There’s a concept you’ll hear about in the tropics. It’s that more people are killed each year by falling coconuts than are killed by sharks. The concept is probably unverifiable since reporting and record keeping is not always practiced in places with lots of coconut palms. I’ve also heard that it’s just an urban myth that has made its way to the beach.
The number of deaths attributed to falling coconuts that I’ve heard most often is 150. If it is a common cause of death, I think that number is low. The latitude range where coconuts grow is large and more people live in warmer climates. So if people are being hit by coconuts, it seems to me that there’d be more than 150.
A few days ago I was on the street in front of our house giving the car its semi-annual washing. While in the middle of the washing, I was startled by a loud but dull thud. I looked around and on the sidewalk across the street a large coconut was slowly rocking back and forth as its milk oozed onto the pavement. No harm no foul.
I didn’t see it fall but I didn’t need to in order say that it probably could kill you; certainly a kid or dog would’ve been killed by a direct hit. The coconut fell from the palm in the photo above. Later in the day when I tracked down our camera and went across the street to shoot the fallen coconut; it was gone. But you can imagine from the palm photo what a potentially deadly projectile a coconut from a tall palm could be.
Mexico has been getting some bad press over the last couple of years. We don’t have any problems here with any of the stuff you hear about in the news. But I’m keeping my eye out for coconut palms.