On the morning of Aug. 17 at around 11:20 a.m., a woman slipped off a cliff in the suburbs of Sydney, Australia, and plummeted to her death.
Just a short time later, as helicopters still swarmed overhead, visitors treading in her steps at the scenic Diamond Bay Reserve at Vaucluse flooded social media with photos, according to News 7.
The victim — a 27-year-old from Sydney who has yet to be identified — was sitting on a ledge to be photographed by a friend, a witness to the accident told the Wentworth Courier, a local publication. When she stood up, she lost her balance and fell approximately 131 feet.
Over the past week, post-accident visitors have climbed fences and clambered to get the same dramatic shot, committing two faux pas: overtly ignoring the lessons of her circumstances and angering residents of the historic neighborhood.
Locals were “outraged” that within an hour of the Sydney woman’s fatal fall, thrill-seekers were back on the site, the Courier reported.
Visitors were warned to stay away from the edge and emergency responders and residents issued a “warning.”
Selfie-seeking tourists have flooded the precarious cliffs since at least April, when they became a photographic hotspot — especially for weddings — after being popularized by Instagram influencers.
“We do see a lot of tourists that come past,” resident Laura Dewitt told Nine News. “I believe there’s a tour bus that drops off a bunch of people. And it makes sense, it’s super beautiful down here.”
“It is only a matter of time until there is a fatality,” the Australian Telegraph proclaimed at the time.
Starting in the spring, residents lobbied for measures to deter tourists and to keep them safe. “There hasn’t been any sign of [the tourist photo-taking] slowing down,” another resident told the Telegraph in April. “The only time it does is when it rains.”
After the Aug. 17 death, though, local authorities put up fences and signs blocking access and warning of danger.
“Have they gone overboard?” says a recent Facebook post from local news site OnScene Bondi. “Or is this what our society needs these days to protect ourselves from doing silly things?”
This is the latest in a long and growing list of selfie-caused deaths.
Wikipedia has a whole page dedicated to the tragedies, with documentation beginning as far back as 2011.
Just last month in Bahrain, the selfie craze claimed the lives of a teenage girl and her father. The dad had jumped into a river to save his 17-year-old daughter, who had slipped while trying to capture a perfect shot.
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