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Darwin Awards
2002 Personal Accounts
Email a Friend The Darwin Awards salutes the spirit portrayed in the following personal accounts, submitted by loyal (and sometimes reluctant) readers. Next Prev Random

 
 
Acetylene Fun? Not!
2002 Personal Account

(1993, Ontario, Canada) After I borrowed a welding torch and used it cut up an old water tank on my family's property, I found myself with leftover partial bottles of oxygen and acetylene. It seemed wrong to waste all that gas, particularly since I had heard about fuel-oxygen explosives, and had always wanted to test the concept.

I extinguished the torch by setting it to the "leanest" possible burn, and snuffing it by smacking the tip against a flat surface. I then filled a large plastic garbage bag (13 gallons) with oxygen and acetylene from the torch, and inserted a 6" visco cannon fuse.

I placed the homemade explosive on a big rock by the river. I remember lighting the fuse, and I remember backing away as it began to burn. The next thing I knew, I returned to consciousness in the river!

Both of my eardrums were broken, and I was bleeding from both ears and my nose. My beard and exposed hair were singed and curly, but oddly, there were no burns on my skin. I later discovered a perfect image of the folds, seams and buttons of the cotton shirt I was wearing, imprinted as bruises on my chest and arms. It took months for my eardrums to heal, and I still can't hear high frequencies well.

What happened? Perhaps a spark from the fuse touched the bag. Perhaps the bag had a small leak. Whatever the cause, I'm lucky to be alive. At the emergency room, the workers said, "When we get a welder here, he usually dies."

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TheBigBadWolf says, " This account is clearly fraudulent. There are several counts on which the fraud perpetrator is misinformed. 1) A trash bag filled with flammable gas will not explode. it will simply melt, leaving the gas to ignite. Since the flammable gas is now in a free state, there is insufficient pressure to generate a shockwave of the magnitude needed to rupture ear drums or to leave the bruises indicated in the account. 2) If the account was real, the rupturing of an ear drum does not heal. It requires extensive surgery to repair; a surgery that is rarely successful. I would like to meet a man whose recuperative powers are this great, as I wish to learn his secret.

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