Global “Death by Selfie” Database & Statistics (2023)

Published on by Matthew H. Nash

Social media culture has permanently shaped how we all live and exist in the world. For some, social media has provided new opportunities, insights into new ways of living, and even new career paths. For others, it has created a culture of comparison, envy, and dangerous behavior.

We initially became interested in the idea of risk aversion versus risk tolerance in regard to social media while studying the sharp uptick in selfie-related deaths being reported in the news. It seems like this is becoming a more and more common occurrence, but was it actually? What are the numbers behind the headlines?

We compiled a database of 285 selfie-related incidents since March 2014 through July 2023. This database is a continuation of the Wikipedia selfie-related injuries and deaths database, which has largely stopped updating in the last couple of years.

These incidents in our database account for 399 selfie deaths and 76 injuries spanning 49 countries.

All of the following incidents were reported as being directly related to taking a selfie as the cause of death, as reported by the media. This does not factor in the countless deaths that were peripherally related to taking a selfie or were selfie-related but that could not be verified as such during the autopsy or at the crime scene. Odds are, the number of selfie-related deaths and injuries is likely much higher.

The Selfie Death Database

We noticed the list of selfie-relate deaths on Wikipedia was not being updated so we decided to take matters into our own hands and compile a comprehensive database. Our list has been expanded and is more user-friendly, as well as updated as of July 2023. The article titles have been translated from their original language into English where applicable.

