25 Ways to Die in Arizona

25 Ways to Die in Arizona
Kevin Cannon

Arizona's not for the weak of heart. It’s filled to the brim with dangerous creatures, killer heat, bad drivers, horrible diseases, freak accidents, raging wildfires, and raging psychopaths. Some of 'em are unique to our state. All of 'em could kill you. It’s definitely happened to plenty of others.

We’re not trying to scare you. We just want you to be fully aware of the many perils that exist here.

Here are 25 ways to die in Arizona:.

25. Get crushed by a saguaro

When you mess with Mother Nature, she might just strike back. Case in point: the 1982 death of David Grundman, a local hoodlum who was crushed by the enormous arm of a 27-foot saguaro near Lake Pleasant after he unloaded two shotgun blasts into the cactus. Fittingly, he posthumously scored a Darwin Award for the stunt.

25 Ways to Die in Arizona
Kevin Cannon

24. Suffocate in a hot car

Being trapped in a hot car during Arizona’s summertime scorch isn’t ideal for any living creature, let alone a helpless child. And thanks to numbskull parents who shouldn’t have been breeding in the first place, kids perish every year after getting left alone to suffer one of the most horrible deaths imaginable.

25 Ways to Die in Arizona
Kevin Cannon

23. Ski into a tree

In March 1997, Denise Sanders, the wife of former Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Anthony Sanders, died after hitting a tree during a downhill run at Sunrise Ski Park in Greer. There hasn’t been another collision fatality at an Arizona ski facility since, as most deaths have been more ordinary, like the 22-year-old snowboarder who fell from a chairlift in 2011 or the 46-year-old California man who passed away from a pre-existing medical condition in January, both at Arizona Snowbowl in Flagstaff.

25 Ways to Die in Arizona
Kevin Cannon

22. Get caught in a blinding dust storm

Whenever haboobs sweep through Arizona, the gargantuan dust storms tend to bring chaos along with all the dirt. And the dirt can be murder — especially on motorists. Visibility is reduced to zero, which has led to numerous fatal accidents along Interstate 10 between Tucson and Phoenix, including a 19-car pileup in 2013 that killed three.

25 Ways to Die in Arizona
Kevin Cannon

21. Skydive with a faulty parachute

Jumping out of a plane always is a risky pursuit, since things can go very wrong, very fast. In the past six months alone, four skydivers have suffered tragic fates in Arizona, including three this year, after snafus with their parachutes. Even with those grim stats, however, it’s still safer than driving.

25 Ways to Die in Arizona
Kevin Cannon

20. Get shot in hunting crossfire

Friendly fire is one of the biggest causes of hunting accidents in the state, according to the Arizona Game and Fish Department, as sportsmen occasionally misjudge people for quarry. In 1998, Flagstaff’s Todd Halfast was out hunting with three relatives when they flushed a herd of elk into a clearing, got separated, and began shooting. The crossfire killed the 38-year-old. Guess he should’ve worn better camo.

25 Ways to Die in Arizona
Kevin Cannon

19. Suffer a heatstroke while hiking

A mix of too much heat and not enough water has proved a deadly combination for many hikers unprepared to endure Arizona’s trails in summer. Visitors and locals have been stricken, as illustrated by a two-day stretch last July when heat-related tragedies killed three people — a British tourist and a Valley grandfather and his 12-year-old grandson — at different mountain parks.

25 Ways to Die in Arizona
Kevin Cannon

18. Fall into the Grand Canyon

Arizona’s biggest natural wonder is a magnificent sight to behold, but getting perilously close to the edge for a better view never is wise. An average of two to three Grand Canyon visitors fall to their deaths every year, typically after getting distracted, attempting jackass stunts, angling for the perfect photo-op, or simply slipping, as a Las Vegas man did in 2015.

25 Ways to Die in Arizona
Kevin Cannon

17. From a gila monster bite

Don't let its normally docile nature and lumbering gait fool you. When provoked or mishandled, the venomous gila monster can unleash a powerful bite that causes excruciating pain and intense dizziness. Though fatalities are rare, a bite famously caused the death of a Casa Grande pool hall operator back in 1930.

25 Ways to Die in Arizona
Kevin Cannon

16. Be mauled by a bear

In rural communities that encroach upon the wilderness, interactions between man and beast are common. In June 2011, such an encounter in Pinetop resulted a 61-year-old grandmother getting brutally attacked by a 250-pound black bear while out walking her dog at a country club. After enduring 11 surgeries, she succumbed to her injuries four weeks later.



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