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38 Photos Taken Moments Before Disaster Struck



As we all know, life is an unpredictable business and you never know what can just happen from one minute to the next.

We’ve captured some of the most extreme moments, when just after the photo was taken, something very serious happened. For the brave only!

Selfie Fall

Xenia Ignatyeva was a keen photographer with a flair for the extreme, and her big passion was capturing pictures of herself with a camera she bought at the end of 2013 after a short summer job before university.

But tragically her life was to be cut short when she unfortunately decided to climb to the top of the rail bridge in Krasnogvardeysky, in Russia’s city of Saint Petersburg, in the belief that it would make a great location for one of her pictures.

In what was to be a tragic loss of young life, Xenia lost her balance and plunged 30 feet to her death in what would ultimately be her final appearance on camera.

Great Fright

Thomas Peschak, who captured this wonderful image, was involved with Michael Scholl, a Shark expert in South Africa who wanted to track great whites, who in the summertime would swim in very shallow waters, close to the beach.

Thomas suggested that the best way to get up and personal with the sharks would be to get yellow kayak’s and get out there and track the sharks this way.

Despite the ‘impending doom’ nature of the image, the Sharks were more inquisitive and hesitant to get close to the 15ft yellow vessel and were not aggressive in any way, with no-one being harmed. But you’d need to be a VERY brave man to even agree to it.

Free Runner Death

Pavel Kashin was a young Russian daredevil free-runner and Parkour practitioner. In 2013, at the tender age of 22, he was performing one of his crazy stunts.

Pavel Kashin was a young Russian daredevil free-runner and Parkour practitioner. In 2013, at the tender age of 22, he was performing one of his crazy stunts. He attempted a back-flip on a narrow ledge on the 18th floor of a building. He successfully landed the back-flip but lost his balance and plunged to his death. Despite this, it has not deterred similar daredevils attempting the same feat.

Chechen Grave

The gruesome sight of Chechen prisoners digging their own grave in 2002 during the prolonged Chechen War.

At gunpoint, the men were forced to dig a mass-grave before being executed and their bodies burned to a crisp. The Chechen conflict claimed the lives of thousands before the initial conflicted ended in August 1996 and re-started some years later.

This chilling image was taken during the height of the 2nd conflict.

Bear Attack

Bear attacks in New Jersey are extremely rare. In fact, the death of 22-year-old Rutgers University student, Darsh Patel, was the first on record.

Patel was out hiking with friends when they came across a 300-pound bear in the distance. The group took photographs before retreating from the bear. Unfortunately for the young man, the bear got hold of him and mauled him to death.

Patel lost a shoe in his attempt to escape, with some speculating he got his foot in a crevasse in panic.

Free Runner

Andrey Retrovsky hanging from the top of a building in Vologda, Russia moment before falling to his death. The 17-year-old was part of the Rooftoppers craze, where daredevils hang one-handed off the edge of tall structures to take selfies.

Andrey Retrovsky hanging from the top of a building in Vologda, Russia moment before falling to his death. The 17-year-old was part of the Rooftoppers craze, where daredevils hang one-handed off the edge of tall structures to take selfies.

Unfortunately for the young man, he lost his grip and plunged 9 stories to his death.

Japan Airlines Flight 123 Disaster

The chilling sight of oxygen masks being deployed on a plane is something we all dread. On August 12th, 1985, Japan Airlines Flight 123 suffered a catastrophic incident while at cruising altitude.

Sudden decompression in the plane meant the release of oxygen masks, while the pilots valiantly tried to bring the plane down safely. 505 people died in the crash landing. Miraculously 4 survived to tell the tale.

Hungry Hippo

Faster than Usain Bolt, with a top speed of 30 mph and weighing over 4000 lbs, the Hippo is a serious creature and not to be messed with. Although they are vegetarians and feed mostly on grass, they have gigantic jaws capable of biting a 10 foot crocodile in two and are responsible for the most deaths in Africa of any animal.

So you certainly wouldn’t blame this Ugandan gamekeeper for doing his very best 100m try-out, when upon casually walking past a grazing Hippo who quickly became disgruntled at him and gave chase.

