What to know to avoid chaos while capturing your summer vacation selfie

For some, selfies have proven to be deadly when trying to get the perfect shot.

July 16, 2022, 11:05 AM

When traveling to Instagram-worthy sights across the world, there might be one essential warning you’re missing: watch where you selfie.

While snapping a photo of yourself in a tourist location may seem like a given, it has risks ranging from drawing unwanted attention to yourself in a crowd to falling -- literally-- to a premature death.

Here are some selfie slip-ups that you definitely want to avoid this summer.

Volcanoes are only cool from the outside

On July 9, an American man visiting the crater at Mount Vesuvius had a close call after his selfie led him to slip into the active volcano.

The 23-year-old man, who dropped his phone and tried to retrieve it after the selfie, fell several meters into the ash of the crater before being saved by nearby park officials.

PHOTO: The Vesuvius volcano is located in the Vesuvius National Park in Naples, Italy, March 2, 2019.
The Vesuvius volcano is located in the Vesuvius National Park in Naples, Italy, March 2, 2019.
REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images, FILE

He was on the side of the crater that had no barriers as he trespassed to an unauthorized path on the volcano.

While he only sustained minor injuries, scratches to his arms, legs and back, he could have fallen 300 meters into the volcano if not so quickly saved, Italian officials said.

An Italian official told ABC News he believes the man went on the unmarked path because tickets for visiting Vesuvius, which are limited to 2,700 a day, were all booked.

So, for future reference, book your trip itinerary early, so you can take selfies without the threat of an active volcano’s insides swallowing you up.

PHOTO: The volcano Mount Vesuvius is shown in Campania, Italy.
The volcano Mount Vesuvius is shown in Campania, Italy.
STOCK IMAGE/Getty Images

Step away from the edge

While there may be some incidents that leave small marks that can be laughed off in the name of adventure, some selfie accidents are irreversible.

A 25-year-old man died in October 2020 after falling 250 feet from a cliff’s edge as he was taking pictures of scenic overlooks, the National Park Service said.

The man had fallen from a cliff at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area around 9p.m. and was tragically pronounced dead later that night.

Some selfies mishaps may be funny, but this fate definitely is not.

Some animals are camera-shy

A woman was attacked by a jaguar at a Phoenix zoo after attempting to take a selfie with the animal.

The jaguar reached out to swiped at her, leaving the woman with serious arm injuries from the 2019 incident.

According to Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium and Safari Park, the woman crossed a barrier in an attempt to get the photo.

While the jaguar was reported to have swiped at another zoo guest earlier that same month, zoo officials said that they would not be euthanizing the jaguar, and the barriers in the animals enclosements are there for a reason.

PHOTO: A black jaguar is shown in a zoo.
STOCK IMAGE/Getty Images

A few years earlier, a 16-year-old girl also sustained serious injuries after trying to pose for a photo next to a bison in Yosemite National Park.

The Taiwanese exchange student and her host family were hiking near Old Faithful Geyser in 2015 when they came across a bison grazing, according to a news release from the National Park Service.

The group was between 3 and 6 feet away from the animal at the time.

However, when the 16-year-old turned her back to take a photo, the bison approached and “gored her”, the National Park Service said.

Fortunately, neither of these attacks turned deadly, but officials warn others to keep their distance from such animals.

Everything can change in an instant

An 18-year-old hiker died after falling off a cliff at Yosemite National Park in 2018, according to the National Park Service.

The hiker was taking a selfie before he slipped and fell at the edge of Nevada Fall, his mother told The Times of Israel.

The fall was an estimated 820 feet, the Fresno Bee reported.

Park visitors are warned to be prepared for rugged conditions and inherent danger from the terrain and wildlife, ABC Los Angeles station KABC reported after the incident.

PHOTO: Taft Point, a popular vista point, is shown in Yosemite National Park, Calif.
Taft Point, a popular vista point, is shown in Yosemite National Park, Calif.
STOCK IMAGE/Getty Images.

America’s national parks offer incredible scenery, but visitors shouldn’t get too distracted as they are dealing with structures in the wild.

Nature’s conditions are always changing

A man fell into the rushing waters of the flooded Potomac River in Maryland as he was trying to take a selfie, a local official said.

The 2018 incident left the man with serious injuries to his leg and he was hospitalized in serious, but non-life-threatening condition, officials said.

It appeared the man accidentally got too close to the rapidly moving river at night and slipped, Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service spokesman Pete Piringer told ABC News in 2018.

At the time of the incident, the Potomac had been at especially high water levels and extremely dangerous, according to officials.

"Swimming is prohibited in this area of the Potomac River," Piringer said in a 2018 interview. "So we're constantly warning people to stay away from the water -- it's dangerous."

Of course, we are all going to keep taking photos

Despite there being real danger to getting distracted by photos at certain tourist destinations, these incidents are still rare.

Nonetheless, as visitors go on their next adventure, officials continue to remind guests to take precaution to what’s around them, whether that be cliffs, water, animals or volcano ash.

ABC News' Emily Shapiro, Jon Haworth, Julia Jacobo and Mark Osborne contributed to this report.

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