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1999 Personal Accounts
Email a Friend The Darwin Awards salutes the spirit portrayed in the following personal accounts, submitted by loyal (and sometimes deceased) readers. Next
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Quarry Story 
1999 Personal Account

In June 1985, Bo Linkous, a Junior attending Christiansburg High School in Montgomery County, VA, made headlines by drowning in a rock quarry. Nothing out of the ordinary, really, except for some unreported circumstances surrounding his death that I later learned from his friends.

It turns out that as an end-of-school-year prank, Bo and three friends worked overtime one night, visiting dozens of their schoolmates' houses to steal the personalized license plates from their cars. One of the perpetrators estimates that they stole some 50 sets of plates.

The next day, dozens of students called in to the school claiming they had already missed the bus and couldn't drive in because their license plates were stolen. The school called the police, the police called an assembly, and they explained to the students that this was a Class 1 Felony and a massive dragnet was going to be initiated.

Bo and his three friends quickly realized that they were in deeper water than they had bargained for. That night they took the license plates, hidden in a gym bag, to a nearby rock quarry and had a last bit of fun sailing the plates into the water one by one.

A couple of days later, after school was out, the boys decided to revisit the crime scene and knock off a case of beer at the quarry. It was a nice sunny day, and to their horror, they saw that the entire quarry was agleam with the aluminum backsides of dozens of license plates resting on the bottom.

Bo quickly hatched a plan. They went back to his place and got a box of trash bags and his inflatable raft, then retuned to the quarry. Bo grabbed a couple of forty pound rocks, threw them in the raft, filled a trash bag with air, and paddled the raft out to the part of the quarry where the plates were densest and most visible.

The plan, was that Bo would grab the rock and the bag, roll over the side of the raft, quickly sink to the bottom, and turn the plates shiny-side down, while breathing air from the bag. Then, presumably, he would drop the rock and use the bag to float himself back to the surface, and prepare for a second immersion if needed.

In the end, however, Bo didn't need to go down but once. Because the water in the quarry was so clear, Bo had vastly underestimated the water's depth, which was about seventy feet. He rode the rock down until the water pressure burst the trash bag, but by then he was too deep to make it back to the surface.

By the time the dive team and other authorities arrived, the sun was setting and was no longer shining directly into the quarry. Bo's body was recovered and reported as a routine drowning death.

Nobody noticed the license plates.


Addendum:
Many readers have convincingly explained that a bag of air shrinks under increasing pressure as it descends, therefore will not burst, and this story is false. The "Ideal Gas Law" equation PV = nRT proves their position. Other readers argue that the buoyancy of the air pressing upwards will burst the bag, and that the story is true. What do you think of the Quarry Story?

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Submitted by: Trey Howell

Reference: Roanoke Times in Virginia
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