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  #1  
Old 20 February 2007, 04:57 AM
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Icon402 Death by icicle

Comment: A few years ago my mother-in-law told me that she heard that a
child was killed by an icicle that fell and penetrated his skull. (I
cannot help but think it would have to fall very far, and everything would
have to be perfect for it to penetrate). Can you tell me if this is an
urban legend? I just have the gut feeling that it is.
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  #2  
Old 20 February 2007, 06:47 AM
Troberg Troberg is offline
 
 
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With the limited information, it's difficult to say anything about the specific case, but falling icicles are a very real danger, especially in the spring when they tend to turn into behemoths that are 1-2 m long and probably weighs 50 kg or more.

Getting hit by an avalanche of snow coming from the roof is no fun either, trust me. The people who were watching thought it was, but standing with your jacket full of snow in a thigh high pile of snow is not fun. Luckily, there was no ice that time, just lots of wet snow that almost knocked me senseless.
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  #3  
Old 20 February 2007, 09:53 AM
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[QUOTE=Troberg;68698]With the limited information, it's difficult to say anything about the specific case, but falling icicles are a very real danger, especially in the spring when they tend to turn into behemoths that are 1-2 m long and probably weighs 50 kg or more.
QUOTE]

yeah, I've been hit by one of those...fortunately missed my head but fractured my clavicle and definately knocked me for a loop. It wasn't that big, maybe 20 pounds of ice falling from a 3rd story roof. I have no doubt that a big one could kill someone.

9 year old killed by falling ice
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  #4  
Old 20 February 2007, 05:25 PM
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Inevitable reference.

I think we discussed this once, long ago. When I was four, we took a train journey to visit some relatives. We went to the glass-topped viewing car (I forget what those are called) and the front seats on each side were barracaded off. My mother told me that an icicle had crashed through the front windows when one of those cars passed through a tunnel, so nobody was supposed to sit in the front seats. I don't know if it was true, and I don't know if anyone was killed.
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Old 20 February 2007, 05:27 PM
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Tootsie, I can't link to your inevitable reference from here. Was it The Lovely Bones?
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  #6  
Old 20 February 2007, 05:52 PM
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I know I saw a episode of Mythbusters where they did a falling icicle test and it penetrated pretty deep into the meat they used at the bottom, and I don't think they were dropping it from that high either. I think they concluded that someone could be killed by an icicle if they are in the right place at the wrong time.
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  #7  
Old 20 February 2007, 05:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lainie View Post
Tootsie, I can't link to your inevitable reference from here. Was it The Lovely Bones?
No. It... it was... A Christmas Story.
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Old 20 February 2007, 06:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tootsie Plunkette View Post
No. It... it was... A Christmas Story.
Oh. That's entirely different, then.

There was a (IMO darkly amusing and satisfying) death-by-icicle motif in The Lovely Bones.
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  #9  
Old 20 February 2007, 07:20 PM
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I just saw something on the local news last night about a police car that was damaged by falling ice and snow. They showed a picture of the car and it appeared that the ice had hit the rear part of the hood and crushed it so that the reear window was completely gone and the hole left was almost bowtie shaped (best way I can put it). The reporter then went on to talk about how people are being urged to pay attention where they park their cars and walk outside. No luck finding the picture but if I do I'll post it.

Drama ~Icebergs keep falling on my head...~ Queen
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  #10  
Old 22 February 2007, 03:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lainie View Post
Oh. That's entirely different, then.

