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Deadly selfie craze: S Korean dies in Peru only hours after death of German at Machu Picchu

Top of the Huayna Picchu

Two tourists have died in separate incidents while attempting to take “selfies” in two beauty spots in Peru. So many people have died in similar circumstances in recent years that some statisticians calculate more people died as a result of the selfie craze than from being attacked by sharks.

On Tuesday (4 July) Peruvian police recovered the body of 28-year-old South Korean Kim Jongyeob from a lake in the northeast of the country. He had been trying to take a selfie at the top of the Gocta waterfall on Wednesday (29 June) when he slipped and fell 1600 feet (487m) to his death.

A local official was quoted by The Telegraph as saying: “The tourist was found dead, submerged seven meters deep in the lake into which the Gocta waterfall runs. He wanted to take a self-portrait at the waterfall but while he was looking for a good place to take it, he fell.” Jongyeob’s uncle is taking his body to Lima for cremation before transporting the remains back to South Korea, said the country’s consul Chang Dongyool.

Jongyeob’s death happened the same day a 51-year-old German tourist fell to his death at Peru’s world famous Machu Picchu. Oliver Park was trying to get a photograph that would make it seem he was flying when he fell 100m down a cliff. His body was recovered from a ravine next day.

Dozens of people are thought to have died while taking selfies in the last couple of years, many of them falling from height or being hit by vehicles. Russia and India have both had high numbers of selfie deaths. Some tourist areas now forbid the taking of selfies in the interests of safety both to the person taking the picture and those around them.

In 2015 it was reported that more people died taking selfies (12) than were killed by sharks (8). Others have died being killed by bulls, shooting themselves by accident, and in one case by crashing a plane – with the pilot also killing a passenger in the process.




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Sydney Chesterfield

Poet, Playwright, Philosopher, Humanitarian, mad lover of children and unflinching fighter for equality on all grounds viz. Women's rights, child rights, sine die.

Twitter: @syd_field