Unusual Ways to Die: Falling Coconuts

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Tim is a licensed life insurance agent with 23 years of experience helping people protect their families and businesses with term life insurance. He writes and creates stuff for QuickQuote and other insurance and financial websites. You can find him on Twitter.

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UPDATED: Feb 25, 2020

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The coconut palm tree is a tranquil beauty. Swaying casually with the breeze, it projects a soothing and laid-back air about its surroundings. A beach vacation just wouldn’t feel right without relaxing beneath a palm tree with a pina colada. Who could have known this unsuspecting tropical tree is a secret assassin?

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Coconut Risks

Coconut palm trees usually grow to be between 25 and 90 feet tall and can produce up to 75 coconuts per year. A full-sized coconut can weigh in at over 3 pounds. If a 3-pound coconut fell from a height of 100 feet, it would hit the ground with a force of 4,181 Newtons, or about 940 pounds of force. The force of impact would be even greater for a larger coconut. That is enough to cause significantly more than a bruise!

Although statistics on coconut-related deaths are scarce, hospitals in tropical locations do report coconut-related admissions. According to an article by Peter Barss in the Journal of Trauma-Injury, Infection and Critical Care, a hospital in Papua New Guinea reported 2.5% of admissions were due to falling coconut-related injuries. Unverified reports state that the worldwide annual falling coconut-related death rate could be as high as 150 per year. That’s enough to re-think where you hang your hammock! While the possibility of dying from a falling coconut is very real, a bigger risk might come from accidents related to falling while climbing coconut palm trees.

Did you know:

  • A coconut palm tree can grow as high as 90 feet?
  • Coconuts are grown in 90 countries?
  • The scientific name for coconut is Cocos nucifera. The name ‘coconut’ was given by early Spanish explorers. ‘Coco’ means monkey and ‘Nucifera’ means nut-bearing?

To stay safe around coconut palm trees, observe any warning signs in the area. Also, it’s probably not a good idea to hang out underneath towering coconut trees that haven’t been groomed. If a coconut does fall on your head and you survive the impact, try drinking the fresh coconut juice to ease the bump on your noggin!

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