DateCountryInjuriesFatalitiesTypeNationalityArticle
Jul, 2023India1DrownedIndiaBandra selfie drowning: Body found
Jul, 2023India1DrownedIndiaTeenager drowns to death at Popular Selfie Spot in Bandipora
Jul, 2023India1FallIndia19-yr-old plunges to death at Mohadi falls while taking selfie; friend saved by bushes
Jul, 2023India2TrainIndiaTwo youths knocked down by train while taking selfie
Jun, 2023India1DrownedIndiaSelfie Death in Telangana: Youth Drowns in Dam in Hanumaonda While Taking Picture of Himself
Jun, 2023United States1FallUnited StatesCRUISE PASSENGER REPORTEDLY FALLS OVERBOARD WHILE SITTING ON A RAILING FOR A SELFIE
Apr, 2023Brazil1FallBrazilTeen falls 16ft to death while trying to take selfie on edge of waterfall
Apr, 2023India1Car accidentIndiaUttarakhand government official decapitated by helicopter blades while clicking selfie in Kedarnath
Apr, 2023India1FallIndiaGirl taking selfie falls from Ferris wheel in Bankura, dies
Apr, 2023India1TrainIndiaGirl Dies After Hit By Train While Taking Selfie
Mar, 2023India1ElephantIndiaMan Taking Selfie With Two Elephants Trampled to Death
Mar, 2023Vietnam1FallUnited KingdomBritish tourist crushed by boulder taking selfie at Vietnam’s ‘cliff of death’
Mar, 2023United States1FallUnited StatesModel Jeff Thomas fell to his death while taking a selfie: agent
Jan, 2023United States1MurderUnited StatesFamily: Selfie attempt led to deadly assault of mentally ill man
Dec, 2022India1FallIndiaYouth falls to death while taking selfie at Kanakund waterfall
Dec, 2022Thailand1FallNew ZealandTourist, 45, trying to take photos on Thailand’s notorious Death Railway dies after falling off the train and plunging 10metres into a cave below
Dec, 2022United States1FallUnited StatesHiker falls to his death trying to take selfie with his wife on mountain cliff
Nov, 2022Brazil1FallBrazilMum plunges to death after sneaking to top of waterfall closed off to public for selfie
Nov, 2022Brazil1FallBrazilMan dies after falling 40 feet while attempting cliff-side selfie
Nov, 2022India1Animal – SnakeIndiaMan Tries to Take Selfie With Snake, Gets Bitten and Dies
Nov, 2022India4DrownedIndiaFour women trying to take selfie near waterfall slip and drown, India officials say
Nov, 2022India1FallIndiaDrunk Man Dies After Falling Into Trench While Taking Selfie In Aravallis
Nov, 2022Turkey1FallTurkeyFrightening moment teen girl falls to death trying to take a selfie
Nov, 2022Montenegro1FallUnited KingdomI fell 33 feet while snapping selfie — hospital left me laying in my feces and blood
Nov, 2022United Kingdom1FallUnited KingdomTeenager killed in freak accident while posing for selfie on 1,400ft mountain ledge
Nov, 2022United States1Car accidentUnited StatesMan Seen Dancing on Top of an 18-Wheeler Dies When It Passes Under Freeway Overpass in Houston
Oct, 2022India1TrainIndia‘Selfie culture’ takes toll; Bihar native succumbs to injuries
Sep, 2022India1ElephantIndiaSelfie-driven villager trampled to death by ‘lonely’ elephant in West Bengal
Sep, 2022India1FallIndiaYouth drowns in Dindie River while taking selfie
Aug, 2022India6DrownedIndiaSix members of family die trying to save sisters who drowned taking selfie at waterfall
Aug, 2022Italy1FallItalianItalian man takes selfie right before falling to death
Jul, 2022India1DrownedIndiaTechie from Tirupati drowns to death in Kalladi river while taking selfie
Jul, 2022Pakistan2FallPakistanKP friends fall to death while snapping waterfall selfie
Jul, 2022Italy1FallUnited StatesTourist Ignores Warnings, Falls Into Volcano While Taking a Selfie
Jun, 2022Bangledesh1TrainBangledeshChuadanga teen dies taking selfie on moving train
May, 2022India1FallIndia16-year-old girl falls into river while taking selfie on railway bridge, dies
May, 2022Thailand1FallRomaniaTourist, 23, plunges 50ft to death after fateful selfie on slippery waterfall rocks
Apr, 2022India1ElectrocutionIndia16-Year-Old Climbs Train Engine To Take Selfie, Gets Electrocuted, Dies
Apr, 2022India1FallIndiaWatch Video: 18-year-old falls to death from waterfall while clicking selfie in Pune’s Talegaon
Mar, 2022India1FallIndiaUttarakhand: Woman falls in gorge while taking selfie, dies
Mar, 2022Greece1MurderUnited StatesMurdered over a Selfie? Retrial Approaches in the Shocking Killing of Texan Bakari Henderson in Greece
Jan, 2022Australia1FallAustralia‘Golden boy’, 20, falls to death while taking selfie on school roof
Jan, 2022United States1FallUnited StatesA U.S. hiker in Arizona slipped and fell approximately 700 feet (213 meters) to his death while trying to take a photo in Lost Dutchman State Park near the Superstition Mountains.
Jan, 2022United States1FallUnited StatesA 21-year-old hiker fell hundreds of feet to his death while taking a selfie: ‘A very tragic accident’
Dec, 2021India3DrownedIndiaThree-member TN family washed away while clicking selfie, bodies yet to be recovered
Dec, 2021India1FallIndia14 year old falls to death while taking selfie
Nov, 2021Belgium1FallBelgiumWoman falls 100 feet to her death from cliff in Belgium after posing for selfie
Nov, 2021Chile1FallChileA woman has fallen to her death at a popular city viewpoint while trying to take a selfie sitting on a handrail in front of a sheer drop.
Nov, 2021India1TrainIndiaPabna woman dies after being hit by train while taking selfie
Oct, 2021India1ElephantIndiaStudent Crushed To Death While Taking Selfie In Lakhimpur Kheri
Oct, 2021India1FallIndiaMan dies after falling into gorge while taking selfie in Madhya Pradesh’s Damoh
Oct, 2021Turkey1FallTurkeyHatice Nur Karabulut, 21, lost her balance taking a snap near the bridge from James Bond film Skyfall in the Turkish province of Adana.
Sep, 2021India2DrownedIndiaDelhi woman, son swept away in Beas while taking selfie
