Like Jinhao, the 20-something tourists were deservedly lambasted on social media – which for them may have been a fate worse than death – but in their defense they are complete morons. The question is: Are they moronic enough to make it onto the Podium of Idiotic Tourists? Here are the current PITs medalists (as determined by a panel of pretend judges):
FOOL’S GOLD: Anatoliy Baranovich, Ukraine
There’s nothing particularly notable about airline passengers having in-flight meltdowns. But in October of 2012, Baranovich was reportedly involved in a tour de force of mid-air malfeasance. According to U.S. prosecutors, the Ukrainian immigrant’s epic misadventure unfolded like this:
- On his way back to Oregon after a trip to his homeland, Baranovich, 46, awoke from a nap, looked out a window as his Delta Airlines flight began its descent, and thought he saw fire.
- He began yelling that a wing was aflame — in his native tongue, thankfully, as “wing," "on" and "fire” are three words you don’t want to hear on an airplane.
- He ran to the rear of the aircraft and tried to open the emergency doors.
- He ignored flight attendants’ orders to calm down, and fought off at least five passengers before being subdued.
- During police questioning, he flipped out yet again when officers found 19 Ukrainian passports, mostly for young women, in his luggage, along with more than $6,500 in cash.
- Last but not least, Baranovich offered the money to police in return for his release.
STUPID SILVER: Rhys Owen Jones and Keri Mules, Great Britain
You know you had a night to remember -- if only you could -- when you wake up to find a penguin in your pad. According to various media and police accounts, this is exactly what happened to a pair of young Welshmen who broke into Australia's Queensland Sea World, swam with dolphins, discharged a fire extinguisher in the shark tank, and kidnapped a penguin named Dirk. To make matters worse, the panicked pair proceeded to release Dirk into a canal (from which he was rescued, unharmed). The visitors ended up with a fine, but it could have been much worse: They could have gone swimming with the sharks.
BRAIN-DEAD BRONZE: Kevin Hudgeons, United States
Excuses, excuses. When police asked Hudgeons why he disembarked from the Norwegian Star cruise ship carrying a door-sized, $13,000 copy of Rembrandt's The Night Watch (pictured above), his reportedly replied that he had a) won it in a raffle, b) bought it in an auction, and c) painted it himself. His plan, he continued, was to "mail it home" from Bermuda. Unfortunately for Hudgeons, video footage of him removing the painting from a wall and carrying it to his berth thwarted the cunning plan.