The introduction and refinement of both rear and front cameras on smartphones has turned millions of smartphone owners into amateurish photographers. More so, it has led to an added dimension of photography - selfies - thereby producing an influx of amateurish-to-expert selfie-ers, that is, selfie photographers.
Nonetheless, the selfie craze has catapulted into the world's limelight a new form of death - selfie-kills. Even though this form of death is not yet classified as an official death, the world is witnessing an increase in selfie deaths.
India leads the perk with the highest number of selfie deaths followed by Russia, and United States at the third place. Drowning, falling from heights and transport-related deaths are the most common forms of selfie-related deaths.
Careful investigation of selfie-related deaths reveal two things that might have led to an otherwise what-could-have-been prevented deaths.
- The selfie-ers obsession with their selfies making them oblivious to their surrounding.
- The need to get a stunning photo or video not minding the situation or location where they're taking their photos.
- The disastrous-desire to capture photos or videos in threatening or dangerous locations.
The following are 15 selfie-related deaths that occurred from 2015 to 2020.
1. Fall from 27th Floor
October 2018, Panama, Portuguese
A 44-year old mother of two and also a teacher plunged from a balcony on the 27th floor of an apartment leading to a sudden death.
Sandra Manuela Da Costa Macedo spent several minutes taking selfies before sitting on the balcony's railing for a final selfie. The last selfie proved fatal as she lost her balance and fell to her death.
She had been warned by construction workers from an opposite block to be careful. However, she didn't pay attention to their concerns.
The horrible death was filmed by nearby construction workers which show the woman falling from the 27th floor while holding a selfie stick.
2. Drowned on a Lake
March 2015, Kahi Taluka, India
Seven youths drowned in Lake Mangul, Kahi Taluka when the boat they were in capsized.
The group of youths consisting of ten young boys in their late adolescence and early twenties had gone for a picnic near the lake. Seven of them got on a boat to shoot a selfie as a group on the lake.
The boat overturned when they crowded on one side to take some selfies. The three young men who had remained on the land shouted for help when they saw the boat capsizing.
A crowd gathered to save the drowning youths. Unfortunately, poor lighting made it difficult for the swimmers to rescue the drowning youths who were struggling to stay afloat.
The drowned bodies were recovered the next morning.
3. Business 85 Road Crash
April 2014, Guilford County, N.C., U.S.
A 32-year old woman slammed onto an oncoming recycling truck on a North Carolina highway, a minute after updating her Facebook's status.
Courtney Ann Sanford, driving Toyota Corolla crossed the road's median and hit the oncoming truck which deviated from the road; hitting a tree. Her car caught fire after veering off the road; landing into a ditch near some trees.
The car was been driven at 45mph (72km/hr) when it slammed into the truck.
Investigators discovered Sanford died seconds after posting on her Facebook's status wall: 'The happy song makes me HAPPY! ' in reference to the song, 'Happy' by Pharrell William.
They also discovered that she had taken a selfie and posted it on Facebook along with the text, 'The happy song makes me HAPPY' while driving.
She died instantly at the accident scene.
4. Romanian Teen Bursts into a Flame
May 2015, Lasi, Rome
An 18-year old girl caught fire while her 17-year old friend was thrown off the roof of a stationary train as they lay on top of the cabin taking some selfies.
Ann Ursu together with her friend had gone to a train station in the town of Lasi to capture some selfies which she intended to post on Facebook.
They got on the roof of a train and laid on it. While laying on the roof, Ursu lifted one of her legs which brought her in contact with an electrical field that surrounded the overhead cables. She burst into flame when 27,000 volts of charge was discharged to her body.
The powerful charge threw her friend off the roof of the carriage.
A passerby who witnessed the horrific incident rushed to the top of the carriage to put off the fire from her burning clothes. After diminishing the fire, he called an emergency service number.
Both girls were airlifted to a hospital but Ursu died shortly because half of her body was covered with burns.
5. Mauled to Death by a Bear
May 2018, Odisha, India
A man was killed by a bear when he tried to take a selfie alongside it.
Prabhu Bhatara had stopped the truck he was driving to relieve himself in a forest in the eastern state of Odisha.
The man saw an injured bear and thought why not take a selfie alongside the beast. He neared the creature for a selfie. Instead of getting a good selfie shot, the animal attacked him.
He had been warned not to approach the creature but he ignored the locals' concern.
A film which was taken of the incident shows the man struggling to free himself from the animal's grip. A man and a stray dog could be seen trying to scare off the wild animal.
He died on the spot.
6. Death by a Live Grenade
January 2015, Russ
Some deaths can be avoided if people restrain from snapping selfies of their daring acts in unpleasant situations.
This is what happened to two Russian soldiers who posed for a selfie while holding a live grenade. As dangerous as it is to be close to a live grenade, for these two they did not mind the danger they were putting themselves in.
Unfortunately, as they didn't expect it, the grenade exploded. Both soldiers were killed by its impact. Their selfie survived to narrate the tragic deaths.
7. Death by Gun Shot
March 2016, Washington, U.S.
The problem with posing for a selfie with a gun pointed at your face is that you can accidentally shoot yourself when you press the trigger.
A 43-year old man whose name was withheld shot himself on the face not realizing one bullet had remained in the gun.