Sep, 2021Spain1FallUkraineTourist Plunges Off Cliff Into The Sea Whilst Taking Selfie in Benidorm
Aug, 2021Australia1FallBrazilBrazilian woman who fell from Brisbane’s Kangaroo Point cliffs may have been taking selfie
Aug, 2021India1DrownedIndiaINDIA WOMAN PLUNGES TO HER DEATH WHILE TAKING A SELFIE BY THE WATERFALL
Aug, 2021Hungary1FallNetherlandsTragedy on the Freedom Bridge: the Dutch tourist gave his life for his last photo
Aug, 2021Turkey1FallTurkeyMoment TikToker plunges 160ft to her death while posing for sunset selfie videos on a Turkish rooftop
Aug, 2021Zimbabwe1ElephantZimbabweaA man has reportedly died in Zimbabwe while trying to take a selfie with elephants. The elephant that charged at him was one of several that had escaped from a conservation area in central Zimbabwe.
Jul, 2021Italy1FallDenmarkYouTuber, 22, Dies Falling From Mountain While Filming Video: ‘We Are in Great Grief,’ Says Mom
Jul, 2021Hong Kong1FallHong KongInfluencer Sofia Cheung dead after fatal slip while taking selfie
Jul, 2021India3DrownedIndiaSelfie Craze Claims Lives of Three Teenage Girls of Family in Telangana
Jul, 2021India3DrownedIndiaDelhi: 27-year-old drowns taking selfie at Pul Prahladpur
Jul, 2021India1FirearmIndiaMurder or accident? Woman taking selfie with gun ‘shoots self dead’; father lodges dowry death complaint
Jul, 2021India11LightningIndiaLightning strikes kill 76 people in India; some victims were taking selfies
Jun, 2021India1FallIndiaIndore: Medical student plunges to death while clicking selfie on overbridge
Jun, 2021India1FallIndiaTourist dies while taking selfie in Doodhpathri
May, 2021India1FallIndiaSelfie craze: 20-year-old man dies after slipping into well with tractor in Tamil Nadu
May, 2021Indonesia9DrownedIndonesiaSelfie Attempt Leaves Nine Dead in Boat Accident
Apr, 2021India2FallIndiaLovers fall to death from bridge when taking selfie
Mar, 2021Brazil2DrownedBrazilTwo friends died plunging down waterfall when woman fell taking a selfie and pal tried to catch her
Mar, 2021India1ElephantIndiaYet Another Indian Dies Trying To Take a Selfie, This Time With an Elephant
Mar, 2021Kenya7DrownedKenyaTragic ‘selfie’ leaves 5 dead in Lake Victoria, two bodies still missing
Jan, 2021India1DrownedIndiaOdisha woman dies after falling into river while taking selfie
Jan, 2021India1FallIndiaSelfie-Taker Accidently Pushes Another to Her Death
Jan, 2021Slovenia1TrainSloveniaMaribor: A train collided with a minor. Was the tragedy the result of a dangerous challenge?
Jan, 2021Zimbabwe1FallZimbabweMan pictured near edge of Zimbabwe’s Victoria Falls before 350-foot death drop
Dec, 2020Australia1FallAustraliaDangerous selfies ‘can kill you’: Tourists urged to be sensible after Grampians death
Nov, 2020India1ElectrocutionIndiaTamil Nadu Boy Electrocuted While Clicking Selfie On Train Engine
Aug, 2020Kenya1DrownedKenyaWoman drowns while posing for photos with boyfriend at Chepkiit falls in Nandi
May, 2020Malta1FallItalianFriends left in shock at death of Italian teen
Apr, 2020Turkey1FallKazakhstanWoman falls to her death from Turkish cliff while posing for a photo to celebrate end of lockdown measures
Mar, 2020Spain1FallSpain14-year-old girl in Spain’s Madrid dies after falling from a rooftop whilst trying to take selfie
Jan, 2020Colombia1FallColombiaWoman died trying to take a selfie on the edge of a waterfall
Jan, 2020Australia1FallUnited KingdomMadalyn Davis death: Police review CCTV footage over Sydney cliff fall
Nov, 2019Thailand1FallFranceFrench tourist dies trying to take selfie at Na Mueang 2 waterfall in Thailand
Oct, 2019India4DrownedIndiaSelfie slip leaves four dead at India dam
Oct, 2019United States2FallIndiaBay Area couple who fell to their deaths from Yosemite’s Taft Point were intoxicated
Sep, 2019India1FallIndiaGujarat: Woman falls to death clicking selfie near hilltop temple
Aug, 2019Australia1FallAustraliaWoman dies after falling from cliff at one of Sydney’s most popular selfie spots
Jul, 2019Italy1FallItalyCittiglio waterfalls, slips and falls perhaps due to a selfie: Matteo dies at the age of 23
Jul, 2019Spain1Car accidentKenyaKenyan Woman Says Mzungu Hubby Died in Accident While They Were Taking Selfies
Jul, 2019Pakistan1DrownedPakistanGirl falls in river while taking selfie in Nowshera
Jul, 2019Pakistan2DrownedPakistanSelfie Claims Father, Daughter’s Lives In Swat
Jul, 2019Spain2FallUnited KingdomTwo men from Somerset die ‘taking selfie’ on holiday in Spain
Jun, 2019Norway1FallLithuaniaTourist Dies Taking Photos At Norway’s Iconic Trollstigen Mountain Pass
May, 2019Lithuania1FallBelarusStudent, 19, overbalances and falls to her death while taking a selfie on a tenth floor balcony in Lithuania
Apr, 2019Germany2DrownedGermanyInstagram hotspot: What people do here is life-threatening
Apr, 2019Uganda1DrownedUgandaUganda: A tourist drowns in the Nile after trying to take a selfie
Apr, 2019United States1FallUnited StatesCollege student on a trip to the Ozarks fell 100 feet to her death while posing for a photo
Mar, 2019United States1FallMacauGrand Canyon Tourist Falls 1,000 Feet to Death, 2nd Park Fatality This Week
Mar, 2019United States1Animal – Jaguar (zoo)United StatesJaguar attacks woman who was taking a selfie at Arizona zoo
Jan, 2019Colombia1FallColombiaA selfie cost the life of a man who was visiting a paradisiacal place in his hometown
Jan, 2019Ireland1FallIndiaStudent dies after falling from Cliffs of Moher while taking selfie
Nov, 2018Sri Lanka1FallGermanyGerman dies after falling off World’s End in Sri Lanka trying to take selfie
Oct, 2018United States2FallIndiaTwo die in fall from Yosemite Park vista; six fatalities in 2018
Oct, 2018Panama1FallPortugalA Portuguese woman dies in Panama after falling from a 27th floor while taking a “selfie”
