Death by Selfie

Imagine this: you’re on honeymoon in Florida
with your now-wife, and you have a few hours left before it’s time to return to the airport. The sun is shining and the ocean is a magnificent
bright blue; you can’t resist one last dip in the water before you head home. Besides, none of the photos you’ve taken
so far have quite been profile picture standard. So, in you get, with your GoPro at the ready. You swim out into the water far enough for
nobody else to be in shot, you hold your breath, and you dive down to take the perfect underwater
selfie. But little do you realize that a great white
shark has just spotted you and is swimming your way right that moment You press the shutter
and the photo is taken just as the shark is opening its mouth to gobble you up, your last
moments on earth captured by a haunting selfie. The photo is uploaded to Facebook automatically. Sounds unbelievable, right? Well, that’s because it is. The truth is that Fall Out Boy star Pete Wentz
photoshopped a joke photo of him with a shark behind, but a few online media outlets created
a fake story using the photo, which ended up going viral. Humans, eh – there’s something strangely
sadistic about our propensity to laugh at the misery and stupidity of others. I for one would never try to gain money and
clout by capitalizing on that at the expense of innocent people. Ever. But anyway, what was I saying? Time to laugh at some people who died by taking
selfies while they were hanging off buildings, flying planes, and holding guns! It might not be true that an innocent honeymooner
was killed by a shark whilst taking a selfie, and there’s a good reason for that. It would be pretty difficult logistically
to not notice the shark coming, and everyone knows we’re supposed to fear sharks. Nobody in their right mind would want to take
a selfie with one. But what about a more innocent-seeming animal
that nobody would suspect? Like a penguin, a sloth – or a walrus. In a Chinese wildlife park, a tourist once
tried to take a picture with a walrus but had a nasty surprise. The animal’s enclosure turned out to be
not very well enclosed, and the 1.5-ton walrus grabbed the man from behind and pulled him
into the water to play. Presumably, there was some kind of misunderstanding
and the walrus mistook the selfie pose for a ‘want to go swimming together?’ pose. Easy mistake to make. In the walrus’s eyes, he was playfully submerging
the man and swimming around him. In reality, he was drowning the man and keeping
him trapped in the water. A zookeeper tried to enter the water to save
the man but ended up in the same predicament, and eventually, the two of them drowned. He’s not the only one to have underestimated
the strength of wild animals, an important fact that seems to have been forgotten in
modern times. In Pamplona, the home of the ancient Spanish
tradition of bull runs, a man thought it would be a great idea to take a selfie with two
bulls about to collide with each other in the background. Unfortunately, he didn’t see a third bull
running toward him… The third bull pierced the neck of the selfie-taker
with its horn – spectators noted he remained suspended in the air like a puppet. The man was one of many to die from taking
part in the controversial bull-running tradition, but he was the first to meet his demise by
taking a photo. Of course, it’s not just animals that are
putting people at risk. We can do that all by ourselves, thank you
very much. For example, a Romanian teenager once tried
to lie down on the roof of a train car to take an iconic selfie, but it didn’t quite
go to plan. As luck would have it, just as she lifted
up one of her legs to pose, the leg hit a live wire overhead, resulting in a massive
electric shock. An electric fence used to keep horses fenced
normally gives out a shock of around 2,000 volts – strong, but not enough to cause
much damage to a human. Well, this wire gave out shocks of 27,000
volts. The girl didn’t just get a nasty shock,
she literally burst into flames and died of her burns. Thinking they’d be safe if they just stayed
on the ground, a group of young guys died trying to attempt the so-called dare devil
selfie, which involves posing on the railway as a train approaches then jumping out the
way just in the nick of time. Except they didn’t get the timing quite
right and ended up getting run over. If that sounds like the dumbest thing you’ve
ever heard, then you clearly haven’t heard about the rest of the incidents in this video. Well, trains are one thing, they don’t seem
that dangerous. Surely nobody would be stupid enough to try
to take a selfie whilst in a plane? Wrong. One amateur pilot lost control of his plane
one day whilst flying over Colorado, and his penchant for mid-flight selfies is believed
to be the cause. Although the accident itself wasn’t recorded,
the GoPro camera he used was found the next day, with photos taken at dangerous points
in the air featuring both the pilot and his passenger. The flash used for the camera probably disoriented
the guy so much that he lost control of the plane, because no other reason for the crash
could be found. This crazy pilot isn’t the only one who
seems to have a screw loose. My legs turn to jelly when I climb up a ladder
to clean my windows, but one Chinese ex-stuntman made a habit of ascending high buildings and
hanging off ledges to bring in some extra income. His photos soon went viral, including one
of him hanging off the Great Wall of China with a sheer drop below and another standing
casually on the top of a huge skyscraper. Unfortunately, one day things didn’t go
so well. Whilst hanging from the roof of an extremely
tall building, the man just couldn’t get the perfect shot. There’s no use risking your life by climbing
tens of feet up a building just to post a photo with your hair in your eyes. He climbed back on to the top of the building
and lowered himself back down again successfully twice, but on the third time around, he lost
his grip and slipped. Because he was so high up in the first place,
he ended up dropping 45 feet down on to another rooftop instead of hitting the ground. He probably didn’t die immediately, but
by the time anyone found him, it was too late. The whole thing is available on film, but
