259 selfie deaths reported; largest number in India, says study

259 selfie deaths reported; largest number in India, says study

collage india train
A video shows a man getting hit by a train while trying to take a selfie. (Screengrab: Aditya Raj Verma/YouTube)

SINGAPORE: Between October 2011 and November 2017, 259 people around the world died while taking selfies, according to a study published in the July-August edition of the Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care.

The study's researchers - from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences and Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur - analysed instances of selfie-related deaths gathered from English-language news articles.

"Selfie-related death was defined as any accidental death that occurs while doing self-photography or clicking selfies," according to the study.

Such deaths appear to be on the rise in recent years. The researchers found three selfie-related deaths reported in 2011, two in 2013, 13 in 2014, 50 in 2015, 98 in 2016 and 93 in 2017.

Researchers found that drowning, transport and falling from heights were the most common causes of selfie-related deaths.

The largest number of such deaths was reported in India, followed by Russia, the United States and Pakistan.

In addition, the vast majority of the victims - about 72.5 per cent - were male, while 27.5 per cent were female.

This could be down to men being more likely to engage in risky behaviour when taking selfies, according to the study.

"A project called selfiecity has established that women take more selfies as compared to men," they said. "But because men are more likely to take (a) risk to click selfie(s) as compared to women, it justifies the higher number of deaths and incidents for men."


In view of their findings, the researchers have recommended that "no selfie zones" should be set up across tourist areas.

These would include "places such as water bodies, mountain peaks and over tall buildings to decrease the incidence of selfie-related deaths".

"Individuals need to be educated regarding certain risky behaviours and risky places where selfies should not be taken."

They also warned that many selfie-related deaths were not reported, citing the fact that the study only included English-language news reports, while other instances of selfie-related deaths could have been reported under different categories of accidents.

"Although our study has enlisted the largest number of selfie deaths and incidents till date, this is just the tip of (the) iceberg," said the study.

Selfie-related deaths and accidents have made headlines in recent years.

In June, an Australian couple fell to their death from a wall overlooking a beach in Portugal, apparently losing their balance after taking a selfie.

Last year, two young women were hit and killed by a small aircraft as they were taking selfies by the side of a landing strip in Mexico.

In January this year, a man was hit by a train in Hyderabad, India, while standing next to a train track to take a selfie. He survived.

Source: CNA/nc(hm)