Sep, 2018United States1FallIsraelTeen from Israel reportedly dies in Yosemite after taking selfie atop Nevada Fall
Sep, 2018United States1FallUnited StatesWoman falls to her death taking selfies at Michigan landmark
Aug, 2018Spain1FallGermanyProblem of ‘balconing’ makes a comeback, with six dead so far this summer
Jul, 2018Canada3DrownedCanadaYouTube daredevils filmed dangerous stunts for clicks — then died going over a waterfall
Jul, 2018France1FallChinaChinese billionaire dies after 15-metre fall while posing for photo
Jul, 2018Australia1FallUnited StatesKurnell selfie cliff fall victim identified as US Mormon missionary Gavin Paul Zimmerman
Jun, 2018Portugal2FallAustraliaTourists taking selfie fall to their deaths in Portugal, officials say
Jun, 2018Indonesia1FallChinaChinese tourist dies after falling from cliff taking a selfie
Jun, 2018Ukraine1ElectrocutionUkraineIn the Kyiv region, a 13-year-old boy died while taking a photo on the railway News of Lviv and Ukraine
May, 2018Australia1FallAustraliaTourist Taking Selfie Plunges to Death Off 130-Foot Cliff in Front of Friends
May, 2018India1Animal – BearIndiaOdisha man tries to click selfie with injured bear, is mauled to death
Apr, 2018Brazil1DrownedBrazilMan loses balance while taking selfie, falls into lake and drowns
Apr, 2018Brazil3FallBrazilThree young people fall from a bridge in Piauí while taking a selfie and suffer fractures
Apr, 2018Greece1FallGreece16- year- old dies taking a selfie at Keratsini, Piraeus
Mar, 2018Kenya2DrownedKenyaTwo varsity students drown in river while taking selfies
Mar, 2018United States5DrownedUnited StatesPassenger alcohol use and ‘shoe selfies’ may have played role in deadly FlyNYON photo flight
Mar, 2018Zimbabwe1Animal – HippoZimbabweBIZZARE: Man dies in selfie with hippo attempt
Feb, 2018Thailand11TrainThailandWoman killed posing for selfie on train tracks in Thailand
Jan, 2018Colombia1FallColombiaYoung man died after falling from a waterfall while looking to take a selfie
Jan, 2018Croatia1TrainCroatiaHORROR AT THE WEST PLANT IN ZAGREB: / A boy climbed onto the roof of a train car for a selfie, was electrocuted and then caught fire
Jan, 2018India1TrainIndiaMan hit by train in quest for perfect selfie
Dec, 2017Mexico1FallMexicoYoung man dies while taking a selfie in the Malpaso dam in Aguascalientes
Nov, 2017United Kingdom1FallNew ZealandNew Zealand woman dies taking selfie in London
Sep, 2017India1ElephantIndiaOdisha youth tramped to death by elephant while taking selfie
Sep, 2017Malaysia1FallMalaysiaMan falls to death, believed to be taking ‘selfie’ at Genting Highlands
Sep, 2017United Kingdom1BicycleNew Zealand‘Very rare complication’ killed New Zealand woman after cycling selfie accident
Aug, 2017India1TrainIndiaTeen taking selfie on train electrocuted, battling for life
Aug, 2017India1TrainIndiaChennai: Teen’s selfie stunt on train leads to death
Jul, 2017Hungary1FallHungaryA girl fell from Margit Bridge while taking a selfie
Jul, 2017India8DrownedIndiaSelfie tragedy: 8 men on picnic drown in Ven reservoir near Nagpur
Jul, 2017India1DrownedIndiaMumbai: 18-Year-Old Washed Away By High-Tide While Taking Selfie
Jul, 2017India1ElephantIndiaMan Crushed To Death While Taking Selfie With Elephant
Jul, 2017India48FireIndiaChennai: Bakery fire injures 48 onlookers standing too close, taking selfies
Jul, 2017Nigeria22DrownedNigeriaSelfie Leads To Tragic Death Of Two FUTA Students
Jun, 2017Greece1FallCubaSecond Tourist Falls Off Cliff While Trying to Take a Selfie with Zakynthos Shipwreck
Jun, 2017India1DrownedIndia17-yr-old drowns off Marine Drive trying to take a selfie
Jun, 2017India1ElephantIndiaOdisha: Man injured after attempt to take selfie with wild elephant goes wrong
Jun, 2017Russia1ElectrocutionRussiaSix children are killed within a week as they try to take ‘the ultimate selfies’ in spate of fatal accidents across Russia
Jun, 2017Russia1ElectrocutionRussiaA 17-year-old boy was killed when he took a selfie near a high-voltage electric cable in Novosibirsk Oblast, Russia.
Jun, 2017Russia13TrainRussiaSelfie tragedy on Trans-Siberian rail line as three children killed by freight train
Jun, 2017Russia1TrainRussiaA 14-year-old girl was electrocuted when taking a selfie on a railway bridge in Moscow Oblast, Russia, when her head accidentally touched the overhead wires.
Jun, 2017United Kingdom1FallSouth KoreaStudent fell off Seven Sisters cliff ‘posing for photo’
Jun, 2017Sri Lanka2TrainSri LankaTwo brothers die while taking selfie on railway track
Jun, 2017Sri Lanka11TrainSri LankaAnother selfie tragedy: Groom killed, bride injured
May, 2017India1DrownedIndiaMumbai selfie death: 21-yr-old’s bid to take pic with mother, sister goes wrong
May, 2017India2DrownedIndiaSelfie in pond kills two, cops blame undercurrent
May, 2017India2TrainIndiaMan crushed to death while attempting selfie before moving train
Apr, 2017Greece1FallGreeceA 23-year-old Greek man fell off the cliff over the Navagio (Shipwreck) site on Friday
Apr, 2017India5TrainIndiaMan falls off train for dramatic selfie, 4 friends die trying to save him
Apr, 2017Germany1Car accidentUnited KingdomScot killed ‘while taking selfie’ on German motorway
Mar, 2017Mexico2PlaneMexicoA plane kills two young women who were taking photos on a landing strip
Mar, 2017United States1DrownedUnited StatesTeen cheerleader dies taking selfies in freak beach accident
Feb, 2017India1FallIndia22-yr-old falls into ravine while taking selfie, dies
Feb, 2017New Zealand1DrownedNew ZealandStudent posing for selfie swept to her death by fast flowing dam water
Feb, 2017Zimbabwe1ElephantZimbabweZimbabwe: Elephant Tramples Man, 31, to Death As He and Friends Try to Take Selfies
Jan, 2017Croatia11TrainCroatiaGuilty of the death of a young man in Rijeka – a selfie?
