Charles Darwin at a green chalkboard.

2002 Darwin Awards

Honoring Charles Darwin, the father of evolution, Darwin Awards commemorate those who improve our gene pool--by removing themselves from it in the most spectacular way possible.

2002 Darwin Award Winner
Confirmed True by Darwin

(30 June 2002, Hawaii) 18-year-old Daniel was vacationing with his family when he met up with three young women on a Hawaiian beach. Perhaps the company of the women addled his brain. Half an hour after meeting them, he was frolicking in a dangerous natural waterspout called the Halona Blowhole: a rock funnel formation that shoots seawater twenty feet into the air.

A locked gate keeps people away from the stairs to the blowhole, and a warning sign proclaims, "Hazardous Conditions. Do Not Go Beyond This Point." A local comedian has placed a skull labeled "Boneyard Reef" on the warning sign. However, the area can be reached by climbing the rocks from beaches on either side, and perhaps the warning signs are not so apparent.

Witnesses said that Daniel walked right by them on his way to the blowhole, and they warned him to stay away. He kept going, climbing over the rocky shelves to reach the hole shortly before 3pm. He was overheard to say he wanted to feel the water hit his chest.

Thirty seconds later his wish was granted. Dozens of people watched in amazement from a highway overlook while he straddled the blowhole, arms outstretched, laughing while spray washed over him. Then a large wave hit the rocks, and a blast of water launched him five feet into the air and dropped him headfirst into the blowhole

According to firefighter Todd Hugo, who attempted to locate the body while tied to a safety rope, the blowhole narrows then opens up eight feet down. "You could tell when a wave was coming in. There was a kind of humming sound."

Divers recovered Daniel's body the next day. It was the fourth time a victim has been swept into the blowhole since 1927. Two men died in 1969 and 1986, and one man survived in 1967. "I can't understand the mindset," said Fire Chief James Arciero.

Daniel's female companions were seen being comforted by a young man wearing a T-shirt that read, "Every day, death is near."

Late-breaking news: The family filed a lawsuit against the city, and the state of Hawaii, claiming they were negligent in not posting warning signs. According to Kaialii, a local fan, "The evidence presented by both Hawaii newspapers points to the fact that the authorities can't put up enough signs to protect those who choose to have a lapse in judgment from themselves."

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Reference: Honolulu Advertiser

Pictures of the Halona Blowhole

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