Twenty-four year old Sri Lankan man, Janka Basnayake, perished on Saturday after trying to set a record for the longest time that anyone has been buried alive.
Basnayake’s final attempt may have been up to 6 1/2 hours; he was buried at 9:30 a.m. and exhumed at 4 p.m.. When he came to the surface he was unconscious and taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
Hospital representatives say that post-mortem examinations did not point to any specific cause of death and more complex medical investigations are being conducted.
This Sri Lankan Houdini was something of a war hero prior to turning to these antics; he had fought in the country’s 25 year civil war as a member of a police unit called the Civil Defense Force.
Now once fellow officers are saying that friends and family helped Basnayake bury himself in a, “… trench sealed with wood and soil in the town of Kantale, about 137 miles (220 kilometers) north of Sri Lanka’s capital, Colombo. A local newspaper reported that the trench was 10 feet (3 meters) deep.”
While years of fighting in a violent civil war may have driven Basnayake to tempt his fate, his mother claims that he has been performing bizarre acts since his childhood.
It is unclear whether there is an official world record for the longest time buried alive but this Sri Lankan man was not even close. Writer Ann Gripper has noted in the Mirror that other magic men and stunt devils have been far more successful: “Magician David Blaine spent a week buried alive in a plastic box in 1999. He had six inches of headroom and two inches either side. He drank two or three tablespoons of water each day, and was connected to the outside world by a hand buzzer, which would have alerted the support team if he became distressed. Earlier the same year Geoff Smith of Mansfield, Notts, emerged after spending 147 days buried in a coffin 6ft under the beer garden of his local pub.He was following in a family tradition – his mother Emma spent 100 days buried in 1968.But he did not get his name in the Guinness Book of Records, which had scrapped its endurance section on safety grounds.”
Twitter user, John Haynes, nominated this man’s demise for a Darwin Award; “The Darwin Awards salute the improvement of the human genome by honoring those who accidentally remove themselves from it..” Others tweet that the risks involved with this stunt were clear.
So wrong, yet so right!