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Don't risk it: Here are the world's deadliest ‘selfie spots’

Friday, June 21st 2019, 2:00 pm - Risking it all for the gram' can have fatal consequences.

About 12 deaths happen each year at the Grand Canyon, according to park spokeswoman Kirby-Lynn Shedlowski.

Some of the most recent deaths involved people trying to get a selfie or a photograph in front of the Canyon's towering edges.

In the latest case, a 70-year-old woman fell to her death on April 23. She had been walking along Mather Point when she veered several hundred metres off a trail, according to the Associated Press.

In 2013 the world ‘selfie’ was Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year. And for good reason - selfies are everywhere. We take them, we post them, and we like them.

But at what cost?

A recent report found that 259 people died between 2011 and 2017 in attempts to capture the perfect selfie.

It’s a phenomenon that has reached such deadly consequences, it’s been dubbed the ‘selfie epidemic.’

Bike rider takes selfie in the middle of the road Image: Pexels

According to the study, which looks at over 150 accidents from around the world, the countries that have the most selfie-related deaths include India, Russia, the United States, and Pakistan.

Here’s a look at some of the most popular tourist destinations around the world, where people lost their lives in the search for the perfect photo.


Screen Shot 2019-04-25 at 11.19.42 AM Image: Spiraltri3e, Flickr

The state of Goa is one of India’s most popular tourist destinations. It’s famous for its long beaches, parties, and places of worship.

In February 2016, five tourists almost risked their lives for a photo when they fell off a cliff while taking selfies at Anjuna village in Goa. The group fell after the gate they were leaning on creaked open, and caused them to plunge down, police officials said.

“Two women fell on their back on a stone and are currently admitted in a private hospital. The doctors have said that they might be paralyzed for life,” police inspector Paresh Naik said.


Agra, India

Photo by Sudipa Mondal from Pexels Image: Sudipa Mondal, Pexels

If there’s one monument that’s most commonly associated with India, it’s the glorious Taj Mahal. Commissioned by the Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan in honour of his late wife Mumtaz Mahal, the 17th century mausoleum attracts about 12,000 visitors a day.

It comes to no surprise that some of those visitors would want to indulge in a selfie or two.

In 2015, eyewitnesses told BBC that a Japanese tourist fell off the steps of the monument while taking a selfie. The man was taken to the hospital where he later succumbed to his injuries.

Police officials say the man was with three other people when the incident occurred, and his colleague ended up fracturing his leg after they both fell from the staircase.



Kanpur, India

AjayGoel fLICKR Image: Ajay Goel, Flickr

Taking a selfie proved deadly for a group of friends who had gone for a swim in the infamous river after rainfall. A 19-year-old boy lost his balance while trying to take a picture and ended up falling into the river. Six of his friends proceeded to jump in after him in efforts to rescue the boy, but drowned in the attempt, Superintendent of Police Sachindra Patel said.


Arizona, USA

Photo by Bruno Moretti from Pexels Image: Bruno Moretti, Pexels

One of the world’s natural wonders, Arizona’s iconic Grand Canyon is known for its towering cliffs that viewers can walk along.

Walking too close to the edge, however, can be dangerous.

A man in his 50s stumbled over the edge at Eagle Point – an area that includes a rim that has no railings – while trying to take pictures in March 2019.

The man’s body was retrieved from about 305 metres below the rim at Grand Canyon West, according to the Associated Press.


California, USA

Niemand für Polyphemus, Flickr Image: Niemand für Polyphemus, Flickr

Yosemite National Park in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains is infamous for its waterfalls and deep valleys. On average, about 4 million people visit the popular tourist attraction every year.

According to the Times of Israel, an Israeli teen visiting the Yosemite National Park in September, 2018 fell to his death while taking a selfie. Tomer Frankfurter, 18, plunged more than 240 metres down a cliff at the park.

The next month in October 2018, a ‘travel-obsessed’ Indian couple experienced a similar fate at the same park but at a different point.

Taft point is a popular day hike destination known for its incredible view.

The couple fell to their deaths from Taft Point after taking a selfie according to the man’s brother.

The bodies of Vishnu Viswanath and Meenakashi Moorthy were found 245 metres below the point.

According to eyewitnesses, Moorthy was standing close to the edge of the cliff in an area without railings. In a weird twist of events, another couple that was present on the day managed to capture pictures of Moorthy before her fall. She appeared in the background of some of their photos, standing out because of her bright pink hair.

Sean Matteson told the Guardian that “she was very close to the edge, but it looked like she was enjoying herself.”


St. Petersburg, Russia

Ninara, Railway bridge Image: Ninara, Flickr

Railways and trains seem to be a popular selfie destination in Russia. There’s been numerous cases of teenagers and young adults losing their lives in proximity of railway transit systems.

The selfie death problem reached such extreme measures, that the country launched a ‘Safe Selfie’ campaign to combat the number of related deaths.

A Russian teenager, Xenia Ignatyeva, decided to scale a 9 metre-railway bridge, in an attempt to take a photo. She lost her footing on the bridge, and grabbed a nearby cable, which turned out to be live. After receiving an electric shock, she fell to her death.

Police officials said that she had wanted to capture a photo with “the most dramatic effect.”


Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan

Kunhar River, Kaghan Valley Pakistan Image: Wikimedia

In 2016, an 11-year-old girl drowned while attempting to take a selfie at the Kunhar River, which flows through Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. The girl's parents jumped into the river to save her but were swept away and drowned. The six-year-old son of the family was a witness of the tragedy.

In another case at the Kunhar river, a Pakistani man drowned while trying to take a selfie near the water. His cousin jumped in to save him, but she was also ended up dying.


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