Thankfully the Hippo decided not to pursue him and the gamekeeper escaped. Close call though!

Concorde Disaster

Despite a stellar near-30-year safety record, the fastest commercial plane of all-time would meet an untimely demise. On July 25th, 2000, on a routine journey from Paris to New York, Air France Flight 4590 ran into immediate trouble.

Debris on the runway punctured on the plane’s tires, flinging projectiles at the fuel tank which ruptured. The plane burst into flames and would crash land minutes later resulting in the loss of 113 lives, including 4 non-passengers. Concorde would cease operations soon after the tragedy.

Transasia Flight 235

15 people miraculously survived TransAsia Airways Flight 235 crash. The flight was a domestic flight that crashed into the Keelung River on February 4, 2015, not long after takeoff from Taipei Airport.

The official cause of the crash was engine flameout coupled with pilot error. It produced a stunning image of the plane banking to the side and the wing clipping an oncoming taxi.

Tina Watson drowning

Tina Watson was a 26-year-old woman from Alabama who drowned scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia in controversial circumstances.

Despite appearing to be a tragic accident, her husband was charged with her murder and later acquitted due to a lack of evidence.

Here is a grim photo of her laying on the ocean floor.

James Dean

James Dean was a cultural icon of the 1950’s known primarily for the movie Rebel Without a Cause.

Dean died while driving his Porsche after colliding with a Ford Tudor at an intersection in Salinas, California. He suffered a broken neck among other injuries and passed away at the tender age of 24.

He became the first person to be posthumously nominated for an Academy Award and was the only person in modern history to be posthumously nominated for 2 awards.

Robin Williams Untimely Death

Robin Williams was a comedic giant of the last few decades. Noted for his turn as Mork on the tv show Mork and Mindy, he carved out a successful career on the big screen appearing in hit movies such as the critically acclaimed Mrs. Doubtfire, Good Morning Vietnam and an Oscar-winning turn as a psychiatrist in Good Will Hunting.

Despite his on-screen personality of quirky, comedic characters, Williams was deeply troubled in his personal space and took his own life at the age of 63.

John Lennon

At the time of his death, John Lennon was one of the most recognizable faces on the planet.

Part of the 4-man super-group The Beatles and with a string of hit solo records, he had spent parts of the 1970’s campaigning against war and destruction.

It was a sad and untimely end for a legend when he was murdered in broad daylight by a deranged ‘fan’ Mark Chapman, December 8th, 1980, who even had the temerity to get Lennon to sign his book mere minutes before ending his life.

It remains one of the highest profile murders of the modern era.

Budd Dwyer Suicide

Robert ‘Budd’ Dwyer was a Republican politician who was the Treasurer of the Pennsylvania State Senate at the time of his shocking death. He had become embroiled in a corruption scandal, allegedly caught receiving bribes.

A day before his trial was due to begin, Dwyer scheduled a news conference. In front of the tv cameras, he pulled out a gun and despite frantic pleas, he shot himself through the mouth.

The suicide was broadcast on television.

Titanic Tragedy

The unsinkable ship with a name to match. The Titanic was a feat of engineering ahead of it’s time. The ship, built in Belfast dockyards, was a behemoth of its time. Everyone knows the story of how its maiden voyage ultimately ended in 1912 – colliding with an iceberg and causing complete panic and chaos aboard as people desperately sought to flee to safety.

The tragedy spawned the epic movie of the same name starring Leonardo diCaprio. Over 2,000 people lost their lives on that fateful April day.

Paul Walker Crash

The star of the Fast & Furious franchise would ultimately meet an untimely death in a car accident.

Though he was not the driver of the Porsche Carrera that careered into a lamp-post in Santa Clarita, California. The car was allegedly travelling at 100 miles per hour in a 45 miles per hour speed zone, when the driver lost control of the vehicle. Walker was pronounced dead at the scene at the age of 40.

Investigations into the crash concluded the driver was speeding and that Walker died of a combination of burns, smoke inhalation and injuries.

