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A history of tug-of-war fatalities


Stashed in: Death, Freakonomics

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I'm surprised to hear there's been even one tug of war casualty. 

I was surprised to learn there have been fatalities!

Grizzly story:

On October 25, 1997, a massive tug of war match was organized in Taiwan in celebration of Retrocession Day (the day the Japanese ceased colonial rule in Taiwan following World War II). 

The 1,600 participants exerted over 180,000 pounds of force on a 2-inch thick nylon rope designed to withstand only 57,000 pounds. Amidst cheers, the rope violently snapped; the sheer rebounding force tore off the left arm of the first man on each side.

Forty other people suffered injuries, including ambassadors from Costa Rica, Guatemala and Nicaragua -- some quite serious, according to the medical report:

"The most devastating injury, described in this report, comprised liver and spleen rupture with C5-6 spinal cord injury as the initial presentations. A bilateral brachial plexus injury was also found in the subsequent investigation."

As a result, calls were put out for Taipei’s Mayor, Chen Shui-bian, to step down. Ultimately, several of the mayor’s staff members were impeached, and all medical expenses were paid for out of the officials’ pockets.

Game of Thrones needs tug-of-war.

Can you imagine if the Viper and the Mountain had a tug of war?

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