Death By Selfie: 8 Stories From The Growing Epidemic Of 'Killfies'

According to the BBC, 259 cases of selfie-related deaths (now known as “killfies”) occurred between 2011 and 2019. Analysis by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology shows that number continues to grow.

In keeping with the eight years of this “killfie” epidemic, here are eight cautionary tales of death by selfie.

June 21, 2019
By: Mike McPadden

Russian Soldiers Pose With A Live Grenade, Are No Longer Alive Themselves

RUSSIA — According to the Interior Ministry of Russia, the number of selfie-related deaths in 2015 prompted the agency to take action. The final straw may have been a reported incident in which two soldiers posed with a live hand grenade, which allegedly went off right after they took the picture.

As a result, the Interior Ministry released a “safer selfie” leaflet, offering guidance to the public with graphic images that advise not to take selfies with a loaded gun or while standing in front of a lion. [Daily Mail]

Oregon State Student Falls From Scenic Cliff, Lands In Tree, Dies Later

OSWALD WEST STATE PARK, OR — While hiking on Neahkahnie Mountain with her boyfriend, Michelle Casey, 21, climbed over a rock barrier at a lookout point to snap a photo. She reportedly slipped and fell about 100 feet before getting stuck in a treetop for two hours before she could be rescued.

Authorities said Casey later succumbed to her injuries at a hospital. She was in her second year studying kinesiology at Oregon State University. In a statement, her family wrote, “Michelle had chosen to be an organ donor, a decision that saved two lives.” [NBC Today]

Missionary Falls Off Cliff Taking Selfie In Australia, His Parents Release Photo

NEW SOUTH WALES, AUSTRALIA — While he was whale-watching at the popular tourist spot Cape Solander, 19-year-old Mormon missionary Paul Zimmerman smiled as he took a selfie. He reportedly then uploaded the photo online, stumbled as he walked across slippery rocks, and fell to his death.

Zimmerman’s parents later chose to make their son’s final image public, with his father, Ray Zimmerman, stating, “It’s a selfie. You can see all the people around. He looks so happy! He had a smile on his face, it looked like a beautiful day.” [Epoch Times]

Bicyclist Not Wearing Helmet Takes Selfie, Fractures Her Skull, Dies 6 Days Later

NEW ZEALAND — Carmen Greenway, a 41-year-old mother of two, was reportedly bicycling home after a celebratory dinner in a local pub when she pulled out her camera for a selfie. She was not wearing a helmet.

After snapping the pic, Greenway reportedly lost control of her bike, fell, and fractured her skull. For the next six days, Greenway is said to have been in and out of consciousness at a local hospital before suffering a fatal heart attack resulting from a “rare condition” set off by her head injury.

Rufus Greenway, Carmen’s 47-year-old husband, said a helmet would have saved his wife’s life, and called for New Zealand to undertake appropriate legislation. [The Sun]

Teen Falls From Dam Taking Selfie & Drowns; His Friend Tries To Save Him & Also Drowns

NASHIK, INDIA — During a picnic with some fellow college students at Walvedi Dam, 18-year-old Sourabh Jagannath Chulbhar reportedly walked to the edge of the structure to get a photo of himself.

After Chulbhar slipped and fell into the water below, his friend Ajinkya Bhausaheb Gaikar, also 18, jumped into the water to attempt to rescue him. Tragically, both teens drowned. [Hindustan Times]

Hiker In Wales Carries Selfie Stick During Lightning Storm, Gets Struck

POWIS, WALES — Authorities believe that an unidentified man hiking through Brecon Beacons National Park in Wales likely died as a result of carrying a selfie stick while a thunderstorm rained down on the area. Examiners said that evidence indicates that the elongated metal pole of the selfie stick may have acted as a lightning rod and gave the man a fatal jolt. [Telegraph]

Japanese Tourist Takes Out Camera At Taj Mahal, Falls Down Stairs, Dies

AGRA, INDIA — According to eyewitnesses, 66-year-old Japanese tourist Hideto Ueda and another man lost their balance while taking a selfie at the Royal Gates of the Taj Mahal. Both men reportedly fell down the steps leading up to the monument. Authorities said Ueda lost consciousness and was later pronounced dead at a hospital, while his friend came away with only a fractured leg. [Huffington Post]

Three Young Teens Post Pic On Railroad Tracks, Get Killed By Train In Photo

SPANISH FORK, UT — In October 2011, investigators say sisters Savannah Webster, 13, and Kelsea Webster, 15, along with their friend Essa Ricker, 15, made the deadly mistake of posing together on train tracks for a selfie.

Immediately afterward, Savannah reportedly posted the photo to Facebook and wrote, “Standing right by a train ahaha this is awesome!!!!" Just then, all three girls were run down by the eastbound Union Pacific locomotive traveling 39 miles per hour. Ricker and Kelsea died instantly. Savannah survived the impact, but died later.

Union Pacific released safety videos urging people not to attempt to take selfies near railroad tracks as party of a safety campaign. [Union Pacific]