The Darwin Awards

2018 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!

Failure To Launch
2018 At-Risk Survivor
Unconfirmed by Darwin

(2 February 2018, Minnesota) Hear about the homemade rocket-bike-sled? Launched from a snowy rooftop in February, this quirky manned mission was a Minnesota FAIL. The facts of the incident are taken from two newspaper reports (1)(2).

The rocket-bike-sled (pictured) was reportedly assembled from two skis, a modified metal bicycle frame, and a motorcycle exhaust pipe. It appears that welding was involved. The finished contraption was fueled with inspiration, perspiration, and HEET--an alcohol-based gasoline drying agent.

HEET is in common use as a camp cooking fuel because it burns clean and is sold in handy small bottles. The labeled use of Heet is to dry gasoline to keep it from freezing at arctic temperatures. Red Heet bottles contain methanol. and Yellow Heet bottles contain isopropanol.

We are not sure whether the inventor pointed his hopeful monster UP the roof or DOWN the roof when the Heet was lit, but we do know that the beast and its rider reportedly skidded into a 13-foot fall and flattened a fence during the plunge.

Rescue personnel found a man on his back on a sled, painfully pushing himself around the driveway with his feet and cursing a blue streak. The Rocket Bike Sled failed to launch, but its inventor succeeded at earning an ignominious Honorable Mention. We're keeping tabs on this up-and-coming future Darwin Award contender.

FOLLOWUP: Is the viral news report in error? According to a quiet voice on Reddit, the injured man told police he fell off a ladder. When police asked about a weird metal contraption in the yard, he joked it was a rocket bike and police took the jest to heart. An 18-second video is persuasive evidence that the newspaper report is not factual. A COMPLETE MISUNDERSTANDING OF THE SITUATION BY AUTHORITIES? DISCUSS ON THE PHILOSOPHY FORUM.


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Submitted by: Scott Bryant

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