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10 People Who Died From Taking Selfies In Recent Times

by Julia Crawford
fact checked by Jamie Frater

Selfies, defined as a self-portrait photograph typically taken with a smartphone in one’s hand or with the help of a selfie stick, are one of the most popular trends to make an appearance on social media in recent years. These kind of pictures are usually taken to boast about an event or an achievement or as a gesture of self-love. Buzz Aldrin even took a selfie in space back in 1966.

Since selfies are such a popular trend, and people feel a tremendous sense of validation from others because of these kinds of pictures, it’s perhaps not surprising to see how far some will go for the perfect shot. Selfie-related deaths are a shocking statistic making an appearance around the world, with a study published in the Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care stating that about 259 people have died from attempting to photograph themselves between October 2011 and November 2017.[1]

Here are ten of the more unique ways people have died by taking selfies in recent times:

10 Fell Off A Cliff

In November 2018, a 35-year-old German tourist was visiting a 1,200-meter-high (4,000 ft) cliff called World’s End in Sri Lanka. Thinking that the breathtaking sight would make the perfect photo, she took out her phone to take a snap of herself and her friend. Unfortunately, she stumbled and fell off the sheer cliff, much to the horror of everyone else present. The Sri Lankan army and volunteers spent six hours in search of the woman’s body, an effort which involved air support and a fair bit of climbing.

World’s End is a popular location situated in Horton Plains National Park, and it’s considered to be one of the biggest tourist attractions on the entire island. Even though this woman tragically lost her life, this isn’t the first time someone fell off the cliff trying to take a selfie. In 2015, a Dutch man on honeymoon with his wife attempted to take a selfie when he plummeted off the precipice. Miraculously, he survived the ordeal because a tree broke his fall about 15 meters (50 ft) down the cliff.[2]

9 Fell 27 Stories

Woman falls to her death while sitting on 27th floor balcony railing for a selfie

In yet another case of falling to one’s death, a woman slipped off her balcony while trying to take a selfie in October 2018. She was Sandra Manuela Da Costa Macedo, a 44-year-year old mother of two children. She was a teacher from Portugal who had recently moved to Panama City. The incident took place at her apartment in the Luxor Tower. Nearby construction workers were able to film her as they tried to warn her of the potential danger she was putting herself in. Then, tragedy struck. According to witnesses, she was still holding onto the selfie stick as she fell 27 stories to her death.

A witness who also lives in the Luxor Tower also saw the incident unfold and recounted that Macedo decided to sit on the railing for her last selfie when she she went over the edge. The video that was recorded by the construction workers made the rounds on social media, with users commenting on how sorry they were for her passing as well as how this incident was one of the stupidest ways to die.[3]

8 Drowned In A Lake

In October 2018 in India, three students climbed onto a moss-covered rock at the edge of a lake to take a selfie together, and one of them slipped off. The other two jumped in to rescue their friend, but all of them got stuck in silt and drowned. This incident took place when the three boys were on a school trip along with 51 other students and seven teachers. They were part of the National Service Scheme team visiting the area. The victims were identified as Poornachandra (18), Mohammed Murtuza (17) and Shashank (17), all of whom were PUC students at the Siddaganga Boys PU College in Tumakuru.

The three boys went to the other side of the lake to take the selfie when the incident took place. Even though another student jumped in to save them, they had already drowned by the time they could be reached. The locals alerted the police and the fire and rescue services, after which the boys’ bodies could only be fished out of the lake and sent off to the Nelmangala Government Hospital for postmortem examinations.[4]

7 Killed By A Plane

Also in October 2018, in Chinapas, Mexico, two teenage girls were killed while trying to take selfies on a runway when a plane was in the process of landing. The girls were 17 and 18 years old and had arrived earlier to attend the races that took place near the airport. The two were standing on the tarmac when they didn’t notice an oncoming plane attempting to land. The plane’s wing struck both of the girls’ heads, killing them instantly.

The pilot of the plane in question noticed the girls standing on the tarmac, but before he could do anything to prevent the tragedy, it was already too late. The authorities launched an investigation into the incident.[5]

6 Fell Off The Roof Of A Mall

In September 2018, a teenager in Italy climbed onto the roof of a mall to take a selfie when he tragically fell to his death. His name was Andrea Barone, and the incident took place on a Saturday night at the Sarca shopping center in Milan when he crashed into an air duct and fell from the third floor. According to the local newspaper, the Corriere Della Sera, the 15-year-old and a group of his friends secretly ascended the building by climbing over gates and fences to get to the top. After taking the life-threatening selfie, the boy tried to descend back down the building when he fell into the ventilation duct.

Emergency services desperately tried to save the boy’s life but were unable to do so due to his severe injuries. Barone was a student at the Eugenio Montale technical institute and captain of the football team. He was known for his dangerous selfies, which he posted on Instagram, a number of which were taken on the roofs of buildings. Ironically, one of the slogans that he posted on the social media platform was: “Death does not scare us, we look at it in the face.”