Niagara Falls Tragedy

On October 1st, 1995, Robert Overacker would finally attempt a long-planned stunt by parachuting off the Niagara Falls in a bid to raise awareness for Homeless Charities.

Accompanied by his brother Michael Zureich and a close-friend, Christopher Yeomans, he rode a motorized ski off the falls. Tragically his parachute failed to open and he fell to his death, being pronounced dead an hour later in hospital.

It was a sad end for Overacker who was commended for his attempts to raise awareness for homelessness.

Twin Towers before Collapse

9/11 was the pre-eminent tragedy of our generation and perhaps the most audacious and shocking terrorist incident on record.

Hijackers took control of 4 jet-liners from various airports across the US and began to fly them into targets like projectile missiles. Nearly 3000 died when 2 of the planes flew into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, with the shocking drama unfolding live on tv.

Images of desperate people trapped above the impact zones on the 78th floor jumping to their death were broadcast around the world.

 Sabena Flight Disaster

In 1961, the US Figure Skating Team boarded a flight in New York City, bound for Brussels, Belgium. Their ultimate destination was the World Figure Skating Championships in Prague.

On approach to land at Brussels, the plane encountered unknown problems and crashed killing all 72 on board, and a farmer on the ground.

The entire US Figure Skating Team died in the tragedy, leading President John F Kennedy to lead condolences. It had echoes of the Munich Air Disaster, in which many members of Manchester United lost their lives.

 Fallen K-9 Saluted

The loss of life of 7 astronauts in a televised-launch of the Challenger Shuttle was, at the time, was one of the most shocking tragedies ever seen.

The combination of an extremely cold morning and failure of a seal, would see rocket fuel leak out and ignite a huge explosion, almost instantly killing all on board.

President Ronald Reagan would order a near-3-year investigation into the tragedy, which ultimately blamed the weather and failure of the O-Ring for the disaster.

Columbine Massacre Hero

Coach William Sanders, better known as ‘Dave’, was a teacher of Business and computer science at Columbine High School. He got the Coach moniker from overseeing the softball and basketball teams.

When 2 shooters broke into Columbine High School, April 20th, 1999, Sanders took immediate action. He ran to the cafeteria and raised the alarm, thereby successfully evacuation over 100 students.

Unfortunately he would be killed by the gunmen himself but he would go down as an American Hero. Many conclude if it were not for his actions, the well-armed shooters would have killed many more that day.

Princess Diana

Princess Diana was one of the most famous people in the world at the time of her death at the age of 36 in a Paris tunnel in August 1997.

She married Prince Charles, heir to the throne, and had 2 children Princes William and Harry. She was traveling in a speeding vehicle, apparently trying to evade paparazzi, that crashed and led to her death. Her funeral was one of the most-watched moments in television history, with Sir Elton Johns re-recording of Candle in the Wind becoming one of the best-selling-songs of all-time.

Niagara Falls Disaster

In one of the most iconic early photographs ever taken, Joseph Avery was pictured clinging on for dear life on July 17, 1853 holding onto a log in the rapids above Niagara falls.

The boat he was in collided with rocks and swept his 2 colleagues down the falls to their death. Avery miraculously held on to a log for 18 hours before being rescued. Ironically the rescue boat capsized, too, and Avery would ultimately die.

Johnny Cash

The country music legend of Rings of Fire and Walk the Line fame led a rock-and-roll lifestyle for decades.

His music inspired generations of musicians and he was famed for his carefree attitude, especially in the Swingin’ 60’s. He would go on to act and write. Here he is pictured shortly before his death in September, 2003.

Patrick Swayze

Patrick Swayze was one of the stars of the big screen in the 1980’s. Known for his ruggish good-looks, he was the star of movies such as Dirty Dancing and Ghost. He battled a long-illness against pancreatic cancer and is pictured here looking gaunt and frail, shortly before his 2009 death at the age of 57.

Everest Disaster

George Mallory and Sandy Irvine were 2 British explorers and mountaineers who, in 1924, were attempting to become the first men to reach the summit of Mount Everest.

They are pictured here on the ascent. To this day, nobody knows if they ever successfully reached the summit. They would lose their lives in the attempt.


