Honorable Mention: Lawnchair HarrySubmitted by Cyril on Fri, 10/04/2013 - 22:17
1982 At-Risk Survivor
Confirmed True by Darwin
Larry Walters of Los Angeles is one of the few to contend for the Darwin Awards and live to tell the tale. "I have fulfilled my 20-year dream," said Walters, a former truck driver for a company that makes TV commercials. "I'm staying on the ground. I've proved the thing works."
Larry's boyhood dream was to fly. But fates conspired to keep him from his dream. He joined the Air Force, but his poor eyesight disqualified him from the job of pilot. After he was discharged from the military, he sat in his backyard watching jets fly overhead.
He hatched his weather balloon scheme while sitting outside in his "extremely comfortable" Sears lawnchair. He purchased 45 weather balloons from an Army-Navy surplus store, tied them to his tethered lawnchair (dubbed the Inspiration I) and filled the four-foot diameter balloons with helium. Then, armed with some sandwiches, Miller Lite, and a pellet gun, he strapped himself into his lawnchair. He figured he would shoot to pop a few of the many balloons when it was time to descend [...]
When his friends cut the cord anchoring the lawnchair to his Jeep, he did not float lazily up to 30 feet. Instead he streaked into the LA sky as if shot from a cannon, pulled by the lift of 45 helium balloons, holding 33 cubic feet of helium each.
He didn't level off at 100 feet, nor did he level off at 1000 feet. After climbing and climbing, he leveled off at 16,000 feet [...]
Read on :
The Darwin Awards archive was born on a Stanford University web server in 1994. It spun off a regular email newsletter. News of the website spread, an nominations culled by avid followers flew in from far and wide. As the number of stories in the archive grew, so did its acclaim. It became the locus for new Darwin Awards.
Eventually the website became more popular than Stanford's research-oriented webpages. The sysadmin suggested that it might be happier on someone else's server, and www.DarwinAwards.com was born.