Barone’s family questioned why there wasn’t adequate security on-site to prevent the accident from taking place. The mayor of Cusano Milanino, Lorenzo Gaiani, extended his sincerest condolences to Barone’s family and said that his administration as well as the whole community was shocked at the absurdity of this death.[6]

5 Mauled By A Bear

Bear claims life of a man in Odisha

A truck driver was viciously mauled to death after he tried to take a selfie with a bear in May 2018. His name was Prabhu Bhatara, and the incident took place in the Eastern Indian state of Odisha after he stopped to relieve himself. While doing so, the man spotted an injured bear lying on the ground nearby and thought that it would be the perfect opportunity to take a selfie. As he approached the bear, the injured creature’s fighting instinct kicked in. Bhatara died on the spot, according to a forest ranger named Dhanurjaya Mohapatra.

Bystanders filmed the incident taking place. The video shows the bear attacking Bhatara as well as recording the horrific screams of the witnesses at the scene. A stray dog could also be seen on the video attempting to go after the bear, yet the man couldn’t be saved. Bhatara’s death is the third selfie-related fatality to take place in Odisha since December 2017, when two men (in two separate incidents) were crushed to death by elephants while trying to take selfies with them.[7]

4 Infant Dropped On Escalator

Again in India in May 2018, a ten-month-old baby fell to her death on an escalator in a shopping mall after slipping from her mother’s grasp. The mother was busy taking selfies. The baby’s parents decided to go to the shopping mall in the Ganganagar district in the northwestern state of Rajasthan after taking their child for a checkup at a local clinic. CCTV footage caught the whole incident on camera. The footage shows the couple taking selfies with their baby at a nearby corridor before heading to the escalator to take more selfies. Once on the escalator, the mother lost her balance while taking selfies and dropped her baby.

According to witnesses, the husband asked his wife for a selfie while on the escalator shortly before the incident. The baby’s head first hit the railing before she fell through a gap. The footage shows the shock and horror of the parents as they lean over the ledge to look for their daughter.[8]

3 Child Dropped In River

A father accidentally dropped his four-year-old son off a bridge and into the Cauvery River while trying to take a selfie with the flooded waterway in the background. The incident took place in August 2018 on a bridge situated in the Namakkal district of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The boy’s name was Dhanyanth, and he was with his father, Babu, at the time while the mother, Sofia, was waiting for them back at home. They wanted to see the flooded river, and the boy’s father drove them to the Cauvery Bridge that connects Vangal to Mohanur.

As the boy sat on Pillar 24 of the bridge, his father kept him in place with his left hand as he used his other hand to take a picture. Babu lost his grip, and Dhanyanth slipped into the river. The police were notified of the incident and rushed to the spot to launch a search operation to find the boy. Unfortunately, all rescue efforts were in vain due to the heavy current of the river. The boy was never found despite the fact that fire and rescue officials conducted a search operation spanning 15 kilometers (9 mi).[9]

2 Selfie With A Gun

Photo credit: KTVT

In Conroe, Texas, two men are facing charges after a 16-year-old girl was shot and killed after she and one of the suspects played with a gun while taking selfies in July 2018. The incident took place during a drug-fueled party at an apartment, and the teen was declared dead on the scene. According to the Montgomery County jail records, one of the suspects is a 19-year-old named Matthew Tyshaun Davis (left above), from Austin. He was held on charges of murder and the manufacturing and delivery of a controlled substance. The other suspect is 19-year-old Joseph Hayden Wilson (right above), from Willis, and he was jailed on charges of tampering with or fabricating evidence and possession of a controlled substance.

The party quickly disbanded after the shooting took place, with Davis running away from the scene. Witnesses helped to track him down. A neighbor living nearby said that she and her family actually went to stay somewhere else after the incident because it made her sick to her stomach.[10]

1 Train Selfie

In Thailand, a woman was killed when she and her friend tried to take a selfie on a train track. The friend confessed that the two of them were drinking when they decided “to take a photo with the train.” They failed to notice the train approaching on the other track. The 24-year-old woman was struck and had her leg severed by the impact. She passed away later in the hospital. Her male friend also sustained serious injuries but survived the ordeal.

This incident took place on a Thursday morning in February 2018 at Samsen station in Bangkok, where authorities were still busy investigating the matter. Taking selfies on train tracks or with trains is a dangerous trend, especially in India. In January 2018, a man was hit by a train as he was making a video of himself waiting for an approaching train in Hyderabad. In October 2017, three teenagers lost their lives after being run over by a locomotive while trying to take a selfie in the Karnataka state. Around the same time, two teenagers were also killed by a train when they were trying to take selfies on the railway tracks in India’s capital territory, Delhi.[11]

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Read more about the seemingly frequent intersection of selfies and death on 10 Selfies That Went Awry and 10 Haunting Murder Cases With Unsettling Selfies.

fact checked by Jamie Frater