Taking a selfie can be fatal, warn Indian police

Snapping a selfie might seem like a harmless bit of fun, but some people will take extreme risks to get a unique shot.

Authorities in India’s capital New Delhi have spoken out after a newly-opened bridge attracted thousands of visitors, some of whom put themselves in danger to get a selfie.

The $200-million Signature Bridge, which spans the Yamuna River, was inaugurated on November 4, around eight years after construction began.

Images posted to social media show people climbing the suspension cables and leaning out of moving cars to get the perfect picture, prompting local officials to warn people not to risk their lives.

“We have seen people getting too close to the edge or climbing over the rails so we try and dissuade them from doing this and inform them that it can endanger their lives,” Atul Kumar Thakur, deputy commissioner of police, Delhi Police (North East district) told CNN.

“We have contingents patrolling and monitoring the area to make sure people are not putting themselves in danger.”

More people die taking selfies in India than any other country in the world, according to a study carried out by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, a group of public medical colleges in New Delhi.

The study, published in the Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care in July 2018, reveals that at least 259 people around the world died taking selfies from October 2011 to November 2017.

There have been 159 reported selfie deaths in India since 2011, accounting for more than half of the total, and scientists say that most of the victims were men under the age of 30.

“No selfie zones”

The study authors recommend the introduction of “no selfie zones” in popular tourist areas, especially those deemed most dangerous such as bodies of water, mountain peaks and the tops of tall buildings.

India is home to more than a dozen such zones as authorities attempt to prevent further deaths.

Local officials are keen to attract tourists to the Signature Bridge, and there are plans for a viewing deck on the top of a 500-foot pylon which offers a bird’s-eye view of New Delhi.

“Like Taj Mahal, an iconic landmark of India, visited by thousands of travelers from India and abroad, Signature Bridge is going to become one of the must-see tourist attractions of Delhi,” said Delhi territory Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

Before the viewing deck opens, Atul Kumar Thakur, deputy commissioner of police, told CNN that there are plans to put up signs along the bridge to encourage people to behave safely.