A 22-year-old engineer has drowned in a reservoir while clicking selfies at Palajhar reservoir in the Indian state of Odisha on Sunday. The deceased has been identified as R. Mukundam, a resident from the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. He was working at Salunki mega lift irrigation project in Boudh district.
Reportedly, he had gone to the reservoir to bathe along with his two colleagues. The three were clicking selfies there when Mukundam’s mobile phone accidentally slipped from his hand and fell into the water. To retrieve the phone, Mukundam jumped into the water while his friends were waiting for him.
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Talking to media sources, Boudh Superintendent of Police V Jagannath Rao said: “Mukundam jumped into the river to recover his phone. When he did not return, one of his friends jumped in but was about to be washed away when a fisherman rescued him. Mukundam, however, could not be traced following which Boudh fire services personnel were alerted.”
Fire personnel and an Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) team reached the spot and carried out a search operation. They continued their search till Sunday evening but could not find him and had to stop the search due to darkness. On Monday, when the operation was resumed, the body of the deceased engineer was found one kilometre from the spot.
Police officials added: "Last month, two boys from the same state also died after slipping into the Kapildhar waterfalls at Nrusinghanath in Bargarh district. While they were clicking pictures, they slipped and fell down."
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A 2018-study published in the Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care found that 259 selfie deaths occurred worldwide in 137 incidents from October 2011 to November 2017. Of these, 159 were reported from India. The National Centre for Biotechnology information reports also pointed out how selfies ended up killing five times more people than other accidents. While the simple act of taking a selfie is not dangerous, the problem lies when people take risks by posing in dangerous settings to get that perfect shot.