Jan, 2017India1DrownedIndia22-yr-old falls into ravine while taking selfie, dies (Ashana Bhandari)
Jan, 2017India1TrainIndiaEngg student dies while taking selfie in TN, hit by train he wanted in backdrop
Jan, 2017India2TrainIndiaTrain crushes 2 boys clicking selfies in Delhi
Jan, 2017India1TrainIndiaYouth dies after being hit by running train while taking selfie
Jan, 2017India1TrainIndia22-year-old crushed under train while taking selfie
Jan, 2017Pakistan1DrownedPakistanDeadly selfie takes a life in Sukkur
Nov, 2016India2DrownedIndiaDeath by selfie: Two BTech students drown at Nagarjuna Sagar in Telangana
Oct, 2016Sri Lanka1TrainChinaChinese tourist falls off train in Sri Lanka while snapping scenic selfie
Oct, 2016India2DrownedIndiaSelfie craze claims 2 lives in Hyderabad; teenagers drown in quarry
Oct, 2016India1DrownedIndiaStudent missing in the river while snapping selfie
Oct, 2016India1DrownedIndiaDeath by selfie: Software engineer drowns in Odisha
Oct, 2016India1FallIndia25-year-old falls to death in Lonavla while taking selfie
Oct, 2016Nepal1FallNepalBoy falls into river while taking selfie
Oct, 2016Russia1FallRussiaGirl, aged 12, dies after taking extreme selfie
Oct, 2016Oman2DrownedSri LankaSelfie tragedy! Two Sri Lankan girls drown in Oman
Sep, 2016India15DrownedIndia5 engineering students drown taking selfies in Telangana
Sep, 2016Kenya1ElephantItalyAn Italian tourist got killed while attempting to take a selfie with an Elephant in Kenya
Aug, 2016India4DrownedIndiaINDIAN TEENAGERS SWEPT INTO THE SEA WHILE ATTEMPTING TO TAKE A SELFIE
Aug, 2016India1FallIndiaSelfie brings death to AP engineering student
Aug, 2016India1FallIndiaWoman dies after falling into gorge while taking selfie
Aug, 2016India1FallIndiaVarsity bans selfies after student plunges to death
Aug, 2016India1FallIndiaTamil Nadu: Selfie turns fatal, class 12 boy dies
Aug, 2016India1FirearmIndia35-year-old accidentally shoots herself while taking selfie with a loaded gun
Aug, 2016Pakistan3AvalanchePakistanThree women killed in avalanche while taking selfie near Saif-ul-Malook
Aug, 2016Pakistan3DrownedPakistan11-year-old girl, parents drown in selfie accident near Peshawar
Aug, 2016Pakistan2DrownedPakistanTwo more drown in latest selfie deaths in Kunhar River
Aug, 2016United States1FirearmUnited StatesWoman shoots herself while Snapchatting
Jul, 2016Croatia1FallCanadaBe careful- A risky selfie can lead you to death
Jul, 2016India4DrownedIndiaFour selfie-taking youths killed in Madhya Pradesh flash floods
Jul, 2016India2DrownedIndiaIndia students drown during river selfie
Jul, 2016India2DrownedIndiaCouple taking selfie swept away by giant wave in Kanyakumari
Jul, 2016India1DrownedIndiaWoman falls into river while taking selfie, dies
Jul, 2016India1DrownedIndiaNational Level Athlete Dies While Taking Selfie
Jul, 2016India1FallIndiaSelfie costs man his life
Jul, 2016India1FallIndiaClicking selfie claims another life! Mumbai boy falls in quarry at Khandala
Jul, 2016India2FallIndiaSelfie craze: Two killed after falling down Alekan waterfall
Jul, 2016India1FallIndiaYouth dies while taking selfie near falls
Jul, 2016India11FallIndiaAnother Selfie Death, This Time A Wrestler Drowns In A Waterfall
Jul, 2016Nepal1ElephantNepalElephant kills Selfie photographers
Jul, 2016Vietnam2TrainVietnam2 Vietnamese hit and killed by train while taking selfie
Jun, 2016Peru1FallGermanyTourist dies in Machu Picchu taking photo
Jun, 2016India1DrownedIndiaSelfie addiction sometime too dangerous to life
Jun, 2016India2DrownedIndiaSelfie on check dam drowns duo
Jun, 2016India7DrownedIndiaYoung man drowns taking selfie, 6 others killed trying to save him, reports say
Jun, 2016India1FallIndiaAnother selfie death? Youth falls off expressway bridge near Khandala, dies
Jun, 2016Kenya1FirearmKenyaKenyan Woman Shot Herself While Taking Selfie
Jun, 2016Peru1FallSouth KoreaTwo tourists plunge to their deaths in Peru in separate selfie accidents
Jun, 2016United States1FallUnited StatesFDNY EMS lieutenant killed in upstate mountain climbing accident
Jun, 2016United States1FirearmUnited StatesOverland teen fatally shot himself while taking selfie, police say
May, 2016China2Animal – WalrusChinaFatal attractions: Perfect selfie opportunities can prove deadly
May, 2016India1FirearmIndiaPathankot boy dies after shooting himself while taking a selfie
Apr, 2016Brazil1FallBrazilDangerous selfie: tourist falls 35 meters while taking a photo in a waterfall
Apr, 2016Brazil1FallBrazilWoman dies after falling from a rock into a waterfall in Campos, RJ
Apr, 2016India1FallIndiaTeen Dies While Taking Selfie At Zoo A Day After Final Exam
Apr, 2016India1FallIndiaYouth falls off Kodaikanal cliff while taking selfie
Apr, 2016India2TrainIndia2 killed while taking selfie on railway tracks
Apr, 2016India1TrainIndia16-year-old boy dies while taking selfie at railway crossing in UP’s Saharanpur
Mar, 2016Australia1FirearmAustraliaFatal selfie: Melbourne man dies taking photo of friend holding shotgun to his head
Mar, 2016Hong Kong1FallHong KongHong Kong Man Falls to His Death For Ultimate Selfie
Mar, 2016United States1FirearmUnited StatesWash. man accidentally kills himself while taking a selfie with his gun, police say
Feb, 2016India3DrownedIndiaKarnataka: Three medical students drown in irrigation canal while taking selfies
Feb, 2016India2DrownedIndiaTeenager Drowns While Clicking Selfie, Friend Dies Trying To Save Him
Feb, 2016India5FallIndia5 tourists fall off cliff while clicking selfie in Goa, 2 severely hurt
Feb, 2016Nepal1DrownedNepalGirl falls in Narayani while clicking selfie
Jan, 2016Brazil1FallBrazilBody of tourist who fell into the sea while taking a ‘selfie’ is found
Jan, 2016India2DrownedIndiaMumbai Man Drowns Trying To Save A Girl Who Fell Off A Cliff Into The Sea While Taking Selfies
