Succeeding in life is not always an easy task. While some have experience and luck on their side, others struggle to get their names in the hall of fame. Today, we see people doing silly things in an attempt to be in the Guinness Book of World Records, while others perform incredible feats that are truly mesmerizing. Sadly, not all of them succeed while performing these dangerous acts. The Guinness Book of World Records does not encourage people to do anything that may put a life in danger but people continue to do it for the fame and the thrill of the game. Even the smallest variable, such as a shift in wind, can derail a plan and turn it deadly. Here we have collected stories of 10 such unfortunate people whose desire for fame cost them their lives.
1. Javad Palizbanian
Javad Palizbanian was a daredevil stuntman who was known worldwide for his extreme stunts. The 44-year-old Iranian wanted to beat a previous record held by Evel Knievel for jumping over 14 buses in 1975, for a distance of 133 feet (40 m), on a motorcycle. Evel Knievel set the record for longest distance jumped and also for most buses jumped over. In 1999, Bubba Blackwell broke the record jumping over 15 buses. This pushed Javad to make a choice that would eventually take his life.
Javad Palizbanian was trying to break the record by jumping over 22 buses parked next to each other and had to pass a distance of about 209 feet (63 m). While being broadcast on live television from the Azadi Sports stadium in Tehran on August 28, 2005, Palizbanian said, “I am going to do something for my country to be proud of.” Sadly, he miscalculated the jump, causing him to slam into the 13th bus, killing him instantly.
2. Sailendra Nath Roy
Sailendra Nath Roy was an Indian stuntman who held two bizarre Guinness World Records, both involving his ponytail. The first record was for pulling a locomotive with his ponytail for 8.2 ft (2.5 m) and the second for riding a zip line 270.6 ft (82.5 m) using his hair. Roy, however, wasn’t satisfied with his previous records. He wanted to take his stunt to the extreme, to ensure that no one else would dare to even attempt it.
On April 28, 2013, Roy tried to break his own zip line record on a 595.5 ft (180 m) line. Halfway across the Teesta River in Darjeeling, everything was going smoothly for Roy until around 300 ft (91 m) into the stunt, when his ponytail became entangled in the cables. Roy tried to free himself for 30 agonizing minutes but failed to do so. The spectators saw Roy struggle and then go numb. 45 minutes later, his crew took him down only to find out that Roy had suffered a massive heart attack. He was taken to the hospital immediately but was pronounced dead on arrival.
3. Jessica Dubroff
Seven-year-old Jessica Dubroff died in 1996, while attempting to become the youngest person to fly across the United States. The 7-year-old pilot trainee, who at the behest of her father, called her coast-to-coast flight “Sea to Shining Sea”. Although little, her ambitions were big and she was an instant media sensation. Dubroff was too young to officially hold a pilot’s license, so her father and a rated pilot had to be at the controls at all time while Dubroff flew the plane.
The trio decided to take off on April 10, 1996. Dubroff, her flight instructor Joe Reid and her father Lloyd Dubroff took off in Reid’s Cessna 177B from Half Moon Bay, California. After 24 hours, they made a pit stop in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Their ultimate goal was to reach Cape Cod, Massachusetts. As the trio were about to continue their flight, the weather turned bad; but they decided to continue on anyway. Just as they were taking off, the plane flipped and veered to the right, landing on a residential street and killing all three passengers.
An investigation into the crash showed that Reid was in control of the plane when it crashed. Congress quickly passed legislation outlawing unlicensed pilots from operating the controls of an aircraft, but Dubroff’s mother apparently did not learn any lessons. At her funeral, she arranged to have Jessica’s 9-year-old brother Joshua fly over the funeral service. Thankfully, the plans were cancelled due to poor weather that day.
4. Haris Suleman
Babar and Haris Suleman, a father and son team of pilots, had prepared for months to break the world record for flying around the world in a single-engine airplane. The father-son team had laid out a precise plan for their journey. They would land for fuel 25 times in 15 different countries over the course of their 26,500 mile journey, completing the circuit in record time. They were also raising money to send children on the streets of Pakistan to school.
The duo took off from Pago Pago International Airport in American Samoa but soon after taking off and for reasons unclear, the 17-year-old crashed the plane into the Pacific Ocean. Suleman’s body was recovered while his father’s was never found.
5. Diana Paris
Diana Paris was a 46-year-old German skydiver who had recorded more than 1,500 jumps throughout her life. She was among a group of 222 skydivers who gathered together in Eloy, Arizona to set a world record. The team planned on jumping together and doing a coordinated formation to set a new world record.
