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Planking stunt leaves man dead in Australia

May 16, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Planking, a bizarre new Internet craze, has gone from fun to dangerous after one man died attempting to do the stunt.

Planking involves people laying face down in unusual places while someone else snaps a photo. It's a huge craze in Australia and Europe, and it's matched in popularity only by its risks.

There are dozens of examples of daring planks on YouTube, from planking on a moving car to planking on a motorized bike.

Facebook is buzzing with fan pages devoted to planking stunts, and the pages boast tens of thousands of members. There's Planking Australia and Planking UK, and each has unique planks like a cute baby plank or a plank on a cop car, which landed the planker in handcuffs.

But planking turned deadly for one 20-year-old Australian man, who fell to his death early Sunday morning as he was trying to plank on a thin balcony railing seven stories high.

This is the first known death as result of planking, but with its rising appeal, police are worried more serious injuries will follow. It's unknown if the phenomenon will catch on in the U.S.

Some media outlets here have already begun taking notice. After two Australian news programs did some planking, one Denver-area Fox station had a planking prank of their own.

But no matter how fun it may seem, planking has very real risks with very real consequences.

A Facebook page on planking says there are some rules: People must be face down with arms and legs held straight out. It also warns people that safety should be a priority.

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