Jan, 2016India1FallIndiaJammu and Kashmir: Youth falls to death while taking selfie from Reasi Fort
Jan, 2016India1TrainIndiaIndia teenager dies after ‘freak’ train selfie
Jan, 2016Philippines1FallPhilippines19-year-old student falls to death after taking selfies on Ermita roofdeck
Dec, 2015Pakistan1TrainPakistanYoung Pakistani man dies while attempting selfie with moving train
Dec, 2015Turkey2Car accidentTurkey2 teens killed by a lorry after trying to take daring Selfie
Nov, 2015India2DrownedIndia2 engg students drown trying to click selfies in Surendranagar
Nov, 2015India2TrainIndiaOne killed in accident while taking selfies on rail track
Nov, 2015India1TrainIndiaMumbai teen electrocuted to death while taking selfie atop train
Oct, 2015Chile1GeyserBelgiumSelfie-taking tourist dies in hospital after falling into boiling geyser
Oct, 2015Spain1TrainSpainA 14-year-old from Barcelona was hospitalised with electric shock after trying to take a selfie on the roof of a train car.
Sep, 2015Norway1FallAustraliaTourist falls to death at Trolltunga photo shoot
Sep, 2015India1FallIndiaSelfie costs engineering student’s life in Tamil Nadu
Sep, 2015India1FallJapanJapan tourist at Taj Mahal ‘dies after fall’
Sep, 2015Russia1FallRussiaSelfie dangers: Teen falls 9 floors to his death as he poses on rooftop in Russia
Sep, 2015Ukraine1ElectrocutionUkraineIn Kyiv region, 18-year-old boy received a fatal electric shock, trying to make the selfie upon a tank wagon. The tragedy occurred on September 13 at the territory of Pereyaslavska railway station. [link down]
Sep, 2015United States1FirearmUnited StatesA Teenager Has Accidentally Shot Himself Dead While Taking a Selfie
Aug, 2015China1FallChinaChinese man dies in 30m cliff fall after taking selfies beside a mountain waterfall
Aug, 2015Russia1TrainRussiaA minor under the age of 14 is electrocuted while taking a selfie on the roof of a train
Aug, 2015Spain1Animal – BullSpainMan taking a selfie is gored to death by bull in front of horrified crowd
Jul, 2015Philippines1MotorcyclePhilippinesOFW dies while taking selfie
Jul, 2015Russia1FallRussia21-Year Old Lady Falls To Her Death From Bridge Trying To Take A Selfie
Jul, 2015United Kingdom1LightningUnited KingdomMan struck and killed by lightning in Brecon Beacons ‘was carrying a selfie stick’
Jul, 2015United States1Animal – BisonUnited StatesBison selfies are a bad idea: Tourist gored in Yellowstone as another photo goes awry
Jul, 2015United States1Animal – SnakeUnited StatesRattlesnake selfie: Man nearly killed posing with snake for picture landed with £100k medical bill
Jun, 2015Pakistan1FirearmPakistanPakistan Police Shoots 15-Year-Old Boy Taking Selfie with Toy Gun
Jun, 2015Russia2TrainRussiaTwo teenage girls fighting for life after electric shock while trying to snap selfies on top of train
Jun, 2015Croatia1FallSlovakiaStop taking ‘stupid and dangerous selfies’ Croatia says after Canadian falls off cliff
May, 2015Indonesia1FallIndonesiaLaughing In The Face Of Danger For That Instagram Selfie
May, 2015Romania11TrainRomaniaRomanian teenager dies attempting to take ‘ultimate selfie’
May, 2015Russia1FirearmRussiaWoman shoots herself in head while taking selfie
May, 2015Russia1TrainRussiaI could die, but first, let me take a selfie!
May, 2015Indonesia1FallSingaporeSingaporean dies when taking selfie in Bali
Apr, 2015Italy1FallGermanyGerman tourist dies in Italy selfie fall
Apr, 2015Serbia1TrainSerbiaFilm fan killed while taking selfie in front of train was ‘trying to recreate favourite movie scene’
Mar, 2015India7DrownedIndiaSeven youths drown in lake
Feb, 2015India1TrainIsraelIsraeli plunges to death from India train while taking selfie
Feb, 2015United States1TrainUnited StatesMan struck and killed by train while posing for selfie
Jan, 2015India3TrainIndiaSelfie in front of running train costs three college-goers their life
Jan, 2015Russia2Hand grenadeRussiaRussia launches ‘safe selfie’ guide in light of deaths
Jan, 2015South Africa1FallSouth AfricaJoburg woman in deadly fall was on first date
Nov, 2014Spain1FallPoland23-Year-Old Falls To Her Death Attempting To Take Selfie At Tourist Attraction
Oct, 2014Philippines1DrownedPhilippines18-Year-Old Dies Attempting Beach Birthday Selfie
Aug, 2014India1TrainIndiaSelfie attempt atop stationary train claims Kerala teen’s life
Aug, 2014Mexico1FirearmMexicoDrunk Mexican man accidentally shoots himself in head while posing for selfie
Aug, 2014Philippines1FirearmPhilippines15-year-old boy accidentally shoots self while taking selfie
Aug, 2014Portugal2FallPolandCouple plunged to their death from cliff in front of their young children as ‘they tried to take a selfie’
Aug, 2014United States1Car accidentUnited StatesMan sentenced to 6 months in jail for killing cyclist in 2014 accident
Jul, 2014Belgium1TrainBelgiumCharlotte died at 12 while taking a selfie on the train tracks: her mother Carla tells, so that it does not happen again
Jul, 2014Philippines1FallPhilippinesDeath in school: Girl falls from stairs while taking selfie
Jun, 2014Italy1FallItalyItalian girl plunges 60ft to her death as she attempted to take a selfie while on jagged rocks in the seaside town of Taranto
May, 2014India1TrainIndiaSelfie boy, 15, killed by train in Kerala
May, 2014United States2PlaneUnited StatesSelfies Likely Caused Colorado Plane Crash, NTSB Says
Apr, 2014Russia1TrainRussiaTeen plunges 30ft to her death after trying to take SELFIE on top of railway bridge
Apr, 2014United States1Car accidentUnited StatesSelfie crash death: Woman dies in head-on collision seconds after uploading pictures of herself and ‘HAPPY’ status to Facebook
Mar, 2014Russia1TrainRussia15-year-old girl dies while taking selfie
Mar, 2014Spain1TrainSpainMan dies while taking selfie on top of train

