- Year of Death: 1984
- Experiment: Stunt Barrel
- Cause of Death: Blunt Force Trauma From Stunt Fall
The term “go big or go home” can certainly be applied to Karel Soucek. Born in Czechoslovakia, he became a stuntman who worked a lot in America. He made several things he would do stunts with, but he had his most genius stunt yet. Going over Niagra Falls in a barrel. Soucek custom-built a shock-absorbent barrel that could theoretically handle the fall. At 9 feet long and 5 feet in diameter, it should handle the impact. In 1984, he went over the waterfall. He emerged somehow alive but bleeding. While he tested this barrel, he did not test another until showtime.
To even finance the Niagra Falls project, he convinced a company to sponsor him for another crazy stunt. He’d be dropped from a barrel 180 feet from the top of the Houston Astrodome into a tank of water in 1985. Even his friend, legendary stuntman Evel Knieval tried to talk Karel out of the insane stunt. But Soucek decided to do it anyway with the performance acting as his barrel experiment too. However, once the barrel released it began to spin badly and hit the rim of the water tank. Karel’s chest and abdomen were crushed and his skull was fractured. He died at the hospital that day.