In today’s world, almost everyone is taking selfies on a regular basis. It doesn’t seem to matter if you look exactly the same as you did yesterday. People feel obligated to document every single thing they do and post it online. In fact, if you don’t take selfies… do you even exist?
But… seriously, though. The age of the smartphone has brought on a whole new generation of people who no longer live in the moment. When you’re glued to your phone, you lose your awareness of your surroundings. Blend it together with a good dose of vanity, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. Selfies are now more deadly than shark attacks, with dozens of cases happening each and every year.
10. Smarter Than The Average Bear
In May 2018, a man named Prabhu Bhatara was returning home from a wedding in Kotapad, India with a group of friends. He asked if they could pull the car over so that he could relieve himself on the side of the road. This is when he spotted what appeared to be a wounded bear lying on the ground. Instead of calling wildlife services, he decided that he wanted to crouch down and get a selfie next to the bear. But he underestimated the extent of the animal’s injuries, because it immediately began to maul him.
Instead of trying to save their friend, the rest of the group pulled out their cellphones to record a video of the attack. (We’re, uh… not gonna say they were great friends.) Out of nowhere, the man’s only hope appeared: a stray dog came barking and trying to help fend off the bear, proving that dogs truly are better than most humans. Forest officials were located 10 kilometers away, so it took awhile for them to show up to shoot the bear with tranquilizers. By then, though, it was already too late.
9. The Facebook Status
They say you should never text and drive. The same can be said about trying to selfie and drive. In 2014, a 32-year old woman named Courtney Sanford was cruising along the US Highway I-85 in North Carolina when she pulled out her phone so that she could post a video to Facebook of herself lip-syncing to the song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. She also managed to type the words, “The ‘Happy’ song makes me so happy!” just moments before she began to drift into oncoming traffic. Sanford crashed into an oncoming recycling truck, and her car burst into flames. The rest of the cars behind the truck managed to stop in time before there was a major pileup.
Thankfully, the truck driver was not harmed in the crash, and Sanford was the only casualty. The police examined her social media accounts and realized that she had a habit of frequently taking selfies while driving, so this was far from her first time. The officer on the case, Lt. Chris Weisner, summarized it perfectly by saying, “In a matter of seconds, a life was over just so she could notify some friends that she was happy. It’s really not worth it.”
8. Thug Life
Some people will go to great lengths to make themselves look tough in their Instagram selfies. In fact, there are several stories of Americans accidently shooting themselves while trying to get the perfect selfie in hopes of getting some street cred. Sadly, many of them are teenage boys, but sometimes, even experienced adults make the same mistake.
In 2016, a man in Washington state was having a photoshoot with his girlfriend, where they were both taking selfies together with their gun collection. Each time the man held up a new gun for the photo, he unloaded the bullets beforehand. He would point the gun at himself, and pretend to pull the trigger, because he thought it made him look tough. But there were so many firearms in his collection that he forgot to take at least one bullet out, and ended up fatally shooting himself in what turned out to be an unintentional game of Russian roulette.
In case you weren’t aware, there is a trend on the internet called a “shoe selfie”, which is when the photographer gets a shot of their feet dangling over the edge of somewhere high off the ground. Usually, these can be taken on a bridge, on the top of a building, off a cliff, or, in this case… a helicopter.
In March 2018, a group of 5 friends were on a sightseeing helicopter flying over New York City. The door was open, so one of the passengers decided to sit on the edge, dangling their feet while taking their selfie. Unfortunately, they weren’t paying attention to to their surrounding, and the passenger’s harness accidentally pulled a switch called “emergency fuel shut off lever,” which sounds a lot like that movie trope of the huge red button that says “do not push.”
The pilot shouted at the passengers to get back in their seats. He had just enough time to guide the helicopter so that it crashed into the East River, instead of a building. Unfortunately, though, the passengers were all strapped to harnesses. The pilot managed to escape, but every passenger died.
If you saw a herd of elephants running toward you at full-speed, what would be your first reaction? Oh, we dunno… maybe get out of the way? Run, perhaps? But for one drunk Indian man named Ashok Bharti, he saw a herd of elephants barrelling toward him at full-speed, and thought, “Wow. This would make an epic selfie.”