you probably shouldn’t watch it unless you’re a terrible person. In another case of ignoring all common sense
and the human instinct to survive, are the people who take selfies with guns. You know, the weapons designed to kill people. In 2016, a sixteen-year-old boy tried to take
a selfie with his father’s pistol, but his coordination seemingly betrayed him. He pressed the wrong shoot button, triggering
the gun instead of the camera. I’m not sure how you can mess things up
that spectacularly, but he was only a boy. Except a middle-aged man made the same mistake. A 43-year-old Washington resident had been
entertaining himself by taking photos with an unloaded gun all day – well, we all unwind
in different ways I guess – and managed to successfully take a good few without shooting
himself in the head. However, he must have become overconfident
in his ability to remember to remove the bullets, because he eventually took a photo with one
bullet left in and killed himself. I’m not sure why he didn’t just leave
the bullets out permanently, but I don’t want to rub salt into the wound. Now, these freak accidents are one thing,
but can you imagine selfie-related deaths being such a pandemic that the government
had to release a pamphlet instructing people how to take photos of themselves responsibly? Well, that’s what happened in Russia due
to the high number of injuries and deaths caused by selfies in 2015. The bizarre poster included instructions not
to take selfies with guns or grenades, or in front of trains or lions. I know what you’re thinking – who would
be stupid enough to do that? Well, actually, a few people. Two young soldiers in Siberia tried to take
a selfie with a live grenade, and well, you can guess what’s next – it exploded and
killed them both. At least they didn’t die in vain – the
phone survived with the photo on it. The same year, a Russian teenager with a keen
interest in amateur photography tried to take a selfie on a railway bridge in Saint Petersburg
at night. But, whilst trying to take the photograph,
she lost her balance and tried to grab a high voltage cable on the way down to stop the
fall. Instead, it electrocuted her, and she fell
to the ground, shocking the friend who was waiting for her below. Confusingly, many of the articles regarding
the incident published a photo of Angela Nikolau, another Russian woman famous for posting photos
of herself on high buildings. So, is the whole thing a hoax, or did the
press just publish a picture of the wrong girl? Selfie deaths are a confusing beast. Worryingly, Russia isn’t even the country
that faces the greatest problem with selfie deaths – that honor goes to India. In 2015, around half of all selfie-related
deaths happened in India. One man tried to take a selfie from a rock
that collapsed beneath his feet, causing him to fall around 60 feet and die instantly from
head injuries. Another group died whilst standing on a boat
to pose for photos, only to capsize and drown. The Indian government went so far as to declare
selfie fatalities a national pandemic amongst young Indians, and Mumbai police created sixteen
‘no selfie zones’ in areas deemed to be high risk. It’s somewhat ironic considering India’s
then-prime minister Narendra Modi was known for indulging in selfies himself, taking an
iconic shot with the then-Chinese-premier in 2015. It seems that tourists caught the selfie bug
whilst visiting the country, too. A 66-year-old Japanese tourist once died trying
to take a picture with the Taj Mahal. It might not sound particularly dangerous,
but it ended fatally. The man was trying to take a picture with
the iconic sight whilst descending the steps when he lost his balance, fell, and died. He’s not the only tourist who’s been so
desperate for the perfect Instagram shot that they fell to their death. One young woman recently died trying to take
a photo at the edge of a cliff in Sydney. The British female ignored the ‘warning’
signs telling people not to enter the fenced-in cliff area – maybe she mistook them for
Halloween decorations – to take a photo by the picturesque waves below. Her friends later realized she was missing
and a helicopter recovered her body. A similar thing happened to a Polish couple
in Portugal, who stepped over safety barriers to get the perfect angle for their dramatic
shot, only to end up having a dramatic fall into the Atlantic Ocean. Seriously, people, it’s not that hard – just
do what the signs are telling you to. You might be thinking that you’d never take
a picture from the top of a skyscraper, in front of a live animal, or with a gun, so
you’re safe from this embarrassing cause of death. You’ll never have ‘died from vanity’
written across your tombstone. Unfortunately, people have died from taking
selfies in even the safest of places. In fact, the first known ‘selfie death’
happened in a place nobody was expecting it. A few students in Lebanon were hanging out
in the street of a safe neighborhood when they decided to take a picture together. No harm there, right? Well in this case, yes. It seems the boys were in the wrong place
at the wrong time, because just as he hit ‘snap’, a car bomb went off. The bomb successfully targeted the then-president
of Lebanon, who died, but these innocent bystanders were also taken out. Just minutes after the original photo was
taken, a second photo of the boy lying dead on the floor was taken. Even considering a selfie could put you in
danger. A man hiking through the Brecon Beacons mountain
range with a selfie stick was struck by lightning, and he may not have died if he’d gone without
the ultimate embarrassing tourist accessory, which has a metal arm. There are definitely a few life lessons here. Safety barriers are there for a reason, wild
animals are dangerous, and weapons designed for killing really are fatal. I can’t believe I’m even having to say
this. There’s a time and place for questioning
conventional wisdom, kids, but this isn’t one of them. If you want to keep learning about people
dying in strange ways, then I won’t judge you, we made the videos. Depending on what type of person you are,
you might be interested in this video about people dying from laughter, or this one about
them dying from loneliness.

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