Seven young friends have drowned after trying to take a group selfie in a canoe.
The tragedy took place yesterday at around 7 PM local time in Vena Dam near Nagpur, in Maharashtra province in India.
As reported by local news, a group of 8 young men, all aged in their early twenties, contracted a local fisherman to take them out into the river for an impromptu celebration. The boat they embarked on was long and narrow, much like a canoe, which would require each passenger to maintain a balanced seating arrangement in order to avoid tipping over.
Instead, the group decided to all pile into one corner of the boat for a chance at a great selfie.
The selfie was live-streamed on Facebook moments before the boat capsized, dumping all occupants into the water. You can see in the video the group laughing and joking while shuffling to get slightly better angles for the camera. At one point, one of the group even decides to stand on the boat’s stern in order to get the best angle for the photo shoot.
Locals then heard a kerfuffle, followed by splashes before calling local police. By the time rescue forces arrived they were able to remove 7 bodies from the scene, while an 8th passenger still hasn’t been located. The two fisherman and one student were able to swim safely to shore.
According to SP Shailesh Balkawade of the local police, “It seems these youngsters had hired local fishermen for boating, which is not allowed in the dam. The boat they got into was narrow. It tilted and capsized when they started clicking ‘selfies’ on reaching the midpoint of the reservoir.”
The State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) has been called in to help locate survivors, Balkawade said.
While local laws often necessitate the wearing of life jackets in North America, India doesn’t have universal laws governing life jacket use. As such, the group was not required to have life jackets before embarking on their final voyage.
The search continues for the missing passenger, however local officials believe him to also be drowned and are currently searching for the body. The reservoir is surprisingly deep, and there is a chance the body could be sucked into the dam itself, causing additional problems for the locals.