To say that life is full of dangerous surprises is the understatement of the year. No matter who you are, what you're doing, or where you live, tragedy can strike at any time. Sometimes it's just a minor mishap, but other times it can be a matter of life and death. The very nature of chance makes these photos even more haunting. These are people who are just going about their lives, people who have no idea what's about to happen to them. Mere moments away, disaster is lurking...
Is This Guy High?
If you've got acrophobia, or fear of heights, like a lot of us do, chances are just looking at this photo is making you feel a little bit sick. Imagine how he must feel! This daredevil is one of those people they call "urban explorers" - the kids who go around climbing through abandoned subway stations, building sites, and spooky old asylums.
Usually they're doing it without a care in the world, like this guy. Unfortunately, he was one of the ones who took their adventurous spirit a little too far. He and his friends had climbed up to the stop of an unfinished skyscraper in Dubai, and he snapped this selfie just at the top. Only seconds later, he lost his grip on the scaffolding... and plunged to his death after falling over 100 stories.
Born in 1975, Filipino politician Reynaldo Dagsa had achieved both great power and adoration during his short lifetime. As a representative of the 35th Barangay (suburb) in Caloocan, north of Manila, his time in the office was known for its honesty and willingness to engage with difficult social issues. As a member of the Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team, he had cleaned up his little corner of the Philippines and made it safer for everyone.
But not everyone was happy with what he'd done. One criminal in particular, who had just been released from jail, was intent on getting his revenge on the man who put him away. And on New Year's Day, 2011, he did just that. Reynaldo Dagas took this photo of his family without ever noticing what was in the background, and seconds later he was shot and killed.
The Hunter Becomes The Hunted
Us humans like to think of ourselves as being at the top of the food chain. And if eating Big Macs and shark fin soup wasn't enough to prove it, some big men like to go out every now and again and face off with the wildlife, mano a mano and ojo a ojo. The only problem with that is that for all our smart phones and fast food and "intelligence", we really aren't always the apex predator.
Now we've got nothing against hunters, but you've got to admit that there's a sense of irony to this photo. This guy's pretty proud that he's just bagged himself a huge elk, and there's a vicious mountain lion in the background, about to prove who's really king of the jungle. The man survived the attack, fortunately, by doing the most manly, big brave human thing he could do - running away.
Surfing With Sharks
Shark attacks might be slightly sensationalized by the media, but the cold-blooded beasts really do present a significant risk to surfers. Sharks don't necessarily want to chomp down on a salty grommet, but with their wetsuits and silhouette on the water, surfers really do resemble a tasty seal meal. The rise in attacks over the last couple of years, particularly in Australia and South Africa, pretty much prove it. They're not vicious, just hungry.
Even so, it's hard to imagine knowing a 10-foot shark is in the water and still choosing to go out to chase the waves. Because that's exactly what this guy was doing. He knew the shark was there, and he decided to surf up for a closer look. It sounds like a completely stupid idea, but somehow the surfer escaped with his life.
If you've already spotted the very real danger lurking in this photo, you're doing far better than this lady. She stands there, smiling, completely unaware that one of the most cunning and prehistoric creatures to slither across this planet is sizing her up, consider her for his next meal. What happens next? That, friends, we can't really tell you.
What will tell you is some saltwater crocodile facts, so you can come to your own conclusions. Living primarily in northern Australia and South-East Asia, they are one of the planets most fearsome killers and can grow up to 23 feet in length. They kill their prey by utilizing what is known as a "death roll", clamping down on their body, dragging them into the water, and rolling them over and over until they drown. Several tourists have been killed by crocodiles in the last few years.
Okay, we know we're going to lose a lot of fans here, but we want to just say one thing: wakeboarding is just about the dumbest sport ever. You're basically just spending your time alternating between wallowing in a filthy lake and being dragged along at hugely dangerous speeds. Behind a boat probably driven by your drunken mate. You couldn't ask for a worse cocktail of soggy boredom and life-threatening terror.
