Selfie Risk-Takers Force Closure Of Open-Air Train Carriage
A New Zealand train company has been forced to close its open-air carriage after noticing an increase in passengers endangering their lives to snap selfies.
The iconic KiwiRail Coastal Pacific tourist train travels through some incredibly picturesque scenery on its 350km journey from Picton to Christchurch.
The company has been forced to take action after noticing people risking life and limb to capture the view on camera -- despite the number of signs and announcements pointing out the dangers of doing so.
"We have seen passengers leaning out with selfie sticks, iPads and their bodies, often unaware of an approaching tunnel which could cause a tragic incident for themselves, and others in the carriage," KiwiRail group general manager of zero harm Katie McMahon told Stuff.
KiwiRail said they would review the design of the outdoor viewing carriage -- which is largely open to the elements -- and are considering introducing glass windows, rails or some sort of barrier.
They hope to have a solution in place shortly but in the meantime, the carriage will remain closed.
"We simply have to stop adults and children leaning from the carriages or we would not be discharging our duty as a safe transport operator," McMahon said.
In March, an Instagram couple who hung out of a moving train in order to snap a selfie was slammed online for their "stupid" behaviour.
The travel blogging pair from Portugal were aboard the train travelling from Kandy to Ella in Sri Lanka when they undertook the dangerous manoeuvre.
In 2017, a 12-year-old boy and his 24-year-old brother also died which brought the year's death toll to 28 according to a Sri Lanka railway spokesman. The majority of fatalities were mobile phone-related, prompting a selfie crackdown.
Dying for the perfect selfie
A landmark study published in the Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care found 259 deaths were caused by taking a selfie under risky circumstances between 2001 and 2017.
Seventy of those deaths were from drowning, for example when taking a selfie on shore while not knowing how to swim or ignoring warnings.
Over 50 deaths were caused by contact with transportation where the biggest issue was people taking photos in front of running trains.
Forty-eight were from falling where people simply tumbled from precarious photo spots to their deaths.
The researchers attributed the "exponential increase in the number of selfie deaths" to an increased usage of mobile phones, enhanced selfie features on mobile phones, increased availability of selfie sticks.
Competitions that ask entrants to submit a creative or interesting photo also fuels people's desire to take risks to get a unique snap.
Younger people made up most of the fatalities with young males accounting for nearly three-quarters of selfie deaths.
About half of the documented fatalities -- 159 to be exact -- occurred in India. Russia followed with 16 and America with 14 deaths -- the US was also home to the most selfie-related deaths with firearms.
The only Australian fatality included in the report took place in 2014 when 23-year-old university student Fabien Ardoin fell to his death at popular Sydney photo spot Wedding Cake Rock.
Media reports at the time stated he was hanging from the edge when the soft rock crumbled under his hands. Two years later NSW police erected a fence to deter selfie risk-takers and introduced fines of up to $3,300 for those who dared to jump the barrier.
Feature image: Instagram/@kiwirailnz.