Dead Explorers Society

All explorers are mortal and being such we all must ultimately face death at some point. Some explorers however hold the distinction of being among those who die actually doing what they love. This page is dedicated honor to those lucky (or unlucky depending on your view) individuals who have died or are presumed dead in the line of exploration from classical age of exploration all the way to the present. I'm briefly profiling them here in no particular order and will be adding to this list as time allows.


Membership in the Dead Explorers Society is not in any way a statement of my admiration or approval of the members as good people. In fact, while all were somewhat fascinating characters, some of them were also idiots, murderers and one was even a Nazi. There is but one requisite for membership in this society and that is that you died while exploring or other such pioneering effort.

Hendrik Coetzee 1975-2010

Hendrik Coetzee "The Great White Explorer" born in South Africa was considered by many to be Africa's premier kayaking guide for adventure tourists and an accomplished trekker who among other things is famous for heading the first known source to sea journey of the Nile River. Hendri was presumed dead in 2011 when he was snatched from his Kayak by a Crocodile and eaten. He was 35 years old.

The attack took place on a notoriously dangerous stretch of the Congo while he and two other experienced kayakers were on their way to explore the Ruzizi, Lualaba and Lukuga river tributaries in the darkest part of the dark continent. Coetzee was grabbed by the croc in full view of his companions and never seen again. In Africa, on average 10 people are nom nommed by these giant lizards every day and they don't give a crap who you are.

Coetzee  left a great deal of passionate writing on the topic of exploration and adventure and perhaps I don't do him enough justice here. You can read his blog by visiting

Lt. Colonel Percival "Percy" Fawcett 1867-1925?

Percy Fawcett was a British artillery officer, archaeologist, and explorer. He was a member of the Royal Geographic Society where he learned map-making and surveying. He took many expedition to South America where he mapped the heavily jungled border region between Argentina and Brazil as well as conducting a search for the source of the Heath River on the border of Bolivia and Peru.
He made seven seperate expeditions between 1906 and 1924. During these expeditions Fawcett documented a number of unknown or Cryptological species such as a 62 ft giant anaconda and giant spider. In the Swamps where the Beni and Madre de Dios Rivers converge in Bolivia, he reported seeing a creature he believed was a diplodocus dinosaur. Fawcett's son also collected accounts from local tribes which lend additional credibility to this sighing.

Fawcett took his final expedition to the Mato Grosso region of Brazil. His intense study of historical records and local legends had convinced him of the existence of a lost civilization he called Z and his objective was to find it's capital city. The three man party which  included his son  disappeared after crossing the Upper Xingu tributary of the Amazon River, presumably killed by unfriendly Indians.It's believed that nearly 100 people have died attempting to either rescue Fawcett or uncover his fate.

To date the best source for information on Fawcett's disappearance and the existence of a real lost city of Z is a 2009 article in The New Yorker written by David Grann whose investigation traced the steps of the ill fated expedition. He's also written a book on his investigation but I've yet to read it.

Joseph Greiner           ??? - 1935

Joseph Greiner was a German naturalist working on a project to establish a new 'fatherland' for the German people. Yes, he was a Nazi. Details forthcoming...

Juan de la Cosa  c. 1450 - 1510

Juan de la Cosa was a Spanish cartographer and navigator  who accompanied Christopher Columbus on his first expedition to the "New World" as the captain of the Santa Maria before he wrecked it. He is also credited with the design of the first European world map. Juan took part in a number of expeditions to South America with fellow explorers Alonso de Ojeda and Amerigo Vespucci.

In 1506 he was appointed the leader of his own expedition to establish settlements in the Peal Island and the Gulf of  Uraba on the coast of what is now Columbia.

Against his own judgement, De la Cosa's took one final expediton with Ojeda to the area near present day Cartegena. Immediately upon arriving to the Bay of Calamar the group of adventurous Spaniards got into a fight with a group of Indians and defeated them. Naturally, they were stoked afterwards and feeling pretty BA  they proceeded to the village of Turbaco from where the attack was launched. Upon arriving the party was attacked. During the battle, Juan was hit with poisoned arrows which killed him. Ojeda managed to escape back to the bay and inform another expedition of Juan's death. After hearing the story, Ojeda lead them to the village where they killed all of it's inhabitants to avenge Juan's death.

Ironically Sr. Alonso Ojeda is forever ineligible for membership in the Dead Explorers Society because he died "sick and poor" within the walls of the Monasterio de San Francisco in Cuba.

Cameron Parrish with #amazingbeard

Cameron Parrish     1978- ?   (Future Member)

Hopefully I will die at the hands of a ferocious crypto-beast such as an angry Sasquatch or Yeti deep in the forest of some remote area. At least I'll meet my death with the comfort of knowing I was right! They DO exist.

Some Members not yet profiled:

Alfred Lothar Wegener (Greenland, 1930)

Ferdinand Magellan (Mactan, Philippines, 1521)

Juan Ponce de Leon (Florida, 1521)

Thorvald Eriksson (North America, ca. 1004)

Hernando de Soto (North America, 1542)

Robert F. Scott (Antarctica, 1912)

Giovanni da Verrazzamo (Lesser Antilles, 1528)

Meriwether Lewis (N. America, 1809)

Zheng He (Persian Gulf, 1433)

Guido Boggiani (Brazil, 1902)

Michael Clark Rockefeller (New Guinea 1961)

Nicolás “Shaco” Flores (Peru 2011)