Don't believe us? Think we're wrong? Well, have a look at this picture. Not only is this guy about to land headfirst, at 90 miles per hour, into a brown cesspit or someone's picnic table, but he's probably going to take his friends out with him. They're no better, either. They might survive like this superman wannabe did, but they'll die of embarrassment when they realize their version of the sport makes them look like they're sitting on a high-speed toilet.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand the inherent risks of flying a plane. Although they no doubt understand it better than anyone! Flying is just one of those things that really is human ingenuity pushed to the limit. No matter how much we improve the technology, there's always going to be catastrophes. Especially when you add a huge crowd into the mix.
Captured at an air show in America, this incredible photo shows just how dangerous it can be. Funnily enough, the crowd thought that the Harrier Jump Jet was just coming in close for the spectacle. Little did they know that the plane was out of control and about to come to a fiery end. Amazingly, the pilot managed to eject just in time, and neither he nor anyone watching were injured.
This is one of those photos that looks completely fake, but believe us, it's totally real. It comes from the Goodwood Revival in 2000, a race on the old British circuit that features vintage cars driven by ex-professional racers. Nigel Corner was one of those drivers, and the crash that sent both him and his Ferrari Dino flying was one that he'll never forget.
This astounding feat of capturing this photo (it was taken by a man named Jeff Bloxam) was matched by the narrow escape of Corner. Although he broke 20 bones and his back and punctured both lungs, he survived, recovered, and even managed to race the very next year. The reason he survived, in fact, was that he wasn't wearing a seatbelt and so cleared the car before it rolled.
Robert "Budd" Dwyer
Of the millions that watched the highly-publicized trial of Robert Dwyer, not one could forget the shocking conclusion to this bizarre case. Robert "Budd" Dwyer was the Treasurer of Pennsylvania from 1981 onwards, and he had been accused of receiving bribes for a multimillion-dollar contract - a crime he would hotly deny. That is, right until the unthinkable happened on live television.
He had been convicted of the charges, and on January 23 was due to be sentenced. On January 22, though, he called a press conference to which dozens of reporters came to hear his version of events. Only they were not there to witness a confession. As they watched, Dwyer pulled a .357 magnum revolver out of an envelope and shot himself in the head.
The Ebola Virus
Over the past few decades, we've suffered at the hands of more than a few viruses. It's perhaps the most frightening, and most frustrating killer of them all - a killer without a face, or body, or anything that we can place blame on. We just suffer slowly while the news outlets get bored, and hope that one day a cure can be found.
The recent Ebola outbreak - which is still on-going, in case you didn't know - was just the latest in a series of appearances by the deadly infectious disease. No moment of it, though, has been captured quite so eloquently as this photo, of nurse Mayinga N'Seka. She was at the battlefront when the very first outbreak of Ebola occurred 1976, and the haunted look in her eyes tells an all-too-clear story. Two days later, she died.
William "Dave" Sanders
Amidst the wave of gun-related violence in the United States, there's one terrible tragedy in particular that stands out. It's hard to believe that it's been 18 years since the events at Columbine High School shocked and saddened the nation, but its awful legacy seems to live on to this day. But do you remember the hero who stood stall amidst the carnage?
His name was William Sanders, affectionately known as Dave to his friends, colleagues and students. This photo records the heights of human bravery and his valiant efforts, as the teacher warned hundreds of students of the shocking events that were happening all around them. Although he was shot twice in the midst of the senseless rampage, his actions saved countless lives and forever earned him a place in our hearts.
The death of Tina Watson while on her honeymoon in Australia is so full of twists and turns that it's even been made into a movie. 11 days earlier she and her husband Gabe had wed, and as Gabe was supposedly a rescue diver they had decided to go on a scuba diving trip to the Great Barrier Reef to celebrate. Two minutes into their first dive, Tina lost consciousness, sank 100 feet, and drowned.