The Ebola Outbreak of West Africa in late 2013 and early 2014 was one of the biggest pandemics in modern times.

Though the exact cause of the outbreak remains unclear, it would end up costing thousands of lives and create widespread panic worldwide, including travel restrictions from large parts of West Africa.

Glider Crash

William D. Becker was the Mayor of St. Louis, Missouri in 1943. Alongside other politicans, they were passengers on a Glider plane when tragedy struck. A bolt came loose from the right wing, causing the entire wing to fall off mid-flight. Onlookers were unsure if this was part of the ‘stunt’, but it most certainly wasn’t.

The plane crashed in front of a horrified crowd at Lambert Field resulting in the deaths of 10 prominent members of the community.

Nightclub Fire

The band ‘Great White’ were playing a set at a nightclub February 20, 2003, in West Warwick, Rhode Island when tragedy struck.

Fireworks used in the show set off a blaze which would ultimately claim the lives of 100 people. Due to the illegal use of fireworks indoors, the Tour Manager of Great White was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2006 for his role in the tragedy.

Biggie Smalls

Christopher Wallace aka The Notorious B.I.G. was one of the most prominent rappers of the 1990’s and rival of Tupac Shakur.

He was married to fellow singer Faith Evans and a close friend of Sean Coombs aka P. Diddy. Hailing from Brooklyn, New York he represented East Coast rap.

On March 9th, 1997 while in LA, California, ‘Biggie’ was in a car when it was swept by bullets in a drive-by-shooting, killing him at the age of 24.

Iron Lady

Margaret Thatcher was one of the most dominant politicians in the world in the 1980’s.. Known as the ‘Iron Lady’ she took hardline stances against the terrorist group, the Provisional IRA, and against trade unions.

She was Prime Minister of the UK for 11 years from 1979 to 1990 and passed away in 2013 at the age of 88.

Her legacy is extremely mixed, she is an icon of Conservative politics yet deeply hated by liberals on the left and despised in parts of Ireland, Wales and Scotland.

New Zealand Hot Air Balloon Crash

The Carterton Hot Air Balloon disaster was a shocking moment for the small island of New Zealand.

Hot Air Ballooning is a generally safe and tranquil pursuit but in this case it turned deadly. The pilot, apparently under the influence of marijuana, managed to collide the balloon with power lines causing the crash.

It claimed the lives of 11 people. The investigation placed blame squarely on pilot error for not navigating the landing properly and clipping the power lines.

Martin Luther King Jr

Martin Luther King Jr. was a famous Civil Rights Activist who pushed for an end to racism and discrimination against black people in the USA, through means of peaceful protest. On April 4th, 1968, King was standing on his balcony in a hotel in Memphis, Tennessee when he was shot multiple times. He later died from his wounds despite desperate attempts to save him.

Dale Earnhardt

Dale Earnhardt Senior was a legend of motorsports and a long-time competitor in NASCAR. On February 8th, 2001, in the very last lap of the Daytona 500, Earnhardt’s car collided with a competitor, sending Dale careering into a wall.

He would suffer massive blunt-force-trauma to the head and die less than 2 days later from his injuries.

Henry Wolsley

Lieutenant Colonel Henry Wolsely was a British explorer who was attempting to replicate Shackleton’s expedition in crossing the Antarctic on foot.

He had raised over £100,000 for charity ahead of the expedition. After completing over 900 miles and with a mere 30 miles to go, he radioed for help suffering from dehydration and exhaustion.

He was air-lifted to hospital but died of organ failure at the age of 55.

Dyatlov Pass

A mystery to this day. 9 hikers were attempting to hike a Pass in the Ural Mountains under the leadership of Igor Dyatlov in early 1959.

The group encountered some catastrophic problems and theories have surfaced over the years they may have fallen victim to a bear attack. The official cause of death for 6 of the group was hypothermia.

Rangoon Bombing

In October 1983, the President of South Korea was on a diplomatic trip to Burma when an assassination attempt took place by ex-North Korean military officers.

21 people were killed when the bomb went off in Rangoon but the President survived the attack. The incident sparked a diplomatic fall out between China and North Korea.

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