India’s largest city of Mumbai may introduce “no selfie zones” at popular but dangerous locations for taking self-photographs after a tragic accident claimed two lives, The Telegraph reports. The deaths of a teenage woman, who fell into the sea while taking a photograph of herself, and a passer-by who drowned trying to save her have focussed attention on the growing trend of life-endangering selfies.
Police have identified 16 potentially lethal selfie spots across the country’s financial hub, including major tourist attractions such as a busy beach and the famous Marine Drive promenade. Dhananjay Kulkarni, the deputy commissioner, said that the police’s first move would be to ask the local authorities to put up warning signs at the locations and deploy lifeguards where appropriate.
Patrolling officers have already been instructed to warn people not to take selfies there. But if those precautions do not deter selfie enthusiasts from their reckless endeavors, then they might introduce official “no selfie zones”.
State authorities in Maharashtra, of which Mumbai is the capital, last year put up signs declaring such zones at a major Hindu festival. They acted out of fear that too many people congregating in certain areas could have ended in crushes and stampedes.
In the latest tragedy, three female teenagers fell off rocks into the Arabian Sea near the famous Bandra bandstand while taking selfies. A taxi driver who was passing by jumped into the water and saved two of them. But he was then swept away by the rough seas and the body of the 18-year-old is still missing.
There were more selfie deaths in the first nine months of last year than killings of humans by sharks – 12 compared to eight. India was the scene of one of the highest-profile such fatalities when a 60-year-old Japanese tourist collapsed and died from a heart attack after climbing stairs at the fabled Taj Mahal to take a photograph.
A Pakistani man died in Rawalpindi last month after being hit by a fast-moving train as he tried to take a selfie with it approaching as he stood on the track. And US investigators in February said a pilot’s repeated snapping of selfie photos caused a small plane to crash, killing both people on board. Yellowstone National Park has also plagued by the problem, issuing a warning about taking selfies with bison after five people were gored.
In May last year a Russian woman survived accidentally shooting herself in the head with a pistol while posing for a selfie with the weapon. Several children have been electrocuted while taking selfies on top of railway carriages in Russia, prompting the authorities to launch a “safe selfie” campaign.
And also last year, a man was gored to death while taking a selfie at the annual bull running festival in the Spanish town of Villaseca de la Sagra.