5 Selfie Deaths: Dying to get Selfie Likes

5 Selfie Deaths: Dying to get Selfie Likes
Dying to get the photo: Five selfies that ended tragically
A daredevil scales one of Hong Kong’s highest buildings. Photo: SCMP Pictures

The initially playful act of snapping photos of oneself for social media has led to the grim deaths of two individuals just this week.

The announcement of “selfie” as the Oxford Dictionary’s Word of the Year in 2013, cemented its place in society.

Everyone from US President Barack Obama to self-proclaimed selfie-guru Kim Kardashian has since only helped exponentially increase its popularity.

But in this widely encouraged culture of narcissism, individuals have now cultivated a dangerous habit of risk-taking for photographs in the hope of achieving popularity on social media.

Whether it is posing with weaponry or hanging off a skyscraper, there are no longer limits to the lengths taken to snap the perfect selfie.

In the accepted practice of “doing it for the ‘gram,” here are five individuals around the world whose risk-taking went too far.

Deleon Alonso Smith. Photo: SCMP Pictures

1. Accidental gunshot to the throat

Deleon Alonso Smith was posting pictures of himself posing with a gun online, when the weapon unexpectedly fired and killed him. The 19-year-old was reportedly shot in the throat on Tuesday afternoon this week in this Texas, USA apartment.

The last selfie taken by the unnamed Chinese man before he fell to his death. Photo: SCMP Pictures

2. Lost footing on top of a cliff

A Chinese man fell off a 30-metre cliff when he lost his footing while taking selfies beside a mountain waterfall. The local police recovered a selfie stick and mobile phone beside the man’s body in Zhejian province on Wednesday this week.

Xenia Ignatyeva was electrocuted when she fell from a railway bridge. Photo: SCMP Pictures

3. Slipped off a railway bridge

Russian teenager Xenia Ignatyeva, was taking selfies on top of a railway bridge in Krasnogvardeysky when she slipped. The 17-year-old attempted to save herself by grabbing onto a high voltage cable, but instead was hit by 1,500 volts and electrocuted to death.

A Spanish man was electrocuted while taking a selfie on top of a train. Photo: SCMP Pictures

4. Electrocuted and thrown from a train

A 21-year-old man climbed onto the roof of a train with a pal in pursuit of a selfie in Andujar, Spain. However, the parked train was powered by overhead electric cables and the electrocution threw him off the train.

David Gonzales Lopez was trying to take selfies at the annual bull running festival. Photo: SCMP Pictures

5. Gored by a bull

David Gonzales Lopez was trying to take selfies with the animals during the annual bull running festival in the Spanish town of Villaseca de la Sagra, when he was fatally gouged from behind by a charging bull.

Ultimately, the best safety measure one can take is to avoid taking selfies next to something that can kill you.

Whether you’re next to an unrailed cliff or a live charging animal, no photo is worth risking your life for.

Hong Kong has not experienced a high-profile selfie death. However, daredevil duo Vitaliy Raskalov, 21, and Vadim Makhorov, 24, scaled some of the highest restricted points in the city without safety equipment last year.

Although there were no complaints filed in Hong Kong, China contacted both Russia and Ukraine with a request to ban the pair from visiting China for 20 years.

PUBLISHED : Friday, 04 September, 2015, 5:51pm
UPDATED : Friday, 04 September, 2015, 8:52pm
Stephanie Chin


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Robert Chaen

Global CEO-Founder of ChangeU and Movsha Movers & Shakers, Hero-CEO Whisperer, Writer, The #1 Alpha Change Expert, Father of Asian FireWalking Robert Chaen is an International Keynote Speaker, writer, researcher, and corp games designer. He is famously known to be the “Hero-CEO Whisperer”, 1-on1 coaching with many CEOs and Celebrities for corporate strategies, staff & office political issues, personal branding, and even public figure OSHA safety drilling called Drager Defense. He has transformed CEOs and managers in Coca-Cola China, TVB Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong Airport Services, VADS, TM, Public Bank, Auditor General's Office Maldives, etc. He is the prolific creator and online Author of innovative management tools such as DragonCEO, Diamond Leader, Papillon Personal Effectiveness, OSHA Drager Defense, KPI Bank, etc. He is also the Founder of Movsha, an international networking with monthly mingles with MOVers & SHAkers, Angels, Entrepreneurs, CEOs, Celebrities, HR-PR-CSR, HODs, and the Most Influential IDEA people. ​Chaen is widely considered as one of the top International Platform Keynote Speakers for Resorts World Genting Senior Management Conference (Manila), 7-Eleven HK, Samsung, Coca-Cola China Mini-MBA @Tsing Hua University, Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong Jockey Club, The Story Conference where he interviewed Datuk Kamarudin (Chairman of AirAsia) and Siti Nurhaliza. He has been widely featured in TVB, AWSJ, CNBC, SCMP, The Star, and Sin Chew. As “The Father of Asian FireWalking”, he coached TVB celebrities (Ekin Cheng Yee-Kin) to walk on 650°C fire; and raised HK$68M in the world’s 1st and only live TV Charity FireWalk (TVB Tung Wah Charity Show), before Tony Robbins even came to Asia. If Robert can get you to walk on 650⁰C fire, he can inspire you to be THE BEST. He champions CN-HK-EU-US Tycoons to be philanthropic, and to be angel investors to support the next generation of Jack Mas, Steve Jobs, Richard Bransons, Steven Spielbergs, or Barrack Obamas. With some slick motivational speakers with fake doctorates out there, graduates often describe Robert to be "the most credible, empowering, truthful Coach" who believe in his graduates to believe in themselves. ​However, clients have described Robert as "The #1 Cool Badass Alpha Change Expert". He has the coolest first class stature, rapport and trust from clients. He will not hesitate to tell the badass truth ever so gently because clients are paying him big bucks to reveal the truth, find solutions, persuade the hostile HODs, and align cross-teams within the organization. Originally based in Hong Kong for 20+ years, he had worked with top Branding/Ad agencies at J Walter Thompson and Leo Burnett, and was a certified FranklinCovey (7 Habits) in USA, and NLP MasterCoach (USA). His warmth is known to soften the most hardened, resistant sceptics. He will inspire your team to Go for Top 1, or to be a Dragon CEO. With boundless energies, Robert owns 15+ successful business Joint-Ventures, and created unique products under his global VC network called Chaen's Angels VC. He is deeply passionate about ChangeUTH Youth CSR, Science-Based Medicine (vs. quackery), short films and Reality TV. Touched by a personal tragedy through the loss of his HK-born Portuguese wife, co-coach and business partner, Brenda José of 18 years, Robert explores the many ways in which the spirit world is communicating with the living with real scientific studies and evidence. He gives inspiring conferences on The Secret Afterlife.

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