21-Year-Old Hiker Fell 700 Feet and Died While Taking a Selfie

Richard Jacobson was camping in the Superstition Mountains, east of downtown Phoenix, before he fell while attempting to take a selfie with the skyline.
Anya Zoledziowski
Toronto, CA
Superstition Mountains at the Lost Dutchman State Park in Arizona.
Superstition Mountains at the Lost Dutchman State Park in Arizona. (Photo by Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images)

A 21-year-old hiker died after he slipped off a mountain peak and fell 700 feet while trying to take a selfie. 

Richard Jacobson was camping in the Superstition Mountains, near Lost Dutchman State Park, AZ, east of downtown Phoenix, when he went to take a picture of himself atop the Flatiron Summit late at night. Shortly after, at about 12:45 a.m. on Monday, his camping companion called 9-1-1. Police recovered Jacobson’s body with the help of an Arizona Department of Public Safety helicopter later that day. 

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"Mr. Jacobson went to go take a photograph with himself and the city skyline in the background, and he lost his footing, and he slipped," Sgt. Doug Peoble with Pinal County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue told reporters.

So far, no further details have been released.

Andrew Thomas spent time as a missionary with Jacobson and he told AZFamily.com, a CBS affiliate, that Jacobson “really was one of those guys that everyone loved, and it's sad to lose him, but we know that it's not the end… We're going to see him again."

Jacobson had a positive attitude and a good sense of humour, Thomas said, adding that his friend’s death is “surreal.” 

“He was an outdoorsman, hunter, hiker. He did stuff like that, so I guess he did die doing what he loved to do, just in a tragic way," Thomas said.

VICE previously reported how hundreds of people have died while attempting to take selfies, even prompting researchers to recommend authorities set up “selfie-free zones.” 

“Selfies are themselves not harmful, but the human behavior that accompanies selfies is dangerous. Individuals need to be educated regarding certain risky behaviors and risky places where selfies should not be taken,” reads a 2018 study.

Between October 2011 to November 2017, at least 259 people died while taking selfies. In 2018, a man was mauled to death while trying to take a selfie with a bear and a mom of three fell 500 feet as she was taking pictures with her husband. 

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