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'Dead' man shows up at 'funeral' in a helicopter to teach family the importance of staying in touch

He carried out the elaborate 'prank' and arrived in a helicopter to his staged funeral where his family members were genuinely mourning his 'death.'

'Dead' man shows up at 'funeral' in a helicopter to teach family the importance of staying in touch
Cover Image Source: TikTok | @el.tiktokeur2

It is no secret that even in this modern day and age of easy communication with advanced technology, the last thing we do is communicate with our loved ones. Days go by without us contacting our family and friends and over a period of time, we lose touch. But one man decided to give his family a wake-up call—albeit an extreme one—to make everyone realize just how important communication and relationships are.

According to Independent, a Belgian man faked his death and showed up at his own "funeral" in a helicopter, giving his grieving relatives the biggest shock of their lives. David Baerten claimed he staged the elaborate "prank" to teach his family members the value of staying in touch with one another.

Image Source: TikTok | @el.tiktokeur2
Image Source: TikTok | @el.tiktokeur2

Baerten shared with the French chat show Touche Pas a Mon Poste (TPMP) that he planned the stunt because he felt "unappreciated" by his relatives. A TikTok user named Thomas Faut (@el.tiktokeur2), who apparently attended the ceremony, posted a video of the 45-year-old man arriving at his own funeral in a helicopter. Mourners can be seen watching as the helicopter lands in a field and a door opens. It then cuts to a clip of people encircling Baerten, with more approaching him to hug and greet him while a film crew records the scene. Faut also shared a video of an emotional relative crying as he tightly hugged and embraced Baerten. The caption read, "You got us, I swear I was crying and then I had the shock, buddy we love you very much." 

Image Source: TikTok | @el.tiktokeur2
Image Source: TikTok | @el.tiktokeur2

A staged funeral was held near Liege after one of Baerten's daughters allegedly wrote a "tribute" to her father, which read, "Rest in peace, Daddy. I will never stop thinking about you. Why is life so unfair? Why you? You were going to be a grandfather and you still had your whole life ahead of you. I love you! We love you! We will never forget you." However, Baerten's prank did not go down well with viewers and many people accused him of being cruel.




He then posted a video explaining and justifying exactly why he pulled the stunt. According to The Times, Baerten expressed "hurt" because his family members didn't invite him to anything. "Nobody sees me. We all grew apart. I felt unappreciated. That’s why I wanted to give them a life lesson and show them that you shouldn’t wait until someone is dead to meet up with them," he said. He was fortunate that his stunt worked. He also stated that, despite the fact that "only half" of his family attended his fake funeral, other relatives have contacted him since. "That proves who really cares about me," he said. "Those who didn’t come did contact me to meet up. So in a way, I did win."

Image Source: TikTok | @ragnar_le_fou
Image Source: TikTok | @ragnar_le_fou

But he also did realize how much he had hurt the ones who cared about him with his immature prank. During his appearance on TPMP, Baerten expressed regret for carrying out the stunt. He revealed that his wife was aware of his plan from the start and attempted to derail it. According to Indy100, the prankster let his children believe he had died for "a couple of days" before telling them the truth about his actions. He told the chat show that it was his film crew who insisted on only documenting the stunt if he told his children and sister he wasn't really dead.

He has, however, insisted that they "half-knew" it was a prank from the start. Baerten, after seeing his loved ones, said, "As soon as I started receiving messages from people and videos of them crying, I wished I could cancel the whole thing, but it was too late. I asked myself, 'What have you done this?'" It is a human need to have a sense of belongingness and togetherness. Many people feel lonely and if you are one of them, we suggest you pick up that phone and call (not text) your loved one to check on them. If possible, go and meet with them without waiting for a special occasion.

Editor's note: This article was originally published on June 15, 2023. It has since been updated.

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