Global Study Finds 259 Have Reportedly Died While Taking Selfies

There is a time and a place for a selfie. At their best, they are a a bit of fun and they can serve as a treasured memento. But at their worst they can be extremely inappropriate and even deadly, and while there are some truly spectacular selfies out there, not one is worth dying for.

Yet, a global study has revealed that 259 people died taking selfies between 2011 and 2017. The deaths stemmed from 137 separate incidents and the average age of those who died was around 23. Almost three quarters of the deaths were men, with transport, drowning and falls among the most common causes of death.

The study, which was conducted by the US National Library of Medicine, also showed the number of selfie related deaths is increasing, with only three reported in 2011, as opposed to 98 in 2016.

The study was compiled through a comprehensive analysis of news reports, using search terms such as 'selfie deaths', 'selfie accidents' and 'koolfie deaths'. Researchers say previous studies of selfie deaths did not give accurate results as they compiled findings from sources such as Twitter and Wikipedia. However, the study also suggests the actual number of people who have died taking a selfie could be much higher.

Credit: Tomomi Wong (Creative Commons)
Credit: Tomomi Wong (Creative Commons)

It says: "It is believed that selfie deaths are underreported and the true problem needs to be addressed.

"Certain road accidents while posing for selfies are reported as death due to Road Traffic Accident.

"Thus, the true magnitude of the problem is underestimated. It is therefore important to assess the true burden, causes, and reasons for selfie deaths so that appropriate interventions can be made."

The study concludes that 'no selfie zones' should be introduced in particularly precarious zones, such as near cliff tops and dangerous bodies of water. That said, the study also found that some selfie takers were killed by more obscure causes, such as electrocution, firearms and death by animals.

There has been no sign of the deaths dropping off in 2018 either. Last month, Tom Frankfurter died in Yosemite National Park, California, after he tried to take a selfie and ended up plummeting 250 metres. Two months before that, 19-year-old Gavin Zimmerman died a similar death while taking a selfie in New South Wales, Australia.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

The study also found selfie related deaths were most prevalent in the USA, Russia, Pakistan and India, where 50 percent of all selfie deaths were reported. The latter statistic can be in part attributed to a trend in India whereby people take selfies in front of fast-moving trains.

In January, a selfie video of a man in Hyderabad went viral after it showed him standing in front of a train and ignoring warnings as it collided with him; the man sustained head injuries and was lucky to survive.

The moral of the story seems fairly clear - if you bump into a celebrity or you're chilling out with your dog, feel free to take a selfie, if there is fast or powerful stuff around you or you are really high up, don't take a selfie.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Jake Massey

Jake Massey is a journalist at LADbible. He graduated from Newcastle University before going to live in Australia and New Zealand for a few years, where he wrote a travel blog. He has previously written for the Eastern Daily Press, Giggle Beats, CALM and Front Magazine. Jake enjoys playing football, listening to music and writing about himself in the third person.

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