Gabe called for help, but at that point it was too late. Over the next few days, suspicion rose as he gave 16 differing accounts of what happened that fateful day, and an eyewitness claimed to see the husband and wife locked in a "bear hug" before she sank. Not only that, but this chilling photograph was taken of her accidentally, abandoned on the sea floor. We'll never know what actually happened that fateful day.
Sometimes you see container ships sailing out at sea and you just think to yourself "how on earth do they not fall over?" Well, the answer is a combination careful loading, and weight distribution, good navigation, and, well, having a giant boat. As a matter of fact, losing a container or two isn't such an uncommon thing in rough weather, but the risk is well worth the extra profit.
On the other hand, though, there are times when you just bite off way more than you can chew. This boat has done just that. The sea's not even rough, but they've loaded the containers way too high (and badly), and have managed to scrape a semi-submerged reef. The result? Complete disaster, and no doubt a bunch of very angry importers.
Here Come The Clowns
There is actually a word for a deep-seated fear of clowns: coulrophobia. Given how much weird and creepy clown behavior has been happening lately - and we wish that was a joke - it's not surprising that it's a fear shared by a lot of people. Add in the recent remake of Stephen King's "It", and you've got a recipe for mass panic at the very first sign of a red nose.
These particular clowns aren't doing themselves any favors, either, with their outfits. The one on the right looks like he's escaped from clown prison, and the one on the left looks like a mafia hitman in disguise. You can imagine what happens when the poor baker rounds the corner. He wouldn't even need to be afraid of clowns to get the fright of his life. It's just a shame he's not wheeling trays of cream pies.
Give a BMX to a young kid and you just know that within a day or two there's going to be some broken bones and a lot of tears. Children just love showing off, even when (or especially when) there's a risk of injury involved. You just know that when his mom saw him gearing up for this big jump she was already calculating the medical bills.
Didn't stop her from the shock of her life when he actually attempted it. While his sister actually looks a little bit impressed, she's just waiting for the sickening splash and some wailing and flailing in the water. Which is pretty much exactly what happened. The kid survived, but we can bet that he didn't get a replacement bike next Christmas.
Eyes On The Prize
Disaster? Maybe not. Hilarious accident? Oh, most definitely. You know all those cheesy ads, the ones where a hot woman passing by causes fire hydrants to spontaneously erupt and waiters to accidentally pour coffee all over the customer? Well, it's even funnier when it's real. Maybe not for the lady, who probably gets this reaction everywhere, but definitely for the audience.
Watch where you're going: that's the moral to this story. If you really, really have to perve on an unsuspecting woman, at least stop walking. Sure, all this guy ended up with was a face full of steel and a big headache, but it's the embarrassment (not to mention being immortalized online) that'll really haunt him for the rest of his days.
Back before selfies were invented, people had to get their photographical kicks in other ways. The most popular thing at the time - hell, people still do it - was recreating that infamous scene from Titanic. One of the most popular films ever created, the 1997 blockbuster had Leonardo DiCaprio holding up Kate Winslet as she stretched her arms out to the Atlantic Ocean.
In the film, it was a stirring and poignant moment. In real life, pretty much everyone manages to make it both incredibly embarrassing and surprisingly dangerous, every time. These guys had the right idea - well, at least they were still in sight of land - but then a seagull came and really messed it all up. There's no second take for this one, and we're quite ok with that.
Air France Flight 4590
Hollywood has led us to believe that flames coming from a jet exhaust is no big thing, which makes this particular photo seem like it's nothing special. However, this charter flight from Paris to New York City was anything but ordinary. Moments after this photo was taken by a horrified onlooker, the plane crashed into a nearby hotel, killing everyone on board and four in the building.
It was the only fatal accident in the 27 years that Concorde jets operated. The plane was overweight and the weight was poorly distributed, and as it began its take-off, a piece of the debris punctured the tires and flew up into the fuel tank. This fuel was ignited by a severed wire in the landing gear bay, and the rest is terrible, terrible history.
