What should have been a day of celebration at Camford University's Graduation Ceremony turned into a scene of devastation today, as young graduates were tragically felled by plummeting mortarboards.
'At first we thought they'd had a suicide-bomber in their midst.' said a shocked Emergency services spokesman, 'The scene was indescribable... but I'll try anyway. Young people spread-eagled all over the college steps, rectangular shrapnel sticking out of their heads, blood and supposedly highly intelligent brains everywhere. Oh, the humanity.'
Moments from carnage...
Even though the age-old custom of 'Mortar-boarding' has been banned on campuses for over 10 years, and recent Government clamp-downs on the practice by imposing harsher penalties have been enforced, the ritual has continued unabated in some traditionalist varsity circles.
'A catastrophe.' lamented Vice-Chancellor Lord Squires, 'The cream of Britain's intelligensia - England's and several African and Middle-Eastern country's future leaders - all wiped out in a stroke. We've been trying to encourage graduates to emulate the University of Damascus and their less dangerous celebratory tradition of randomly firing AK-47s into the air.'
'I've predicted something like this would happen for years.' commented Camford's MacDonut College porter of fifty years, Sidney Fletcher. 'Too many pointy bits y'see. I'm on record as saying that they'd have somebody's eye out if they weren't careful. Priviliged little twats. Pardon my French, Sir.'
The scene of carnage and horror was briefly lifted when surviving Graduates, in a brave homage to their fallen comrades, completed the traditional ceremony by streaking naked to Camford's Magdalen Bridge and jumping off onto spiked punt poles.
The final word went to University Padré, Canon Auberon Warbucks, 'Our thoughts go out to the families of the deceased. If there are any words of succour I can proffer, it is that their dear ones are now in a place where they can toss away all day to their hearts' content. Another comforting thought is that the Camford victims are now 6/4 on at Paddy Power to win this year's Darwin Awards, so get on quick.'