Selfie fatalities trend

Brussels 29.10.2021 In the age of the smartphone, avoiding taking selfies in death-defying, if spectacular, locations can now be added to the list of precautions for tourists.

A study by the Spanish iO Foundation, focused on tropical diseases, has revealed that between January 2008 and July 2021 at least 379 people – one out of every fortnight on average – have lost life while taking selfie. It is a growing trend, which after a brief pause due to the pandemic has resurfaced during the first seven months of this year, producing 31 fatal accidents – one per week – despite the raft of travel restrictions still in place worldwide.

“It is a growing problem that, because of the dimensions it has taken on, can now be considered a public health issue. The study has helped us to put it into context and that is the first step toward taking preventive action,” says Manuel Linares Rufo, president of the iO Foundation and lead researcher on the report. Tourists accounted for 141 deaths during the period under investigation, compared with 238 fatalities among local residents.

This shows that the tendency to take risks is much higher among the travellers, taking into account that only a tiny fraction of the world’s population is going on vacation.

The countries where the highest number of reported fatalities are India (100), the United States (39) and Russia (33), which head a list of more than 50 nations. Spain, with 15 deaths, is sixth alongside Australia. The researchers of the report, which will be published shortly in the Journal of Travel Medicine, have also compiled data on the 10 most lethal places on Earth for selfie hunters, although this has not been included in the final text.

These are, without being ordered in terms of the number of fatalities: Niagara Falls (USA/Canada), Glen Canyon (USA), Charco del Burro (Colombia), Penha Beach (Brazil), Mlango Falls (Kenya), the Ural Mountains (Russia), the Taj Mahal and Doodhpathri Valley (India), the island of Nusa Lembongan (Indonesia) and the Langkawi archipelago (Malaysia).

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