Taking your own life is a dramatic and final deed, and maybe it was the raw power of Niagara Falls that drew Japanese student Ayano Tokumasu to end hers there. She's not alone: an estimated 20-40 people end their lives there every year, and over 5,000 people - though not all of them suicides - in total have perished at the hands of those mighty waters.
Whatever the troubles that Ayano Tokumasu was facing at the time, her short and unhappy life wasn't the only one that was affected that day. Without realizing it, her desperate act would also haunt the frame of this otherwise happy couple, who also didn't notice what was going on in the background. It's probably a holiday they'd now rather forget.
TransAsia Airways Flight 235
Operating with a 10-month-old aircraft and favorable weather conditions, the doomed voyage of TransAsia Airways Flight 235 still remains a mystery. It was meant to be only a short domestic hop in Taiwan, but within minutes of taking off, the pilots issued a mayday, inexplicably shut down one engine, and crashed into the Keelung River.
One of the most famous air crash photos of all time, the origin of this snapshot is equally a mystery. At this point, the plane was seconds away from clipping a taxi and viaduct with its wings before coming down into the river. What was even more incredible is that of the 53 passengers and five crew on board, 15 people survived. This is a very shocking story to say the least.
Elephants kill over 600 hundred people per year. That's right: more than sharks and lions combined. Forget about all that nonsense their PR department puts out, like them being majestic and endangered and all that. They're vicious and bloodthirsty killers, happy to stamp you out of existence without the slightest provocation. They'll put a tusk right through you without a second thought.
Okay, so we might be slightly exaggerating, but that doesn't make the scenario in this photograph any less frightening. It might have come over to the car out of pure curiosity, but what happens when it presses its trunk down with thousands of pounds of force? A couple of flattened passengers in a very thin car, that's what. Somehow, these guys made it out alive.
A Sucker For Punishment
It might seem like a great joke at the time, putting a live octopus on your husband's back, but these cephalopods are no laughing matter. Ask any fisherman who accidentally winds up with one in their nets - those suckers stick like superglue. Not only that, but octopuses actually have well-developed venom glands, and in distress they won't think twice about stinging you.
Take the blue-ringed octopus, for example. This little guy with the striking pattern, found in Australia and parts of the Pacific Ocean, contains enough venom to kill 26 adult men within minutes. First your whole body's paralyzed, then your lungs stop. Then you're dead. The man in this photo didn't encounter one of those, thank god, but he did cop enough to be put in hospital.
The latest in our continuing series of Humans Really Shouldn't Mess With Animals comes this half-funny half-terrifying photo we'll call People Who Stand Too Close To Camels. Will a camel kill you? It's incredibly unlikely. Will it give you a bruise that won't go away for weeks, though? You bet it will. Camels, as anyone who's ever dealt with them will tell you, are just about the grumpiest and most volatile of all animals.
In 2009, to name one bizarre example, 6,000 camels laid siege to an Australian outback town called Docker River, attacking residents and destroying property over close to a week of constant attacks. Who knows what the woman in this photo did to deserve a good chunk being taken out of her head, but our guess is probably nothing. That's camels for you.
Slippery When Wet
We could honestly write a book about all the things you shouldn't do in life. Like cuddling a polar bear, hi-fiving a chainsaw, running with scissors, or putting a lightbulb up your butt. Especially that last one, which is definitely not a bright idea. Now, thanks to this photo, we have a new "don't" to add to the list: pole dancing on the subway with a full cup of soda from Dunkin' Donuts.
Who knew that you'd end up pouring your drink all over an unsuspecting passenger while showing another a lot more than you intended? Well, us, for starters. And yet this woman went ahead and did it anyway. At least the guy doesn't look too fazed by a liquid slap in the face. Maybe this was the end of her routine, and he was already wet.
The Feline Missile
Poise. Focus. A single vision. This cat has got one thing on its mind, and that's to catch and kill whatever it is that's just out frame. He's going so fast that when this outrageous photo was taken, all four paws were in the air at the same time and tucked into its body. You thought cats were lazy? Well, not when there's a potential meal coming their way.
