“In the spirit of Charles Darwin, the Darwin Awards commemorate individuals who protect our gene pool by ...eliminating themselves in an extraordinarily idiotic manner, thereby improving our species' chances of long-term survival.”
There are 5 requirements for Darwin Award eligibility:
Inability to reproduce: Nominee must be dead or rendered sterile.
Excellence: Astoundingly stupid judgment. The candidate's foolishness must be unique and sensational.
Self-selection: Be the cause of one's own demise.
Maturity (huh?!): Past the legal driving age (oh...) and free of mental defect.
Veracity: The story must be documented by reliable sources: e.g., reputable newspaper articles or other confirmed reports, responsible eyewitnesses, etc.
Three Brazilian men were flying in a light aircraft at low altitude when another plane approached. It appears that they decided to moon the occupants of the other plane, but lost control of their own aircraft and crashed. They were all found dead in the wreckage with their pants around their ankles.
A 22-year-old VA man was found dead after he tried to use octopus legs strapped together to bungee jump off a 70-foot rail road trestle. Police said he wrapped an end around one foot, anchored the other end to the trestle, jumped and hit the pavement. Said investigators at the scene, "The length of the cord that he assembled was greater than the distance between the trestle and the concrete."
A man in Alabama died from numerous rattlesnake bites. It seems that he and a friend were playing a game of catch, using the rattlesnake as a ball. The friend - no doubt a future Darwin Awards candidate - was hospitalized, but lived.
After smelling what turned out to be a gas leak in a west Texas warehouse, the building's employees were evacuated, all potential sources of ignition were extinguished (eg lights, power, etc.), and two technicians from the gas company were dispatched. Upon entering the building, they found they had difficulty navigating in the dark. Witnesses described seeing one of the technicians reaching into his pocket and retrieving an object that resembled a cigarette lighter, which he must have used in an attempt to light his way (you know what's coming next....right?). The gas in the warehouse exploded, sending pieces of it up to three miles away. Nothing was found of the technicians, but the lighter was virtually untouched by the explosion. The technician causing the blast had never been thought of as ''especially bright'' by his peers.
Arizona Highway Patrol Police finally pieced together the mystery of a pile of smoldering metal embedded in the side of a cliff rising above the road at the apex of a curve in the road. The wreckage resembled the site of an airplane crash, but it was a car.
An amateur rocket scientist had somehow gotten hold of a JATO unit (Jet Assisted Take Off...actually a solid-fuel rocket) that is used to give heavy military transport planes an extra 'push' for taking off from short airfields. He drove until he found a long, straight stretch of road, attached the JATO unit to the car, jumped in, got up some speed and fired off the JATO!
The driver, and soon-to-be pilot, would have experienced G-forces usually reserved for dog fighting F-14 jocks under full afterburners. The automobile remained on the straight highway for about 2.5 miles (15-20 seconds) before the driver applied and completely melted the brakes, blowing the tires and leaving thick rubber marks on the road surface, then becoming airborne for an additional 1.4 miles and impacting the cliff face at a height of 125 feet, leaving a blackened crater 3 feet deep in the rock. Most of the driver's remains were not recoverable.
Epilogue: It has been calculated that this poor soul attained a ground speed of approximately 420-mph, though much of his voyage was not actually on the ground.