You can probably guess what happened next. Bharti was trampled by the herd of elephants. Witnesses nearby tried to take him to the hospital, but he had already died of his injuries. Believe it or not, there have been several elephant stampede related selfie deaths around the world, and their stories are almost always the same. So, the moral of the story here is to remember that wildlife is not going to stop to say “cheese” just because you pulled out a camera.
5. One, Two, Three, Jump!
In researching this list, we found hundreds of stories from all over the world of people falling to their deaths when trying to take a selfie, standing next to the edge of a cliff, but this one story is a bit different.
In 2017, a 23-year old South Korean woman was living in the UK because she decided to study English abroad. She was visiting the Seven Sisters cliff, which is located in East Sussex. The woman asked some of the other visitors nearby if they would take her cellphone so that she could do a “jumping selfie” near the edge of the cliff. In case you weren’t aware, this is when people jump high into the air, and someone takes their photo in midair so it almost looks like they’re flying. The strangers agreed to photograph her, but it would seem that she underestimated the space she needed to perform the jump. Instead of landing on solid ground, she accidently jumped off of the cliff.
Yet another person died in Machu Picchu trying to attempt a jumping selfie, as well. So, please, everyone: don’t take a selfie near a cliff. But if you insist, at least keep your feet firmly planted on the ground.
4. All Aboard
Plenty of people have taken selfies on trains, but one man in India wanted to be different. A group of young men aged 25 to 30 were all traveling on a train when one of them named Taraknath Makal decided to leave the train car, and hang by one arm out of the door in order to take a high-speed selfie on his cell. However, he slipped and fell onto the tracks below. Four of his friends jumped off of the train in an attempt to save him. The only trouble was that all four of the men had now thrown themselves off of a train, and were most likely injured on another train track together, just as a second train was coming toward them at high speeds.
All four of them were mowed down by the train, and Makal — the man who took the selfie in the first place — actually managed to roll off of the track on his own before being killed. So this young man now has to live with the guilt knowing that his selfie was responsible for the death of his friends.
3. Dios Mio…
In 2017 two young 17 and 18-year-old women in Chihuahua, Mexico, were visiting a horse race track. The track was directly next to an airfield where small planes were regularly landing and taking off. The girls thought it would look really cool to capture the image of a low-flying airplane in the background of their selfie.
So the girls jumped into a truck and left the race, driving over to the airfield. They got outside to stand on top of the flatbed of the pickup truck, so that the field was in clear view of their photograph. They began taking pictures together, getting ready for the next plane to land. But they clearly underestimated just how close they were to the landing strip, because as an airplane was trying to descend, the wing of the aircraft knock them both in the head, killing them instantly. The police investigated the scene, but after examining the cellphone’s photo gallery, it was clear what had happened.
2. “If I Fall, Don’t Bring Me Back.”
In recent years, Croatia has become a hot tourist destination, because foreigners are coming from far and wide to see the ancient city where they filmed King’s Landing in Game of Thrones. So, it really should not be surprising that tourists are trying to pull off dangerous selfie stunts while they are on holiday. In 2016, a 20-year old Canadian man was visiting the Plitvice Lakes National Park. He decided to try cliff-diving, because he wanted to take a selfie while doing it. Unfortunately for him, though, this cliff was over 75 feet high, and this was not normally an area where anyone went cliff-diving. He would have died, if it were not for several tree branches that caught him as he fell.
After this incident, the government of Croatia had to put out a public statement to new tourists coming into their country; “Stop taking stupid and dangerous selfies.”
In 2015, two young men were visiting the Ural Mountains of Russia, carrying a live grenade. Similar to many of the gun selfies out there, the men thought they would look totally badass if they posed next to a grenade with the pin pulled out. Most likely, they were hoping to quickly take the photo before throwing the grenade as far as they could down the mountain. Obviously, they didn’t seem to care if this started an avalanche or a fire, so long as they got the perfect shot. But they grossly underestimated how quickly a grenade would blow up, and it exploded soon after the snapped the photo.
The police recovered the photographs on the cellphone, so they were able to clearly see what had happened. After this incident, Russia has to put put a public service announcement about selfie safety.