to work early one morning, which in itself is enough to piss any man off. But when he couldn't get the safe to open, he stammered into a fit becoming of Yosemite Sam, a cartoon character that he happened to look like. Kicking the safe, he injured his toe, and the injury led to blood poisoning, which resulted in his death. Before he died, however, he reportedly uttered a line that has been repeated at Catholic wedding receptions every year since: "One last drink, please..."

J.G. Parry-Thomas

J.G. Parry-Thomas
Photo from Wikipedia.org

You may not have ever heard of J.G. Parry-Thomas, but you have heard of a little something called the Land Speed Record. At one time this guy owned it! In 1926, he set a record that would stand for more than 12 months. Then, a smart aleck by the name of Malcolm Campbell came in and broke it. Parry-Thomas had one choice, and that was to get back behind the wheel of his beloved Liberty engine Babs, and see if he could show Campbell a thing or two in reclaiming. When the car hit 170 mph, its drive chain broke off. Normally, this wouldn't have been a problem, except the chains were exposed, and Parry-Thomas was driving with his head tilted to the right-recipe for disaster. Some reports state that Parry-Thomas was decapitated by the impact, while others just refer to it as "a fatal head injury." We're thinking the semantics didn't matter all that much. He did, allegedly, set a new record in death as the car's final speed broke 171 mph, so not all was lost.

Apollo 1

Apollo 1
Photo from Wikipedia.org

We've always believed that being the first to do anything is not a good thing. Oh sure, history is peppered with exceptions, but we get a feeling that the first poor guy, who attempted learning how to swim didn't win eight gold medals at the 2008 Olympic Games. Such is the case with the Apollo 1 crew, named "Apollo 1" posthumously when, in 1967, construction flaws led to a fire that killed all three crew members. Edward H. White, Roger B. Chaffee, and Gus Grissom, were supposed to be the three guys that walked on the moon. Instead they became some of the first casualties of the U.S. space program, which subsequently would kill again in 1986 with the Space Shuttle Challenger.

Owen Hart

Owen Hart
Photo from Wikipedia.org

The Hart Family has long been synonymous with professional wrestling, and by that, we mean the more respectable aspects of it, not the crazy-ass ramblings of Hulk Hogan. Each of the Hart Family is known for technical wrestling ability and showmanship. Had Owen Hart decided to stick with technical wrestling ability, the showmanship deal may have never killed him. At some point, however, he actually started to believe that he was the Blue Blazer, a superhero character that descended into the ring from 80 feet up. (In all seriousness, he was actually quite uneasy about the stunt, but agreed to it in an effort not to anger Vince McMahon, who thought it would be a cool attraction for the Over the Edge PPV on the night of May 23, 1999.) What happened next was tragic. While making his descent to the ring, Hart presumably triggered an early release from the harness, which held him safely in place. He fell to his death in front of thousands of fans. No footage has ever been released of the fall. We have to think that if cell phone technology had been a tad more advanced at the time, the video would be one of the biggest sensations on YouTube.

Natalie Wood

Natalie Wood
Photo from Wikipedia.org

Pretty sure there was only one Natalie Wood film that we saw growing up where we didn't have our share of impure thoughts about her, and that was the original Miracle on 34th Street (because she played the kid). Even at 43 years old and starring in the release Brainstorm alongside a young Christopher Walken, it was hard to imagine Wood's better days could be behind her. However, on the night of November 28, 1981, all of Wood's days would come to an end in an unfortunate and-surprise, surprise-mysterious way. The trio was spotted in a drunken frenzy at the Harbor Reef Restaurant near Isthmus Cove, where their boat was anchored. At the time Wood was in a relationship with Robert Wagner, but she had been openly flirting with Walken in front of Wagner all night, and patrons of the restaurant described the resulting scene as "rude" and "rowdy." Sometime after midnight, Wood disappeared, presumably on a dinghy to look at the evening stars. Police concluded that as she untied the dinghy, she slipped and struck her head on the boat, then slipped into the water where she drowned.

Felix Faure

Felix Faure
Photo from Wikipedia.org

President Bill Clinton may have been exposed to the world as an adulterer with questionable taste in women-come on, Hillary, and then Monica Lewinsky; we think we could abuse our Presidential powers a little better than that-but he could at least take solace in the fact that his philandering ways didn't get him killed like our last guy on this list. And no, it wasn't a jealous lover breaking in to his office and shooting him with an elephant gun. He was actually killed by the Delilah herself, the actress Marguerite Steinheil. Of all the ways to go unexpectedly, this is probably the only one where we see ourselves checking out with a smile on our faces. President Felix Faure of France was reportedly getting the old "pomper" treatment when he left this world via heart attack. French people will know what we mean by "pomper." For the rest of you, it means she was kissing him where he peed.

Billions of people throughout history-we're sure we missed a few that should have turned up here. What are some of the craziest accidents or deaths that you remember, and where were you when it all went down? Share your thoughts with us below!

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