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Decapitations, Accidental

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  •,_4th_Earl_of_Strafford "Byngo" Byng as caricatured in Vanity Fair, May 1892
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Accidental Decapitations

Please add the profiles of those who were accidentally decapitated, regardless of the means (see below) & include any details, if known, in the About section of the profile.

  • (Deliberate Beheadings are in the project Beheadings under Capital Punishment)

Decapitation is the complete separation of the head from the body. Such an injury is fatal to humans and usually fatal to most animals, since it deprives all other organs of the involuntary functions that are needed for the body to function, while the brain is deprived of oxygenated blood.

Accidental decapitations are rare occurrences’ and their mention is rare in the medical literature. Accidental decapitations can result from traffic accidents, or occupational accidents. Accidental decapitation can also be the result of an explosion, car or industrial accident, improperly administered execution by hanging or other violent injury. Unusual decapitations have been reported from elevators, wires across roads, obstetric procedures, among others. Decapitation may be associated with failure to use seat belts, fast driving speeds, and road barriers. Unrestrained children may also be at risk for decapitation from airbags. Decapitation by industrial trauma can occur at any age, and is often associated with heavy machinery in workshops or farm equipment being towed behind a tractor.

Notables decapitated: Wikipedia - List of people who were beheaded (Accidentally)

Modern Germany

Great Britain

  • Hon. Henry Byng, 4th Earl of Strafford (1899) – decapitated by a train (--actually per inquest: Death by Misadventure)
  • Donald Campbell (1921-1967) – decapitated in crash during world water speed record attempt (body not found until 2001)


  • Nicolae Labiş (1935-1956) – fell off of a tram while going to a friend's house and was decapitated when his head hit the pavement between the two trams (was practically decapitated)

South Africa

  • Peter Revson (1930-1974) – racing driver decapitated in testing crash (crashed heavily into the Armco Barrier on the outside of "Barbecue Bend.", and was killed.)

United States

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