Except this photo only tells half the story. According to the photographer, this seemingly graceful sprint ended the next second with the cat slipping on some wet grass and crashing into a very inelegant pile. And the little bird that it was chasing got away. Basically the whole thing was a cat-astrophe. Get it? Get it? Wait, why are you slowly backing away?
If you have an allergy, there could be a small chance that a bee sting will kill you. For the bee, though, there's no such thing as a small chance. If it stings you, it's dead. Simple as that. The stinger has small barbs on it which get stuck in any mammal with relatively thick skin, meaning that the barb is impossible to remove. As the bee is trying to fly away, then, the whole stinger tears from its abdomen and causes a lethal rupture.
It's a phenomenon equal parts sad and fascinating. Because the speed at which bees sting you, though, and the close to random nature of attacks, few people have ever caught this moment when the bee essentially kills itself by flying away. This photo shows one of those moments. Within a minute or two, this bee will be dead. Tragic, isn't it?
Like A Scene From Anaconda
A quick glance at this photo and you'll think it's just another one of those freaky shots where the victim doesn't know what's coming. But look closer and you'll notice something: she's actually fully aware of the snake, and is actually holding it. It seems like she knows what she's doing - and that handling giant Burmese pythons is her day job.
If it was her day job, after this incident she might be considering early retirement. As you're no doubt aware, pythons are exceedingly deadly creatures. They aren't venomous, but they will constrict you until you have a heart attack, and they have the ability to eat you whole. She wasn't eaten whole, luckily, but the snake did begin its death squeeze before an onlooker was able to wrestle it away.
Carterton Hot Air Balloon
Australia gets a pretty bad rap for all the dangers lurking there, ready to prey on both tourists and locals, but its neighbor rarely gets a mention. New Zealand is considered the "safe" alternative to Australia - what it lacks in mesmerizing outback, it makes up for with Hobbit hills, waterfalls, and thoroughly harmless wildlife. But that doesn't mean tragedy can't strike over there...
What should have been a scenic balloon flight went horribly wrong for 12 people in the New Zealand town of Carterton, in 2012. Flying way too low, at the moment this photo was snapped the balloon hit high-voltage power lines and killed every soul on board. It may look like some Photoshop magic, but we can assure you that the disastrous effects were all too real.
Spot The Difference
And by "Spot The Difference", we mean spot the difference between the happy members of this little drunk crowd. You may not see it at first, but there's one girl here who's not quite having as much fun as the others. Who's definitely had her last one of whatever those sickly green drinks are in those pitchers. Who just can't quite manage a smile for the camera.
She hasn't just said cheese - she's actually produced some curds of her own. We've all had one of those nights where things get a bit out of hand, but it's actually kind of cool that someone's captured the exact moment the needle swung violently from great to awful. Everyone else is smiling now, but just you watch in a second it'll be revulsion and chaos.
What a breathtaking photo. You couldn't have asked for a better shot. The timing of the photo is impeccable - captured right before the car hits the water, this is not one moment you can redo if you mess it up. It's a case of right time, right place for this lucky photographer, and the resulting image is like something you'd see in a gallery.
Before you ask: don't worry, there's no-one in the car. If it is a tragedy, it's only for the car which will sadly never drive again after this. You see, this was actually deliberately set up by an artist who wanted to capture this specific image and had the car dropped from above. Why? We'll never know. But who cares when the result is this good, right?
The 90s were honestly cray, y'all. Forget about Vanilla Ice and Will Smith and their family-friendly rap. The real rap and hip-hop stars were not only spitting rhymes but fighting for their lives every day of the week. East Coast versus West Coast, Bloods versus Crips, brother on brother - the feuds and bloodshed just never seemed to end.
Megastar Notorious B.I.G. was just one of those victims in this long and thankfully mostly past history. What makes his death so unique is this haunting photo of him on the night he was murdered. Despite his troubles, and despite the times, he looks relaxed and happy in his final moments - even ironically pointing a finger gun at the camera. Sadly, he was slain only minutes later, and the war continued.
