Death by selfie: Experts want ‘no-selfie zones’ at tourist hot spots to prevent deaths

A man takes a selfie with a smartphone at Zion National Park in Utah. Manuel Sulzer/Getty Images

Experts are calling for the implementation for “no-selfie zones” at popular tourist destinations with the hope of curbing fatal accidents as over 260 people have been killed since 2011 attempting self-portraits.

According to a study published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, there were 259 selfie deaths between October 2011 and November 2017.

The study, led by researcher Agam Bansal, found that 72 per cent of the 259 reported deaths were men, while 27 per cent were women, with an average age of 23.

READ MORE: Woman dies while attempting selfie at Michigan’s Pictured Rocks

The study found “drowning, transport, and falls from heights” were the top causes of selfie-related deaths.

“The most common drowning incidents include washed away by waves on beach, capsizing of boats while rowing, clicking selfies on shore while not knowing how to swim, or ignoring warnings,” Bansal said in the study. “Similarly, for transport, it is majorly the accidents due to clicking in front of a running train. Among all the reasons for death, drowning and fire have the highest deaths/incident ratio.”

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The study also notes there were 11 deaths that involved a firearm, most of which occurred in the U.S.

In 2015, Google estimated that 24 billion selfies were uploaded to the tech company’s photo cloud, while about one million selfies are clicked on per day by people between 18 and 24 years old, the study noted.

The study suggests that tourist destinations should declare “no-selfie zones” in “places such as water bodies, mountain peaks, and over tall buildings to decrease the incidence of selfie-related deaths.”

READ MORE: Teen plummets to his death after trying to take selfie in Yosemite National Park

So far in 2018, there have been several deaths reported at the hands of selfie-seeking adventures.

Last month, a woman on a solo hiking trip plunged to her death after attempting to take a selfie at Michigan’s Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, slipping from the cliff’s edge. The 32-year-old California woman died when she fell about 60 metres from the cliff and into Lake Superior.

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The incident at Pictured Rocks comes the same month another tourist died while attempting to take a selfie atop a waterfall in California’s Yosemite National Park. The young hiker was visiting from Jerusalem on a two-month trip to the U.S. when he plunged off the park’s popular Nevada Fall.

The hiker slipped while attempting to take a selfie and fell some 250 metres to his death.

In B.C., three popular Instagrammers and vloggers died in July after plummeting from Shannon Falls, a popular tourist destination south of Squamish. Ryker Gamble, Alexey Lyakh and Megan Scraper fell some 30 metres into a pool, about halfway down the 335-metre falls.

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