If it’s funny until someone gets hurt, then selfies just officially became somber. According to Mashable, more people died this year as a result of selfie accidents than shark attacks — proportionally speaking, a lot more people. Twelve people thus far this year have lost their lives while attempting to take a selfie, and eight have perished as a result of a shark attack (note that George Burgess, director of shark research at the Florida Museum of Natural History, says that the shark number is actually six, making selfies twice as dangerous as sharks). While loss of life is tragic regardless of circumstance, a photo opp seems particularly unworthy as a cause of death.
The dangers associated with the popular photography technique have already made international headlines this year, with Russia’s July launch of a PSA and information campaign to reduce selfie-related injuries. While the efforts may have raised some eyebrows and drawn a few laughs at the time, this latest Mashable finding reinforces that this is no laughing matter. After all, as the Russian Interior Ministry noted, “When a person is trying to photograph themselves, their attention is scattered, they lose their balance, they don’t look look around and feel no danger.”
Many of the tips that have been circulated to protect yourself from selfie risks — such as not taking photographs with wild animals (or charging bulls), with firearms, or hundreds of feet above ground level — seem like common sense. But strangely enough, there’s something about holding a camera and seeing your own face that makes you feel invincible.
According to a Wikipedia entry on the subject, the twelve selfie deaths that have occurred in 2015 are as follows:
1. An American woman fell to her death while taking a selfie with her boyfriend on a cliff in South Africa.
2, 3. Two Russian men were killed while taking a selfie with a hand grenade.
4, 5, 6. Three Indian students were killed by an oncoming train while taking selfies on train tracks.
7. A Romanian teenager was electrocuted when she was taking a selfie on top of a train and touched a high-voltage wire.
8. A Russian teen was also electrocuted after touching live wires while taking a selfie near railway tracks.
9. A Russian woman shot herself in the head while trying to take a selfie with a gun.
10. A woman in Moscow City died falling from a bridge, where she was trying to take a selfie.
11. A teenager in Houston, Texas, fatally shot himself while taking a selfie with a gun.
12. A Japanese tourist died falling down the stairs while taking a selfie at the Taj Mahal.
This last incident, which occurred just this past Tuesday, has sparked renewed concern over the very real dangers presented by irresponsible selfies.
So be careful where you snap, and always be aware of your surroundings. You never know when a Kodak moment could turn killer.