Selfie Deaths and Injuries by the Numbers

It’s one thing to know that selfie deaths and injuries are happening “somewhere” in the world, but many treat it as a modern boogieman story. “Don’t get too close to the ledge, or you could fall off!” Stories of selfie deaths are sensationalized in the media and framed as rare occurrences. But are they? How often are selfie deaths really happening, where do they occur, and how can we avoid these incidents?

Total Selfie Deaths & Injuries by Country

As stated in the intro, there have been a documented:

  • 285 selfie incidents (deaths, injuries, or both) which range from one injury or fatality all the way up to 48 injuries from one incident.
  • From these incidents, there were 399 deaths by selfie or selfie-related causes.
  • 76 injuries were also recorded as being specifically selfie-related.
  • 49 countries have had documented selfie-related deaths.

India is the country with the most selfie-related deaths and injuries, with a total of 190 deaths (47% of all total deaths) and 55 injuries. Next is the United States, with 29 deaths, and Russia, with 18 deaths.

CountryDeathsInjuries
India19055
USA295
Russia181
Pakistan160
Brazil84
Spain82
Australia80
Italy60
Philippines50
Kenya120
Turkey60
United Kingdom41
Indonesia120
Sri Lanka51
Greece40
Thailand41
Zimbabwe40
Croatia32
Mexico40
Colombia30
Nepal30
Portugal40
China30
Germany30
Vietnam30
Belgium20
Chile20
Hong Kong20
Hungary20
Norway20
Peru20
Ukraine20
Canada30
Nigeria22
Oman20
Bangledesh10
France10
Ireland10
Lithuania10
Malaysia10
New Zealand10
Panama10
Romania11
Serbia10
Slovenia10
Malta10
South Africa10
Uganda10
Montenegro01

Of course, total death and injury rates are only part of the story. Total incidents are a way to give us insights into where these issues are occurring, how, and when. Many incidents occurred as standalone occurrences with only one victim, but many involved multiple victims, particularly friends or family members who attempted to aid the person who was injured.

Selfie-related incidents fall into the following primary categories:

Type of IncidentFatalities
Number of Incidents
Drowning14658
Falls130124
Train6045
Other2118
Firearm1313
Elephants1111
Animal (Other)98
Car Accidents76

Falls account for 44% of selfie-related incidents, followed by drowning at 21% and trains at 16%. However, drowning is the #1 cause of fatalities since often times multiple people die while trying save others.

“Other” includes people attempting to take selfies with lightning, near helicopters, on the wing of a plane, holding a grenade, riding a bicycle, and more. The vast majority of incidents involved attempting to take a picture at a height or by a cliff and falling or trying to take a photo in or near the water and drowning.

When did these incidents happen?

Year of IncidentsNumber of Incidents
2023 (through July)14
202230
202133
20208
201919
201824
201741
201663
201537
201416

Selfie-related death and injury news reports appear to have peaked in 2016 and have decreased somewhat since then. In fact, over 23% of all selfie deaths occurred in just 2016 alone. The fact that these incidents appear to be decreasing is great news. However, it makes you wonder if the incidents have actually stopped happening as frequently, or if the reporting has. It’s possible that it’s no longer sensationalized and has become normal to the point of no longer requiring national or international news, or we’ve possibly just accepted this as a regular part of life and death on the internet.