The Station Nightclub, Rhode Island
Tragedy can strike at anywhere, and at any time. Death rarely makes itself known before it crosses the threshold - it simply walks right into your house and grips you out of nowhere with its icy fingers. You could be doing anything, without a care in the world, walking the dog, drinking with friends, watching a movie. You could even just out at a rock show.
Just moments before the unthinkable happens, a member of the band looks back and stares at hell right in the face. On February 20th, 2003, not one of the 100 music lovers who went to The Station Nightclub thought that this gig would be their last. But the fire started by faulty wiring would go on to claim a horrifying number of lives, and this random photo shows where the nightmare began.
Bat's All, Folks
We've often wondered how many injuries result from thrown bats in Major League Baseball. Once they've hit the ball, no slugger really cares where their bat ends up. The focus is on making it to first base, not the welfare of the people around you. You just toss it and run, which surely has got to end in disaster every now and again.
For this poor spectator, it's probably the last play he saw in the match. At that speed, a solid bat has got to do some serious damage. He had no idea it was coming for him, either - just look at the reaction of the crowd around him. For a bat to make it that many rows back, you've got to assume it was almost intentional. Either that or the batter had some seriously greasy hands.
Clearing The Bar
Back in 2012, HBO's crime drama "Luck" was canceled after a third horse was euthanized in a string of grisly accidents. At first they were determined to continue the show, but the RSPCA, PETA, and various other acronyms that protect animal welfare got involved and shut the whole thing down. Now, we'll agree that horses need to be looked after. But this does raise an interesting question: who's looking after the humans that ride them?
On average, something like 100 people die from horse riding each year. Given the risks involved, that's not really a surprising number. It's not as simple as sitting on some docile animal's back and letting it do its thang. Horses can be skittish, unpredictable, and very difficult to handle, even for experts. Just ask this guy how his ride turned out.
It's a sad and very current fact that guns kill a lot of people each year. Murders, killing sprees, even hunting accidents - people often forget just how deadly these weapons are. But guess who the biggest victims of gun deaths are. Go on, guess. That's right: it's the gun owners themselves who are most likely to be at the wrong end of the barrel.
While to a gun novice it might not look like there's anything wrong with this picture, anyone who's operated a rifle will immediately see what's about to happen. Basically, pretty much every gun will recoil with a heck of a lot of force. That's just the nature of the beast, and that's what the stock (the butt) of the rifle is for - to absorb that recoil with your shoulder. Except this woman hasn't got it against her shoulder, so her eye, against the scope, is going to take the entire hit. Ouch.
Catching Some Rays
Practical jokes are all well and good, but sometimes they get taken a little bit too far. Call it the YouTube phenomenon: they're getting more and more extreme simply because they're going to get more hits online. It's not for fun anymore, just for the chance to go viral. Now look at her face in this photo - as if this isn't going to launch a thousand memes.
Except this isn't just not funny (especially for her), it's also pretty dangerous. Yes, that's a proper stingray on her back, and yes, that's the same kind of animal that killed Steve Irwin back in 2006. There's a good reason she's screaming in absolute terror, and that's because her boyfriend, probably ex by now, is actually trying to kill her.
Who doesn't remember the long summer days at the pool when you were a teenager? Baking under the sun until you were as red as a tomato, swimming around underwater perving on all the hot older girls, sucking in your baby fat for all it was worth, and desperately trying to impress people with your mad backflip skills.
Every summer, though, there would be one kid who just did it wrong. Whether they slipped as they ran up the diving board, or misjudged their jump, or accidentally threw themselves into the shallow end, you could count on at least one major injury per season. It looks like the guy in this photo is this year's contender for the "Better Stick To Cannonballs" award. The worst part is that the girls aren't even watching.
The New Jersey Hiker
This isn't the first time we've featured brutal animal attacks on this list, and it won't be the last. Forget all those cuddly-wuddly cat photos that clog up Instagram, because wild animals - especially in their natural habitat - are not afraid to strike back. Either they hate smart phones or they think they look fat in this fur, because they especially seem to nuts when there's a camera around.
