Family in China set themselves on fire over dispute

Beat Ettlin wrestled a kangaroo out of his house near Canberra after it crashed through a window.
Three family members who set themselves on fire in Beijing last month were apparently protesting the demolition of their home and were demanding "too much" compensation, an official said.

If you’re Beat Ettlin, you wrest the marsupial into a headlock, drag it down your hallway and toss it out your front door. Ettlin and his family were woken early Sunday when a 6-foot-tall kangaroo crashed through a window, landed on their bed and thrashed around their house in the suburb of Garran, south of the capital of Canberra, Australia. “At first, he (my husband) thought it was a lunatic ninja,” said Ettlin’s wife, Verity Beman. “It leaped through the window, this martial-arts kind of figure. It was very Jackie Chan.” The family’s one-story house is in a suburb that butts against a kangaroo reserve. About 2 a.m. Sunday, their dog began barking furiously. Possibly possums, they thought. The family had put up with possums scampering across their roof every night since they moved in three weeks ago. Moments later, the window was smashed and a black figure landed on their bed.

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Ettlin, after gathering his wits about him, exclaimed, “It’s OK. It’s only a kangaroo,” Beman recalled. “I was cowered under the quilt, thinking, ‘No, it’s not OK,'” she said. The kangaroo jumped on top of the blanket that Beman and her 9-year-old daughter were hiding under. It then leaped onto the nightstand, punched holes in the furniture and left blood stains on the wall as it bounced into their son’s room. “That’s when his male instinct kicked in,” Beman said of her husband. After putting the 90-pound creature in a choke hold, Ettlin kept it low to the ground and pulled it toward the front door. He knew that kangaroos carry their strength on their hind legs, Beman said. “He held it by one arm. He opened the front door with the other, then the screen door,” she said. “It bounced across our veranda and bounced away.” Ettlin is a chef, originally from the Swiss city of Stans. Beman thinks he would not have tackled the kangaroo so readily were he Australian. “They would be fully aware of the risk,” she said. The house in shambles — with blood and shattered glass everywhere — Ettlin stood surveying the damage in his shredded underpants. Scratch marks ran down his leg, but otherwise he was fine. “I kept marveling at what he did,” Beman said. “I called him my hero. My hero in Bonds undies.”