Selfie deaths: five people who died while taking a selfie

Sep 23, 2015

The number of people who died taking a selfie has exceeded the number killed by sharks this year

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It's hard to imagine your mobile phone evoking the kind of terror associated with Jaws, but you've actually got more reason to be afraid of taking a selfie than of encountering a Great White. According to statistics, selfies are officially more deadly than sharks (and taking a selfie with a shark is downright foolhardy).

Twelve people have died so far this year on their quest to get the perfect snap, compared to eight killed in shark attacks. The latest victim of the selfie craze was a 66-year-old Japanese tourist who died after falling down stairs while attempting to take a picture of himself at the Taj Mahal.

Earlier this year, the Russian police force even issued a warning brochure aimed at discouraging selfie addicts from risking their lives to get the perfect shot, following a spate of fatalities linked to the social media fad.

Careless falls are the leading cause of 'selfie death', followed by collision with a train. Other sticky ends met by reckless selfie-takers this year include being gored by a bull and being accidentally blown up by a grenade.

Here are five ways that people around the world have been killed while taking a rash selfie:

Electrocuted on top of a train

A 21 year-old man was killed when he climbed onto the top of a stationary train to take a selfie with friends and accidentally touched a high-voltage power cable running overhead. The Local says that the Andalusian man was killed instantly by the 35,000 volt charge, but another member of the group survived the shock.

Plunge from cliff edge

A Polish couple living in Portugal with their two young children stumbled off a cliff edge while trying to take a selfie. The unnamed pair fell hundreds of feet from the scenic Cabo da Raca coastline, after apparently crossing a safety barrier in their quest for a striking picture. Their two children, aged five and six, witnessed the tragedy but were otherwise unharmed, the Daily Mail reports.

Accidental gunshot to the head

Oscar Otero Aguilar made international headlines after he accidentally shot himself dead while posing for a selfie with a handgun. The 21 year-old Mexican had been drinking with friends when he decided to take a picture with the weapon, which discharged, killing him with a bullet to the head. The Telegraph notes that Aguilar's Facebook profile was full of snaps showing him posing alongside drinks, cars and women.

Fall from 30ft-high railway bridge

A Russian teenager who scaled a St Petersburg railway bridge in a fatal attempt to take a spectacular photo plummeted 30ft to her death after losing her balance. Amateur photographer Xenia Ignatyeva lost her footing on the bridge and grabbed onto a nearby cable, which turned out to be live. She received an electric shock and fell to her death. Her grandmother is quoted in the Daily Mirror as saying: "The police said she wanted to take a snap of herself at night, to give it the most dramatic effect and with the railway line as a backdrop."

Car crash during radio singalong

A US woman died in a highway accident just seconds after uploading a selfie of herself enjoying Pharrell Williams' hit Happy on her car stereo. The Independent reports that Courtney Sanford's status declaring her love for the tune, accompanied by a selfie taken at the wheel, appeared on Facebook just one minute before police received reports of a collision involving Sanford's vehicle.

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