Bears in North America are probably the most dangerous of all. Most of the time, they really are only being defensive. But a camera flash to them is like paparazzi to celebrities - they get instantly enraged. Like this bear, snapped by a hiker in New Jersey. In a terrible twist, the bear pounced on the 22-year-old walker just moments later and killed him instantly.
Although we complain about maniac drivers on our roads, it's really not too bad in the western world. Every year, it's only 0.01% of the population who will find themselves in a fatal accident. Wear your seatbelt, get a good night's sleep, and avoid booze, and you'd have to be truly unlucky to be one of those victims.
On the other side of the world, it's a different story. Russia - where this photo was taken - has close to triple the amount of fatal car crashes per capita, thanks to situations like this. An unsecured load and driving far too close to the car in front of you and you'd be lucky to survive something like this. Add in some vodka and ignore your seatbelt, and you're definitely a goner.
Is That A Banana In Your Pocket?
According to science, we're all descended from the apes. Although it we might seem vastly different at times, there are moments, like in this photo, where were reminded of just how much we haven't evolved. Don't try and deny it, boys, This monkey is literally doing the exact same thing you would all do in this situation. He's about as good at being discreet, too.
Although there wasn't such a happy ending to this photo. If you've ever been up close to a monkey, you'll know that they're not the most predictable or friendly of creatures, unless you've got some food. And this one, once he noticed something he really wanted he wasn't going to hold back. Luckily, the woman escaped with only a few scratches. Now that we think about it, that's still probably exactly what a guy would do.
License And Registration, Sir
Hand up who wants to be a cop. No-one? Well, that's not a total surprise. It's gotta be just about one of the harshest and hardest jobs out there. The public hate you, the criminals hate you, they keep cutting your pay, and to top it all off you might just get shot at for walking down the street. Fun.
Even if you do end up in a backwater town filing paperwork, don't think that the job is any less dangerous. Just ask this officer, who encountered this fierce gator while walking back to his car. It was a routine traffic stop that turned into anything but, and it was only through his quick thinking that he didn't end up sleeping with the crawfishes.
What A Fluke
Seeing a whale migration, or even just a whale in the wild, has got to be one of the greatest things in life. We've seen so many documentaries and shows about these creatures that we often forget the sheer enormity of these creatures. Only when you see them with your own eyes, in the tons and tons of gleaming flesh, do you realize just how tiny we are compared to them.
An adult humpback whale - the species seen in this terrifying photo - reaches up to 50 feet in length and an insane 36 tons. While they're playful and docile creatures, the sheer strength and weight combined makes them dangerous to be around. Before you know it, you could be like the men in this photo, right in the path of a breaching whale. They don't have a chance, basically.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr. always knew that his life would be fraught with danger. Throughout his entire career, he had tirelessly struggled for civil rights for black people, and there were a great many people in the States who were against him. To him, though, it didn't matter. In every great struggle there are martyrs, and he knew that no matter what happened, he would change the course of history forever.
His very last day in the war was captured on film as he stood on the balcony of his motel in Memphis. King was planning a movement that would occupy D.C., but he never knew that this would never come to pass. Instead, on the next day and the same balcony, he would be assassinated by James Earl Ray, sparking off a wave of riots across the country.
Best Seats In The House
If you're going to watch a car race, you'd probably want to not sit at the edge of the track, right? Well, not if you ask this group of spectators. In 2014, they had turned up to the Jolly Rally Valle D'Aosta in northern Italy and decided to sit right by one of the turns. If that wasn't dangerous enough, a couple of them thought it would be a good idea to actually sit on the wall separating them from the super high-speed vehicles and dangle their feet over the side.
What happened next was almost inevitable. Driver Piero Scavone lost control of his car as it came around the corner, mounting the wall and launching into the air. At speeds of over a hundred miles per hour, the car came barreling towards the spectators. Right as this picture was snapped, the group looked like they would most certainly die. Yet somehow, every single person remained unharmed. Including the driver.
