A man has plunged to his death while getting his photo taken near a sheer gorge in New Zealand’s South Island, becoming the latest person to die by accident while posing for a photo.
New Zealand Police said the man fell at Rakaia Gorge, Windwhistle.
“He’s wanted to get a photo with the gorge in the background, he’s got too close to the cliff edge and he appears to have slipped and fallen approximately 40 metres colliding with a tree,” a police spokesman told the Christchurch Press newspaper.
“He was unresponsive and appears to have died at the scene.”
The accident appeared to have happened when the man stepped off a grass embankment so friends could take a photo from a different angle, police said.
It later emerged that the man had an intellectual disability and was under the care of community mental health service workers at the time.
More generally, the risk of plunging inadvertently over cliffs while posing for photos, or while taking them, has existed since the invention of the camera. The popularity of “selfies” has increased the hazard and cases are now reported regularly around the world. Tourists are susceptible because they take more pictures in unfamiliar terrain.
Last September, a Melbourne woman died in Norway after falling from a popular tourist attraction in the mountains while posing for a photo. She fell several hundred metres from the Trolltunga rock formation in southwest Norway.
In May, a Singaporean man plunged to his death from a cliff while trying to take a selfie on an island off the coast of Bali. He toppled backwards into the sea while taking a selfie during a holiday with eight friends in Nusa Lembongan.
Other similar incidents have been reported around the world. See: When scenic photos turn lethal: new Australian victim
Written by Peter Needham