Other possible explanations for this decrease in selfie deaths include:

  • More safety regulations at landmarks and tourist areas
  • A cultural shift away from the glorification of high-risk social media behavior
  • Increased education about phone safety
  • Social media backlash against unsafe behaviors, particularly against influencers and those who profit from risky behavior

Another possibility is that social media sites, like Instagram and TikTok, have increased their community monitoring and now censor risky material more than they did previously, potentially due to backlash or liability.

Where Are Selfie Deaths Occurring?

Selfie-related deaths and accidents are a global problem, but they do seem to be happening in certain places more than others. We wouldn’t presume to definitively know the reason behind this, but certain factors likely include:

  • Lax safety regulations
  • Cultures where extreme behavior is encouraged
  • High tourism destinations
  • Disregard for the destructive power of nature
  • Larger populations (which inevitably means more incidents and accidents)
CountrySelfie-Related Incidents
India111
USA27
Russia14
Brazil9
Pakistan9
Spain9
Australia8
Italy6
Kenya5
Philippines5
Turkey5
United Kingdom5
Greece4
Indonesia4
Sri Lanka4
Thailand4
Zimbabwe4
Colombia3
Croatia3
Mexico3
Nepal3
Belgium2
Chile2
Germany2
Hong Kong2
Hungary2
Norway2
Peru2
Portugal2
Romania2
Ukraine2
Vietnam2
Bangledesh1
Canada1
France1
Ireland1
Lithuania1
Malaysia1
New Zealand1
Nigeria1
Oman1
Serbia1
Slovenia1
South Africa1
Uganda1

“Where” is only part of the equation, however, when you factor in tourists and the prevalence of selfie incidents while traveling. In fact, 17.83%, or 51 of the 286 incidents, included people who were traveling or visiting another country. The idea of tourists behaving in risky or dangerous ways is not necessarily a new phenomenon, but it is of note when discussing selfie incidents.

The Normalization of Selfie Culture and Its Impact On Youth and High-Risk Behavior

When social capital is tied to observable metrics (i.e. “likes” and “comments”) and is no longer limited to your immediate friends and family, it can feel like the goalpost for social approval keeps getting more extreme and more global. Young teens and adults aren’t just comparing themselves to their friends and classmates. They are now being compared to unrealistic beauty standards, increasingly high-risk behavior, and a worldwide community of peers. There’s even an academic term for the phenomenon: PIGU (Problematic Instagram Use).

Social media companies are likely well aware of the impact that their platforms have on young people. Many people feel like the platforms are willfully or negligently ignoring the impacts on youth. In fact, they have actively downplayed the devastating psychological effects of their platforms on young people for the sake of profit, according to the Wall Street Journal.

It’s clear to see how things like dangerous health fads, risky social media trends, and toxic body image can be to young people. But what about more innocent-seeming trends, like travel bloggers and nature enthusiasts? Are these forms of social media “safer” when they tacitly cosign dangerous behavior? To what extent does influencer culture promote and encourage risky behavior in the pursuit of attention and social media clout?

We asked these questions and more in our original research study, “Death by Instagram Fueled Selfies: A Survey of 1,233 Instagram Users (2023)” on risky social media behaviors, and found that at least 1 in 10 Instagrammers would willingly put themselves at risk for more followers. This percentage only increased when users were more active and engaged on social media.

Safety & Selfies: How to Take the Perfect Picture (and Stay Alive to Post It)

  • Always follow posted guidelines. Often, threats aren’t immediately apparent to thrill-seekers and tourists. Trust the posted instructions, rules, and “Selfie Free Zones.”
  • Check before you pull out your camera. Wildlife, inclement weather, or other threats may not always be obvious. Do a quick double-check for safety threats before getting distracted by your phone. Phones are more distracting than most people realize.
  • Travel with a friend. Solo selfies can often put people in danger, but having a trusted person with you can help keep you safe (and safely snapping). Additionally, traveling with a friend means you can look out for each other or get assistance in the event of an emergency.
  • Don’t assume something is sturdy. Many of the accidents in the selfie death database occurred when someone thought a partition, ledge, or landing was safe, but it eroded or otherwise collapsed under the weight of a person it wasn’t designed to hold. Maintain three points of contact for optimum safety.
  • Have an emergency plan in place if the worst occurs. Many scenic overlooks and tourist destinations are off-the-grid. If something happens, how will you and your party get to safety?
  • Never, ever use a phone or electronic device while driving, walking around, or operating any kind of vehicle. That goes for anything train-related as well. No photo you’d take with or around a train is worth dying for.
  • Just because an animal seems friendly or docile, don’t chance it. Many wild animals can act unpredictably and without warning.
  • Taking selfies isn’t the only risk; posting can be risky, too. Consider safety when posting, particularly child safety. Key information like schools, routines, identifying info, and locations can be easily gleaned from posting pictures online.

Conclusion

In the short lifespan of social media apps, what’s considered “Instagrammable” has shifted dramatically from brunch with friends and beautiful sunsets to dangerous vacations in exotic places. While Instagram is often considered the originator of potentially risky behavior for social media, apps like Snapchat, Reddit, and TikTok also regularly feature dangerous stunts and trends that are keeping young people interested (but not necessarily safe).

We don’t know how far apps like TikTok and Instagram will push the boundaries of human behavior and relationships. But we do know that social media apps were designed to hold our focus and keep us seeking the validation of “likes” and attention. And they were designed very, very well.

Sources