Bye Bye Birdie
Let's stop talking about silly humans and their senseless disasters for a second here. What about the animal kingdom? Well, we may not think about it too often (until PETA launches another campaign, that is) but our furry and feathered friends suffer tragedies just as serious and heartbreaking as any two-legged primate. Sometimes, it hits us even harder because they're so defenseless.
In this photo, we see something that nature programs have taught us to expect: two animals fighting over food. So far, so normal. But this amazing blink-and-you'll-miss-it image doesn't capture what happens after the bird catches a swift kick to the chest. Knocked unconscious by the blow, the bird sadly toppled to the side and fell to its death. It seems that nature, like humans, has an infinite capacity for cruelty.
The Horse Always Wins
Wedding photography, like the ceremonies themselves, is getting more and more creative by the day. Gone are the times when it was enough to stroll down the aisle in double denim and slip a crackerjack ring on their finger. Now you have to have a dozen trumpeters, canapés made from gold-encrusted dodo meat, and a twerking bear to get your wedding even close to being memorable.
This wedding will certainly be one for the archives. The idea is sane enough - eloping with your husband on a horse - even if the photography tries way too hard. Really, did no-one realize that the shot made her look like a centaur? What happened next, though, was the best part. The horse picked up the pace, and she slid right off the back of it and crashed to the ground. Not a tragedy by any stretch of the imagination, but definitely unforgettable.
For extreme sportspeople, just participating in the activity is never enough. You have to first record it on GoPro, make a Red Bull sponsored movie of the entire thing, then tell everyone you know about it. This is a great shot, and no doubt about it, but surely the act of skydiving should be enough of an adrenaline rush without having to make it all wacky.
There is also a deeply sad side to the photo, which turns it from a stunt into a tragedy. Mere seconds after the photo was taken, the skydiver was due to deploy his parachute. Only it wouldn't open, and his friend with the camera had no time to help him out. Had he not been so focused on getting the photo, he might have realized in time and survived. Instead, this stunt became his last.
Living On The Edge
Sometimes, when something bad happens to you out of nowhere, there's a split second where you fully comprehend what's about to go down. Like the instant before the chair you're leaning back on falls over. Like that moment between your tire blowing out and you losing complete control of your car. There's no doubt that that's what this woman is feeling in this split second, right before she topples backwards into the pool.
There is, however, two funny things that pop out of this picture. The first is that while she obviously knows in her heart the drenching she's about to receive, she's still trying to carry on the conversation as if nothing is happening. The second is the guy who's actually posing for this chance photograph. He has literally no clue what he's about to miss.
We've talked about weddings, and we've talked about extreme sports. Not let's talk about Instagrammers, and the extreme lengths they'll go to get the perfect shot. You can't imagine just how much time, and reshoots, it would have taken to get this photo exactly right. And for what? A couple more followers, a couple more hearts, a few more people apparently thinking you're a better and cooler person.
That's the price of fame these days, although this girl paid far more than she should have. A couple of quick physics observations first: 1. If a wave crashes over a mound of loose sand that you've built, it's going to pick up that sand. 2. Water rushing over a hollow will create a vacuum, which will then suck that water into it, whether there's a person there or not. 3. The human body cannot breathe water mixed with sand. Result: you do the math.
Taking The Cake
This is true tragedy, in every sense of the word. Every 16-year-old will think that they're too cool for their birthday, and that hanging out with their lame family and eating some lame cake is, like, the lamest. They'd totally rather be out chucking up a mixture of In-N-Out and Jägermeister into the bushes while their friends take pictures and send them to everyone in their contacts.
Except that really isn't the case. Everyone, even the hardest teenager, secretly loves their birthdays and the fact that their mom baked a cake just for them. They love that their family is dorky and sweet and always remembers them. So when that symbol of the family love slides right off the platter and on to the floor... well, that's true tragedy.
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