Death by Selfie: 11 Disturbing Stories of Social Media Pics Gone Wrong - Rolling Stone
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Death by Selfie: 11 Disturbing Stories of Social Media Pics Gone Wrong

Fatal poses with walruses, bulls and even a live grenade

The never-ending pursuit of the ultimate shot for social media sharing has reached a startling new height: 8,000 feet above sea level. This month, a grown man fell to his death while posing for a picture on a ledge at Machu Picchu, the ancient Incan citadel in Peru. But death by selfie at a temple built for human sacrifice begs the question: How far would you go to get that killer shot?

The facts speak for themselves. In 2015, more people died from taking selfies than from shark attacks. Tourist destinations such as Mumbai have gone so far as to designate selfie-free zones. Even the notoriously unsympathetic Russian government issued a manual for how to safely take a selfie. Our need to capture the present moment via social media has completely changed the way we experience life, and a tragic irony presents itself when that results in death. 

From falling down the steps of the Taj Mahal to being gored alive by wild animals, here are the 11 most disturbing stories of selfies gone disastrously wrong. 

Bridge, Climbed, selfie

Alain Jocard/AFP/Getty

Last Bridge She Climbed

A 17-year-old Russian teenager fell off a 30-foot railway bridge in St. Petersburg while attempting to get the perfect shot. Xenia Ignatyeva, an amateur photographer, had climbed up the bridge one night in April of 2014 to take a selfie. The police surmised she had wanted to capture "the most dramatic effect." But when the young woman lost her balance, she reached for a hanging cable – which turned out to be a live wire that electrocuted her with 1,500 watts – and she plummeted to her death. A friend was waiting for her at the bottom of the bridge, when Ignatyeya's body fell beside her. It is believed that she'd been alive until hitting the ground. 

cliffs, Cabo da Roca, selfie

Paul Almasy/Corbis/Getty

Accidental Cliff Dive

A Polish couple's two young children watched as their parents climbed over the safety barrier and fell to their deaths while taking a selfie on a cliff in Cabo da Roca, Portugal. Once they took a step backwards to angle their shot, they tumbled off of the edge and into the perilous Atlantic Ocean below. Both bodies were not recovered until a day later, as dangerous weather and sea levels prevented their rescue. The traumatized children, ages five and six, were put into the care of Polish diplomats after witnessing the horrifying scene. 

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