Sadly, one of them wouldn’t make it. That person was Diana. In mid-air, surrounded by 221 of her fellow team members, her parachute malfunctioned. Diana desperately tried to open her parachute but it was too late. By the time she opened it, she had surpassed the minimum altitude required to slow her fall. The 221 other divers decided to honor Diana by doing the same stunt, without her, holding a slot of air in the formation open for where her body would have been.
6. Bill Warner
44-year old Bill Warner was a tropical fish farmer from Wimauma, Florida. He held the world land speed record on a conventional motorcycle at 1.5 miles, which was 311 MPH (500.49 KPH). His record was set on July 17, 2011 at Loring Timing Association’s Land Speed Races, which is held annually in Limestone, Maine.
Warner wanted to beat his previous record and set a new one for a conventional motorcycle at a 1 mile distance. Miraculously, Warner achieved his gold and set a new world record on July 13, 2013, hitting a speed of 296 MPH (476 KPH) at a 1 mile distance. Although he already held two records at two distances, Warner wasn’t satisfied. He wanted to make sure that his record wouldn’t be broken in the near future, so he decided to break his own record the very next morning.
This time, Warner was aiming for 300 MPH (482KPH), but soon after hitting 285 MPH (459 KPH), he lost control of his bike, veered to the right and slid for 100 feet. He was conscious and talking when he was taken to the hospital, where he died an hour later.
7. Juan Francisco Guillermo
Juan Francisco Guillermo had a simple plan to get into the Guinness World Records. Bike for five years, during which time he would cycle 155,350 miles around the world across five continents. He started his journey in November of 2010 and towards the end of his journey, at the fifth year, tragedy struck.
As Juan was biking through the highway in Nakhon Ratchasima province, a truck hit him. The truck ran over Juan, killing him instantly. His wife and their two year old son, who were accompanying him at this point of the journey, were injured but miraculously survived. An investigation revealed that Juan was driving carefully along a straight path when the truck driver carelessly crashed into him.
8. Nicholas Mevoli
Nicholas Mevoli, 32, wanted to set a new world record for the deepest dive without fins. The previous record was 71 meters, set by American men in 2013 and Nicholas aimed for 72 meters. Other divers saw that Nicholas was pushing himself to the extreme as he descended towards his fatal goal.
Around 68 meters, a few meters away from his ultimate goal, Nicholas started losing momentum due to pressure on his lungs. He turned around, resurfaced for a quick breath and pushed himself to try again. He then surpassed the depth of 72 meters and resurfaced. Bystanders were relieved to see him back on the surface and Nicholas even signaled his team, letting them know that he wasn’t in need of medical attention.
As the crew pulled him out of the water, they could see a dazed look to his eyes, a disconnection between his brain and his body. Shortly after that, he fell unconscious and blood began pouring from his mouth. The medical team desperately tried CPR on him for 90 minutes but Nicholas had died achieving his goal.
9. United Way
In 1986, organizers with the United Way of Cleveland thought they had the perfect idea to generate a little publicity and give the public a spectacular view. A crowd of volunteers worked day and night to fill 1.5 million helium balloons in order to release them all at once. They hoped that the wind would blow the balloons away towards other cities but the plan backfired. As the balloons were released, the wind shifted, causing them to fly into a nearby airport and cancel all incoming and outgoing flights.
The balloons caused absolute havoc, descending into the city, airport and harbor. The wind also blew thousands of balloons into the sea, causing lifeguards to not see two people who were drowning. After the incident, it took countless hours of effort to clean the city.
10. Lowell Bayles
One of the earliest deaths in the race to be fastest person on Earth was Lowell Bayles. Lowell was a celebrated American air race and stunt pilot. Bayles was originally a mine engineer before he started taking flight lessons from a former World War I pilot instructor. After perfecting his skills, Bayles became a stunt pilot with a team who performed across the country.
In the 1931 National Air Races, he tried and succeeded in breaking the world speed record by going 300 MPH (482 KPH). While flying 246 feet (75 m) above the ground, Bayles achieved just that. However, in a freak accident, the plane’s fuel cap came loose, flew through the windshield and struck Bayles in the head, knocking him unconscious. The plane, which was now flying by itself at 246 feet (75 m), crashed into a ball of flame, throwing Bayles 300 feet from the air. He was pronounced dead at the scene.