Selfies Can Be Deadly: A Polish Couple Takes a Fatal Fall While Posing for a Photo

It’s clear that selfies are here to stay. After it was named the word of the year in 2013, accepted as a Scrabble move, and is the subject of Kim Kardashian’s upcoming page-turner, we can see that the trend has become permanent. But with selfies on the rise, so are the risks that come with the common digital distraction. This past weekend, a selfie went horribly wrong for a Polish couple who fell to their deaths while trying to take a photo.

According to the Washington Post, the doomed couple and their children were on vacation exploring the cliffs of Cabo de Roca in Lisbon, Portugal. The spot is Portugal’s most western point, and therefore at "the edge of Europe," making it a popular tourist attraction and place to take photos.

The couple tragically fell into the Atlantic Ocean in front of their children, ages five and six, who are now in the care of the Polish consul. Their bodies were recovered on Sunday after weather conditions precluded the search on that fateful Saturday. Portuguese authorities are currently investigating the incident and whether the couple went beyond the safety barrier.

Even though this tragedy seems to be a bizarre singular incident, selfies have been causing all types of safety issues. And this isn’t even the first deadly selfie. A 21-year-old Spanish man died this past March after trying to take a selfie on top of a stopped train when a high-voltage wire electrified him to death. A Russian schoolgirl was also electrified to death in April when she slipped off the bridge where she was taking a selfie and grabbed on to a live wire to stop her fall.

The common trend seems to be that people disregard safety precautions in order to get a good photo op. Even though these situations are extreme, when you consider the fact that a third of British drivers between the ages of 18 and 24 take selfies while driving, a practice that takes your eyes off the road for 14 seconds and makes you three times as likely to get in a car crash, the dangerous behavior that selfies evoke should cause concern. So next time you want to whip out your duck face, just make sure that you are doing it safely.