The body of an Arizona hiker has been recovered after the young man slipped and fell off the side of a mountain while attempting to take a selfie photo.
Richard Jacobson, 21, was on a camping trip in the Superstition Mountains, east of Phoenix, when he went to take a photo of himself atop the Flatiron Summit, reports CBS News.
He was trying to snap the photo shortly after midnight on Monday when he slipped and plunged 700 feet to the ground below.
“Mr. Jacobson went to go take a photograph with himself and the city skyline in the background, and he lost his footing, and he slipped,” Sgt. Doug Peoble with Pinal County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue told reporters.
An Arizona Department of Public Safety helicopter helped recover Jacobson’s body later that day.
Jacobson’s friend, Andrew Thomas, told KPHO-TV that they had spent time together on a missionary trip in 2020, and described him as a kind person with a good sense of humour.
“I spent all my waking hours with Richard, so I got to know him pretty well … he was an outdoorsman, hunter, hiker. He did stuff like that, so I guess he did die doing what he loved to do, just in a tragic way,” Thomas told the television station.
“He really was one of those guys that everyone loved, and it’s sad to lose him, but we know that it’s not the end,” said Thomas. “We’re going to see him again.”
According to a 2018 study by the Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care, 259 people died worldwide while trying to take a selfie between October 2011 to November 2017.
“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” reads part of the study. “Many cases are not reported.”
The average age of those who died was 23 years old, but the study found that death-by-selfie risk drops significantly after the age of 30.
The study found that people were most likely to die of drowning, being struck by a vehicle, or falling while trying to get the perfect shot.
“The most common drowning incidents include washed away by waves on a beach, capsizing of boats while rowing, clicking selfies on shore while not knowing how to swim, or ignoring warnings,” researcher Adam Bansal said in the study.
Bansal said that out of all the vehicle deaths, people are most likely to be hit by a moving train but “among all the reasons for death, drowning and fire have the highest deaths/incident ratio.”
The study suggests that tourist destinations should declare “no-selfie zones” in “places such as water bodies, mountain peaks and over tall buildings to decrease the incidence of selfie-related deaths.”
– With files from Adam Frisk
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