The Darwin Awards

2010 At-Risk Survivor

Next Prev Random At-Risk Survivors have misadventures that stop short of the ultimate sacrifice. Nevertheless we salute the spirit of their colossal blunders with an Honorable Mention. Better luck next time!

Shockingly Conductive
2010 At-Risk Survivor
Unconfirmed by Darwin

When I was in aviation electronics school in the service, my instructor began his class on 'Insulators' with this observation: "Wood is a non-conductor, right? Well don't you believe it!"

He had purchased an acre of property that was covered in fast-growing poplar trees, each about five inches thick and twenty feet tall. Axe in hand, he set out to clear the yard. His wife expressed concern about the high voltage power lines that passed along the edge of the lot, but he assured her that there was nothing to worry about. Wood is non-conductive.

A few minutes later one of his "mighty blows" felled a tree, which toppled directly onto the power lines. He stood there transfixed as the blue electricity snaked down the tree trunk and up the axe handle, and blew him twenty feet across the yard. Fortunately his wife and daughter witnessed the event and rushed him to the hospital, where he was treated for third degree burns on palms and soles, where the electricity entered and exited his body. He stayed in the hospital for two weeks, until his arms quit shaking uncontrollably.

Wood is non-conductive, right? Don't you believe it!


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Reference: Personal Account by Carin Gleason

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