In 1975 a 17 year old boy was killed while riding his moped. He was killed exactly a year after his 17 year old brother was killed while riding the same moped, in the same intersection, by the same taxi, with the same driver, carrying the same passenger.
Hoax or Fact:
Mixture of hoax and facts.
This is an interesting claim supposedly describing a very strange and hard to believe coincidence about a tragedy. According to the message, two brothers were killed in a road accident at the age of 17 years -- while riding the same moped, exactly after a year (in 1974 & 1975), in the same intersection, by the same taxi, with the same driver, carrying the same passenger. This 'unbelievable' story has been around online since many years and not many could understand if such an incident really happened. Today, we will analyze how far the claim is fact, and if it contains any hoax.
Source of Claim
In majority of instances the story has been shared online, the source is said to be "Phenomena: A Book of Wonders" published in 1977 by John Michell and Robert J. M. Rickard. Looking for a more credible reference, we found a related article in The Royal Gazette (royalgazette.com) published in May 2011. The article reported that in that month Reader’s Digest reprinted the story of 1975 road deaths, which included the bizarre tragedy titled ‘What Are The Odds?’ that was reported in July 21, 1975 issue of The Royal Gazette newspaper, in a front page, carrying the headline ‘Incredible coincidence in road crash deaths’. Mentioned below is an account from the article:
Erskine Ebbin and his brother Neville were killed almost exactly a year apart after being involved in collision with the same taxi, driven by the same driver and carrying the same passenger.
Both victims were 17, and both were riding the same auxiliary cycle on the same road.
Erskine was killed on the night of July 18, 1975, near the Packwood Home in Sandys; Neville died on July 30, 1974, on the nearby stretch of Middle Road known as Hog Bay Level.
Both were reported to have collided with a taxi driven by Willard Manders.
According to their father, John Henry Ebbin of Woodlawn Road, Sandys, even the passenger in the taxi was the same in both instances.
In Ripley's Believe It Or Not!
The story often termed as the coincidental twin tragedy was also mentioned in 2004 Bizarre Collection of Ripley's Believe It Or Not! book.
When two or more remarkable things happen at the same time, most of us chalk it up to coincidence. But some stories are so amazing it's hard to believe fate might not also be at work.
Same Time, Next Year:
Brothers Neville and Erskine L. Ebbin of Bermuda died one year apart after being struck by the same taxi that was being driven by the same driver and carrying the same passenger. Believe or Not!
From the aforementioned sources, it is clear that the coincidental twin tragedy in Bermuda did not happen exactly after a year, and not exactly at same intersection. There was also a confusion how the two brothers, if twins, can both be of 17 years when they died about one year apart. Brothers Neville and Erskine L. Ebbin weren't twins; it appears they are born about a year apart. A more plausible version of the story that also circulates online is given below:
In July 1975, Erskine Lawrence Ebbin was knocked off his moped and killed by a taxi in Hamilton, Bermuda. It was the same taxi with the same driver, carrying the same passenger, that had killed his brother Neville in July the previous year. Both brothers were 17 when they died, and had been riding the same moped in the same street.
Bermuda (officially, The Bermuda Islands or The Somers Isles) has limited land mass, and its capital Hamilton is spread over a small area of 70 hectare (about 173 acres), having a living population of just 1,800 in 2010. This means, in 1974, the number of people living in the area of accidents could be much less, and the number of cabs in the area and the people who used them would be even smaller. Moreover, it wouldn't be much of a coincidence that two brothers lived in the same area and that one has inherited the moped of his brother. So the probability that the two brothers would get hit by the same cab (carrying the same passenger) in the same street would not be that small. A tragic, but interesting coincidence nonetheless.