He was cautious by unloading the bullets before taking the selfies and loading the bullets after the photo session. The last selfie was fatal as he didn't notice a single bullet had remained in the gun.
He was with his girlfriend who witnessed the horrific death.
8. Crushed by Train
May 2019, Hayana, India
Three teenagers were hit by a train and died immediately after attending a wedding at Panipat City located in the northern state of Hayana.
Including a fourth teenager, the four teenagers approached a railway track to take some selfies.
They heard the sound of a train approaching, forcing them to jump on a second track. They were unaware another train was approaching the second track they had jumped onto.
The fourth teenager was lucky to escape the impending death when he jumped on an opposite track that was safe of any oncoming train.
9. Fall from a Dam
October 2019, Tamil Mardi, India
A newly-wed bride, V. Nivedha, 20, drowned together with three family members at a dam when they were taking selfies. The first to slip was the youngest member, Santosha, 14. This caused others, Kanniga, 20, Sneha, 22 and V. Nivedha to fall into the water.
The husband, G. Perumalsamy, 25, narrowly escaped and managed to save his younger sister, Yuvurani Perumalsamy, 15.
The drowned bodies were recovered on the same day.
10. Airstrip Incident
March 2017, Chihuahua, Mexico
Two female teenagers, Nitzia Mendoza Corral, 18, and Clarissa Morquecho Miranda, 17, died immediately when they were hit by one of the wings of a light aircraft that was landing on an airstrip in Chihuahua.
On the afternoon of the fateful day, the girls had left a racehorse event that had come to an end to take selfies near an airstrip in Chihuahua.
Standing in the back of a van, the girls were videoing themselves unaware a plane was landing as they were in a noisy environment.
The girls had been warned by some people to get off the van as it was dangerous but they didn't take serious note of it.
11. Shot by Police
June 2015, Punjab Province, Pakistan
Farhan (15) was taking selfies while pointing a toy gun at Fahad (14) when they were shot by a station house.
The boys were rushed to a district hospital in the province but Farhan died that night due to excessive bleeding.
During an investigation inquiry, the senior police officer who shot the two boys told the team they'd mistaken the boys for armed robbers propelling him to shoot them without warning. It was later he discovered the gun was a toy.
The senior police officer and his four colleagues were arrested and a murder case opened.
12. Drowned in a Well
November, 2019, Pattabiram, Chennai, India
A young woman died after falling into a well as she tried taking a selfie near it.
T. Mercy Steffy, 24, together with her fiancé were visiting a farm near Kandigai village when she desired to take a selfie at a well located in the farm.
She climbed up the stairs that were built on one side of the well and sat on the edge of the stairs. While taking selfies, she lost balance and fell into the well.
Her fiancé also fell as he tried to save her from falling into the well.
He shouted for help, and soon, a farmer came into his aid. Unfortunately, the farmer couldn't rescue Mercy as she wasn't visible on the surface of the water.
The fire and rescue personnel retrieved Mercy's body after being alerted.
13. Fall Into a Gorge
A young woman, 27, fell into a gorge as the boulders she's was sitting on gave way to her weight due to the loose mud beneath them.
Her husband was unsuccessful in holding her hand to keep her from falling.
With the assistance of other people, he brought her wife back to the road. She was rushed to a hospital at Chakan as she'd sustained severe head injury. Afterwards, she was moved to a private hospital where hours later she was declared dead.
They had gone to Bhimashankar to offer prayers in the temple located in the pilgrimage town. On their way back, they stopped at Mandoshi ghat section near Bhimarshankar. Some picnickers were taking pictures of the scenery which enticed them to take some of their own. They sat on boulders which acted as a barrier to the 100-feet gorge below before the incident occurred.
14. Electrocution on a Train,
March 18, 2014, Andújar, Spain
A 21-year old man died from electric shock when he touched a high voltage wire.
The young man together with his friends climbed on the top of a parked train at Andùjar railway station to capture a selfie. On the roof, the young man touched the electric wire thinking, alongside with his friends, it wasn't electrified.
In essence, it's in use. As a result, an electric charge of 3,500 volts passed through his body. He died at the scene while one of his friends who had survived the electric shock was rushed to a local hospital, Alto Guadalquivir, in a critical condition.
15. Fall from a Railway Bridge
April 22, 2014, Krasnogvardeyaky, Russia
Xenia Ignatyeva, 17, fell from a railway bridge in Krasnogvardeyaky and died shortly afterwards before the police arrived.
Xenia had climbed the 30 feet high bridge to take a selfie. Unfortunately, she lost her balance and fell from one of the sides of the bridge.
Frantically, she grabbed the high voltage wires to save herself from plunging to the concrete below. She was electrocuted before she fell on the ground when 1,500 volts of electric charge was discharged to her body.
Her friend, Pal Oksana Zhankova, 17, who was waiting below was found by police crouched beside the dead body of her friend; paralysed by shock.
16. Hit by a Train
April 2015, Lacarak, Serbia
Serbian Igor Kemeter, 22, wanted to recreate a stunt performed by a boy in a Serbian film titled, 'Baking at the Stars.' The boy in the film claims he can run very fast, and proves to his pals by running in front of an oncoming train.
Serbian who had been waiting for a train ran along the rail line while taking a selfie with his phone when he noticed one approaching.
He was hit by the express train which was moving at a high speed.
© 2020 Alianess Benny Njuguna