There was a (IMO darkly amusing and satisfying) death-by-icicle motif in The Lovely Bones.
I was thinking the same thing when I saw the title of this thread...
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  #11  
Old 22 February 2007, 04:45 PM
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it happens regularly in Moscow and elsewhere.
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  #12  
Old 22 February 2007, 04:57 PM
Doug4.7
 
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I didn't know this was such a big problem. Can't "they" do something to make this less likely? Heaters on the roof edges so the things don't grow so big?
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  #13  
Old 22 February 2007, 05:26 PM
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Then there was the episode of CSI:Somewhere-or-other where a guy was killed by falling "blue ice" from an airplane. I seem to recall a story of a similar demise, attributed perhaps to Spider Robinson, which ended with the admonition to watch out for falling icy BMs... (A quick Google reveals a fair probability that he mentioned it in Callahan's Crosstime Saloon.)
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  #14  
Old 22 February 2007, 06:24 PM
Nick Theodorakis Nick Theodorakis is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug4.7 View Post
I didn't know this was such a big problem. Can't "they" do something to make this less likely? Heaters on the roof edges so the things don't grow so big?
There is this, or this, and others, meant to prevent ice dams, but I guess they would work for icicles as well.

Nick
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  #15  
Old 23 February 2007, 06:34 AM
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Quote:
I didn't know this was such a big problem. Can't "they" do something to make this less likely? Heaters on the roof edges so the things don't grow so big?
Usually, the best prevention is to not walk under them. If they get too big, they are usually removed or the area below cordoned off.
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  #16  
Old 23 February 2007, 10:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug4.7 View Post
I didn't know this was such a big problem. Can't "they" do something to make this less likely? Heaters on the roof edges so the things don't grow so big?
It's heat leaking out from the buildings that's the cause of the icicles in the first place and if you read the story charlie23's link it was not an icicle that killed the girl, but a sheet of ice that had slid off the roof.
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  #17  
Old 23 February 2007, 04:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Floater View Post
It's heat leaking out from the buildings that's the cause of the icicles in the first place and if you read the story charlie23's link it was not an icicle that killed the girl, but a sheet of ice that had slid off the roof.
Heat leaking from the building is usually the cause, but not always. We get wind shifts sometimes in midwinter that bring warm air up from Hawaii (had one a couple of weeks ago). That causes the several feet of snow on all of our roofs to start to melt during the day and refreeze at night, until the wind shifts again and we go back to -10 or -20 F (like today). Of course, if your building is poorly insulated, it makes the effects of these cycles even worse. The building where my dad works (a huge Kwonset hut) had to install an archway over the entrance he uses after someone had a near miss with a raft of icicles, some over six feet long. (leaving the building - you'd slam it behind you, dislodging the icicles, and the one or two steps to the end of the overhang was just long enough to let them fall).
Fer sure, there's nothing UL about falling ice as a safety issue.
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  #18  
Old 25 February 2007, 01:33 AM
catty5nutz catty5nutz is offline
 
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I have just seen an episode of CSI:NY where a woman was murdered by being stabbed with a bottle made from ice full of vodka - is it even possible to turn ice into a bottle and put alchohol in it?
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  #19  
Old 25 February 2007, 08:04 AM
Troberg Troberg is offline
 
 
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Quote:
I have just seen an episode of CSI:NY where a woman was murdered by being stabbed with a bottle made from ice full of vodka - is it even possible to turn ice into a bottle and put alchohol in it?
I don't see why it shouldn't be possible to make a bottle out of ice, especially if you put really cold vodka in it to keep it frozen. I doubt it would make a working stabbing implement though, as ice don't shatter like glass do. It would probably be more effective to make it a bit thicker and use it as a club.
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  #20  
Old 25 February 2007, 11:12 AM
Muncle
 
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Fright

Quote:
Originally Posted by Troberg View Post
I don't see why it shouldn't be possible to make a bottle out of ice, especially if you put really cold vodka in it to keep it frozen. I doubt it would make a working stabbing implement though, as ice don't shatter like glass do. It would probably be more effective to make it a bit thicker and use it as a club.
IIRC, the bottle was very pointy at the end.

I was walking home the other day, and across the street were two parents chatting about this and that, while the young kid was kicking the snow around. Right above him, at the corner of the house, was this massive icicle that was two-thirds the size of the kid. I wanted to go over there and knock it down before somebody got impaled on it.
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