Selfies are a phenomenon in the modern world. Most of us can attest to having a camera roll filled with an assortment of them. From 20 different versions of the exact same pose which didn’t quite make the cut for Instagram to selfies of ourselves in a gimp mask…
Okay, it’s probably just me who has fetishwear selfies, but the point stands. People love taking selfies, and this is especially the case when they are on holiday and have something interesting to show off, but for one couple, a coastal selfie in Portugal cost them their lives.
To see the cliff the couple fell from, check out the video below:
Louise Benson, 37, and Michael Kearns, 33, had left their home of Australia to go on an around the world trip a few months ago, and their most recent and horrifyingly final destination was Ericeira, Portugal, where they had been attending a wedding last week.
Prior to the couple’s deaths on June 12, they had reportedly been up drinking until 4 am before a “scream” was heard on a beach after 5 am.
The couples’ bodies were subsequently found at the bottom of the Praia dos Pescadores – a picturesque beach surrounded by cliffs and villages – by a fisherman, and the exact time of their deaths is estimated to have been between 1 and 6 am.
Because of how beautiful the spot is, authorities have speculated that the pair tried to snap a selfie at the top of the cliff before dropping their phone and falling 100 feet to their deaths. Now, their families are demanding an investigation into their deaths.
Louise, originally from Bristol, was discovered with hair in her hands, providing a disturbing insight into the 37-year-old’s final moments. However, authorities in the area have refused to request CCTV which could reveal exactly what happened.
According to the Herald Sun, those who had been with the couple prior to their deaths and potential witnesses, including the person who heard the scream, have not been interviewed either, showing a complete disregard for the seriousness of the incident.
The day before his death, Michael shared a picture of a glass of wine on the beach on Facebook.
Bill Kearns, Michael’s father, told the Herald Sun that he is desperate for answers. He described his son as a “rough diamond with a heart of gold” and said Louise was a “beautiful girl with a beautiful nature”
Rui Pereira da Terra, the head of the rescue service in Cascais port, near Lisbon, said the couple had likely been taking a selfie before their deaths.
“Everything seems to indicate that the fall happened when they were probably trying to take a selfie,” he said. “It seems they dropped their mobile phone and fell down while leaning over to retrieve it.”
Because of how common selfies are, the story has received a lot of attention online, with many people questioning the likelihood of this theory. At the time of the incident, it would have been pitch black and raining – suggesting that something more sinister could have happened.
Before the fall, Micheal and Lousie had been seen drinking with an unknown man, but just like everything else associated with this story, absolutely nothing has been done to contact him to get the couple’s bereaved families the answers they deserve.
A spokesperson for the Foreign Office said: “We are in touch with local authorities following the death of a British woman in Portugal and are providing support to her family.”
As far as the authorities are concerned, their selfie theory is most likely to be true because a cell phone was found at the top of the cliff.
After being discovered on the beach, the couple’s remains were moved to a morgue at the Hospital of Torres Vedras to be autopsied.
Reactions online to their deaths “from taking a selfie” have been mixed, with many people mocking the couple for risking their lives for something as frivolous. It has also been reported that witnesses saw them cross a safety barrier to get the selfie that cost them their lives.
Twitter user @RedbunnybowMarf wrote that it was a reflection of the times that people are going to increasingly extreme lengths to get good selfies for social media – a statement no doubt influenced by the fact that, if true, this is not the first death resulting from a selfie.
In fact, in both 2016 and 2017, 68 people lost their lives while taking selfies compared to just 27 in 2015.
Others were more sympathetic to the couple online and pointed out that they were standing in an area that was dangerous anyway – a danger that was inevitably increased by the fact that they had been consuming alcohol.
Many were also on the side of the couple’s families and criticised the authorities’ handling of the situation.
Regardless of whether the authorities’ self-confessed “assumption” is true or not, this story is a testament to the fact that while selfies might be fun to take and reflect on, people should always air on the side of caution when taking them. No picture is worth losing your life for.
We would like to take this opportunity to wish Michael and Lousie’s families all the best during this extremely difficult time.