Photography may be the greatest invention ever. It helps us capture the most amazing moments in our lives. It even lets us take snaps of something pretty on the air, on land, or in the sea. But they can also capture the moment before a life-altering event strikes. Just look at this list of photos that captured the moment before a life-altering, and in some cases, life-ending events.
A tsunami claimed the lives of 230,000 people when it hit the coasts of South Asia on December 26, 2004. Sadly, one of those people was 31-year-old Briton Deborah Garlick, who was celebrating the Christmas holiday in Thailand. Several months later, one of Deborah’s rolls of undeveloped photos reached her parents. This photo was taken days before she was killed by the tsunami. But professional drivers are no better at avoiding disasters as this photo proves.
Ayrton Senna was considered one of the best Brazilian race car drivers ever. He even had three Formula 1 trophies to prove it. But on May 1st, 1994, his car crashed against a concrete barrier. This photo was taken at the San Marino Grand Prix in Italy shortly before he got in his car to race. Sadly, he died from his injuries. But if you think one sport star dying is bad, how about an entire team?
On February 15, 1961, a U.S. figure skating team got on flight 548 in New York to head to Brussels. There were going to compete in the World Figure Skating Championships in Prague, so they took this photo to remember this moment. But the plane ran into some trouble and when it attempted to land, it crashed, killing everyone. Plane crashes are horrifying, but watching someone die right in front of you is so much worse.
In 1987, State Treasurer of Pennsylvania, Budd Dwyer, was convicted of taking bribes for a government contract. He was supposed to be sentenced on January 23rd, but on the 22nd, he called a press conference, and shot himself in front of everyone on live television. The bloody incident was unforgettable and gruesome. But whatever you were doing on the day this next photo was taken will forever be etched in your mind.
NYPD officer Moira Smith witnessed the first plane strike one of the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001. As the first officer on the scene, she ran into the towers and began helping people to evacuate. This was the last photo taken of her being the hero that she was before she ran into the South Tower, which collapsed, killing her in the process. But, next time you consider taking a photo in a dangerous spot, think of this photo.
Cabo Da Roca in Portugal is also known as Europe’s End because it’s the westernmost point of Europe. So, this couple decided to take a photo on the edge of the cliff, when things took a shocking twist. The woman lost her grip, and fell to her death, essentially making Europe’s End, the end of her. But if you have to go, you’d probably want to die with a loved one, like in the following picture.
Petra and her 15-year-old son, Gary Slok, were flying home after spending a great holiday in Malaysia. They even took this photo as they boarded their plane. Unfortunately, the plane they were on, MH17, was shot down by a Ukrainian missile, which killed everyone when the plane was destroyed. Now, try and imagine what it would be like to photograph your own final moment right before you die.
In 2013, Hilda Clayton, an army specialist in Afghanistan went on a live-fire exercise to train Afghan soldiers in combat photography. That’s when something went wrong and an explosion went off, killing Clayton and four of the Afghan soldiers. Ironically, this photo was taken seconds before she lost her life. But if you thought that was shocking, wait till you see the next page. You might be familiar with the events, but not the details that lead to this shocking event.
John Lennon was on his way to the recording studio on December 8, 1980. But he stopped to sign autographs, particularly a copy of his latest album for Mark David Chapman, who is seen here. Chapman then waited outside for Lennon to return, and when he did, he shot him in the back four times. The singer was rushed to the hospital, but died in the E.R. Now, you’ll never look at a bull in the same way again after you see the following photo.
Bullfighting is popular in Latin American counties, and in Europe, particularly in Spain. But Bullfighters know the risk when they go up against a bull. But it’s the animal’s aggressiveness and the risk that gave spectators at this event a thrill, but not the kind they expected. Instead of going for the bullfighters, the bull ran straight toward the crowd and jumped the fence. It injured over 40 people too. But what would you do if you lost your favorite artist to an accident?
Popular Mexican singer Jenni Rivera boarded a private plane on December 8, 2012 after performing in Mexico. She was joined by colleagues and friends too. This photo was taken by Rivera’s makeup artist 20 minutes before air traffic controllers lost contact with the plane. A day later, the wreckage of the plane was found. Sadly, no one survived the crash. Now, the next photo will make you think twice before climbing anywhere when the weather outside is frightful.
In 1975, 18-year-old Michael McQuilken and his younger brother and sister decided to spend an otherwise dull afternoon, climbing California’s Moro Rock. But it was raining and there was lightning too. When they noticed their hair standing on end, they took a photo. But minutes later, lightning struck 12-year-old Sean. He suffered third-degree burns to his elbows and back, but miraculously survived. But if you ever decide to do a dangerous stunt just for fun, look at the next photo.
Stuntman Robert Overacker rode a jet ski over Niagara Falls, which sounds suicidal, but he planned to deploy a parachute as he went over. Unfortunately, the parachute didn’t open and Overacker wound up taking a 180-ft dive at full force, which killed him when he hit the water. Sadly, the stunt was intended to raise awareness for the homeless. Now, next time you’re waiting for the subway, you’ll want to avoid standing too close to the edge.
Ki-Suck Han was drunk, and tried starting a fight with another commuter. But the other guy got the best of him and pushed him away, sending Han tumbling towards the tracks. Witnesses tried to stop the train, but it still struck Han. Ironically, a photographer for the New York Post was on the platform and captured a snap of the whole thing. With all the shocking tragedies, you’ll be surprised to learn that the man in the last image of this article didn’t actually die.
While visiting Peru, Jared Michael took a walk down the route to Machu Picchu. But then he decided to stop near the train tracks to record a train. The only thing is, he didn’t realize how close he was. Fortunately, the train conduct noticed him and kicked Michael in the head to push him away from danger. We should also note that the train was going at 17 mph, so the kick didn’t do too much damage.