Lawnmowers, Killer Bees and Fire: Five Tales of Mowing Madness

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Who knew a machine with razor-sharp blades spinning at 200RPM you're supposed to sit on top of might cause injury or death? Here are gruesome tales of mowing mishaps—from this past month alone!

Lawnmowers, with their spinning, ground level blades, are most dangerous to small animals, young children, and feet. Recently, one Mowing Menace trapped a 4-year-old girl's foot under its blades of doom, causing enough damage to require amputation. In fact, she was one of 77,000 people who go to the hospital every year, victims of mowing-related violence.

Clearly, in the epic battle of Man vs. Machine, mowers don't intend to play fair.


A mower in Oregon flipped its rider down an embankment and into a ditch before rolling itself onto some blackberry bushes above the trapped man. The lawn mower's heat actually set the blackberry bushes on fire, and when they gave way, the mower itself tumbled 15-20 feet to rest on top of its owner, trapping him in the ditch. Though the victim wasn't severely burned, the crushing weight of his mower caused enough unspecified injuries to necessitate a helicopter airlift to a nearby hospital.

Another one, at a park in Indiana, was being peacefully driven around the perimeter of a lake when it snagged a wire, flipped and slowly dragged its helpless rider into the water like a conniving, hungry alligator. Though the tractor technically did not devour the 59-year-old John McComas, it did pin him in the shallows of the lake, rendering him unable to move. Thankfully, he managed to keep his head above water and shouted for help, and was rescued soon enough to escape with only mild injuries.

A lawnmower in Florida apparently took offense to its owner doing a little repair work on it, and so shot a spark onto the owner's nearby boat. The spark ignited gas fumes and the boat promptly burst into flames, sending up huge plumes of smoke and the risk of serious fire in the "tinderbox conditions" of that stretch of the Atlantic coastline. The town's fire commissioner, Fred Link, explained with laughable naivete, "It was accidentally started." Sure, Fred, that's what they want you to think.

Lawnmowers don't just act alone, though. They are capable of teaming up with other terrors to dish out even more devastation. In Texas, the mere sound of a lawn mower was enough to enrage a nearby swarm of killer Africanized bees. That's right, Africanized bees, the ones the hysterical news media alerted your attention to back in 1999. The killer bees, responding to the mower's calls, attacked nearby residents, stinging two bystanders and two firemen. None were seriously injured, and another fireman said he "barely managed to avoid being stung," a quote he probably wishes had not appeared in his local paper. The bees were exterminated, but the mower lived to fight another day.


But just like in Battlestar Galactica, some of these appliances have decided to side with humans—defending them instead of terrorizing them. In Croatia, an innocent man was mowing his lawn when suddenly, his mower detonated a live hand grenade, sacrificing its own self in the process. The man escaped uninjured, but still confused as to what a live grenade was doing in his garden.