It must have seemed like a good idea at the time.
Jay Swingler, 22, cemented his head inside a microwave Wednesday in Wolverhampton, England, as a prank for his YouTube channel, where he and co-host Romell Henry post videos of various bizarre pranks. Previous escapades, such as sitting in jello overnight, bathing in fake tanning solution and carousing with handheld fireworks, had gathered up to 2 million views.
This time, however, the plastic tube through which Swingler planned to breathe as seven bags of quick-drying cement set around his head inside the unplugged microwave – used as a makeshift mold – became clogged.
“I’m gonna die,” Swingler shouts to his friends on his YouTube video of the incident. They managed to feed another air tube to Swingler as they struggled to free him for 90 minutes before calling for emergency help, reported the West Midlands Fire Service.
“Taking the microwave apart was tricky, because a lot of it was welded,” said Watch Commander Shaun Dakin. “We video-called our technical rescue colleagues for advice and eventually managed to get him unstuck.”
Swingler’s video of the incident, posted Thursday to his YouTube channel under the title “I cemented my head in a microwave and emergency services came.. (nearly died),” had nearly 3 million views by Sunday.
“The following footage is not a joke, and I really wish this was clickbait,” a shaken Swingler says as he introduces the video in a segment filmed after the incident. However, in earlier footage before the prank, he says with a smile, “This is the day where I probably kill myself. Do not try this at home.”
After his friends try to free Swingler, one calls emergency services for help on the video.
“He has a microwave stuck to his head,” says the caller. “I know this sounds like a joke, but he was trying to film a YouTube video.”
Firefighters, who eventually dismantled the microwave and broke Swingler free of the cement with a screwdriver, were not amused.
“As funny as this sounds, this young man could quite easily have suffocated or have been seriously injured,” Dakin said on the West Midlands Fire Service site. The agency also posted on Twitter about the incident, pointing out it tied up five firefighters for more than an hour.
In a follow-up video posted Friday, Swingler says he doesn’t care about defending himself from critics. “I had a damn microwave stuck to my head,” Swingler says. “Do you know how many people are going to remember that?”
He also responds to criticism that he wasted the time of firefighters, saying “I was in f---ing need. I would have died without them.”
But Swingler also says that he expects to be fined for the incident. “Literally, 100 percent, I should be fined,” he says on the video. “I’m more than happy to pay it.”
The service charge for such an incident would normally be 650 pounds, Station Commander Simon Woodward told The Independent. However, Swingler will not be fined or billed. “We are not going to charge because his life was in danger,” Woodward said.