Sometimes, split-second changes can have a tragic and profound impact on our lives. From plane crashes to dramatic falls, to natural disasters and more, people can find their lives changed irreversibly when something unexpected happens. Occasionally, there is a camera around when this occurs, and the moment is captured forever in a picture. Here are some haunting photos taken just before disaster struck.
The TransAsia Airways flight
In February 2015, Taiwan was hit by a disaster that would shake the nation. As a TransAsia Airways flight took off from the runway, those who were driving over the Keelung River could do nothing but watch as the aircraft, and its 58 passengers crashed into the waters below.
It’s been reported that the pilot “pulled back the wrong side throttle” during take off, but as the plane began to swerve out of control, there was nothing that could be done. 42 passengers lost their lives, and this was the last photo taken before the crash.
A Thailand vacation
In 2004, 31-year-old Deborah Garlick had traveled to Thailand for a vacation, and this photograph was taken of her while she was sitting on the beach and enjoying the incredible view.
What Deborah didn’t realize at the time was that she and around 200,000 people would lose their lives after a devastating Tsunami hit South-east Asia. Families lost their loved ones and their homes, and vacationers like Deborah would never return to parents. Thankfully, her parents were able to retrieve this final photograph of their daughter, before their whole lives changed forever.
Up in space
It’s the dream of many people to one day make their way into space, and there are a select few who finally get that chance.
This group of people were lucky enough to be given the title of astronaut, and as they walked to the famous Challenger space shuttle, they were nervous, but also quietly confident. After all, The Challenger had blasted off nine times before, and they had no reason to believe that there would be any problems. Sadly, the shuttle suffered a disaster 73 seconds into blast-off, and seven people tragically lost their lives.
The perfect selfie
There are some people who spend their lives looking for the perfect selfie, and they often go to the extreme to find this. In Xenia Ignatyeva’s case, she knew that she wanted to go above and beyond to take her photo.
So, she climbed a 30-foot-high bride and snapped this impressive shot. But what happened next would haunt her family for the rest of their lives. As Xenia fell from the bridge, she tried to save herself. In doing so, she grabbed hold of wires and was electrocuted by 1,500 volts. She did not survive.
The Titanic on the water
We all know the story of the RMS Titanic thanks to James Cameron and his famous blockbuster movie. While the tragic love affair of Jack and Rose tugged at our heartstrings, it’s important that we don’t forget this was a real event.
After being dubbed “unsinkable,” this impressive feat of engineering left Southampton Docks in 1912 and attempted to take 2,224 passengers to New York. This photograph was taken of the ship shortly before it hit an iceberg in the North Atlantic Ocean and sank just hours later. 1,500 passengers lost their lives.
Struck by lightning
When Sean and Michael made their way to the Sequoia National Park in CA, they had no idea that this photo would later shock all of those who saw it. The two brothers had made their way to the park for a camping trip when they took this photograph.
As you can see, their hair is standing up on end – and that’s because just seconds after the shutter snapped, the brothers were both struck by lightning. Amazingly, the lightning strike was not fatal, and they can now look at this photo to remind them of that fateful day.
A fatal backflip
There are many people who spend their lives pushing their body to the limits, and Pavel Kashin was one of those people. The daredevil would film himself jumping from impressive heights, and even performing backflips in treacherous locations.
On this particular day, he made his way to the top of a 16-floor-building and did a backflip. While he did manage to land the stunt, within a split second, he had lost his footing and was plummeting to the ground. He did not survive the fall.
A budding photographer
In 1970, a budding photographer was testing out his brand new camera lens when he took this photograph. At the time, he didn’t realize that there was something incredibly unusual about this photo.
Yet, when he took a closer look, he noticed the figure that seemed to be falling from the aircraft. This figure was Keith Sapsford, a 14-year-old travel lover who stowed himself away in the wheel of the aircraft in an attempt to get a free ride. When the pilot lifted the wheel, Keith fell 200-feet and lost his life.
Fast and Furious
The world wept in solidarity when they heard the news that Paul Walker had been involved in a car crash. After making a name for himself as a car-enthusiast in the Fast and Furious franchise, it was a sad end to his life and career.
Just before he was involved in the crash and fire that took his life, Paul was photographed getting into the exact same car. He had all intentions to return to the party when he stepped into his 2005 Porsche Carrera GT – but he never made it back to his family, friends, or fans.
Raising money for charity
Good samaritans are always trying to raise money for charity, and Robert Overacker was no different. On this day, he decided to take on an impressive stunt to raise money for the homeless.
He had promised his supporters a show, and that’s exactly what he gave them. The stunt originally went to plan, and he jet-skied right up to the edge of Niagara Falls. However, when his parachute failed to open, his stunt soon took a dark turn. He just could not survive the fall or the weight of the water.
Fearing for his life
Although celebrities know what they are getting themselves into when they become famous, that doesn’t stop them from being human. When Biggie Smalls feared for his life in 1997, Notorious B.I.G decided to hire security guards to keep those who wanted to harm him away.
He tried to live as normal a life as possible, and he even attended a party where he hung out with the likes of P. Diddy. On his way home from this party, Biggie lost his life to a drive-by shooter, and this is the last photo ever taken of him.
Trouble on the tracks
No matter where you go in the world, train and subway stations will always be crowded. As more and more people try to shove themselves into the carriages, it’s easy for people to be pushed out of the way.
In New York City, Ki-Suk Han was just another commuter trying to make his way to his next destination. However, his experience turned fatal when he was pushed onto the tracks. Although he tried to pull himself back up, he wasn’t able to move himself out of the way of the oncoming train.
The Ebola virus
There are many illnesses and diseases that have affected the world over the years, but the Ebola virus is perhaps the most notorious. Those around the world have had to deal with fatal outbreaks, and medical professionals tried to do everything they could to help those who had contracted the virus.
This often meant that they contracted it themselves, and that’s exactly what happened to Mayinga N’Seka. This photograph of the nurse was taken just a few days before she contracted Ebola herself, and passed away shortly after.
In September 1978, the Pacific Southwest Airlines Flight 182 took off from the runway in Sacramento. While on course to make its landing in San Diego, the plane crashed into a private light plane by the name of Cessna 172.
This photo depicts the moment that the flaming Flight 182 hurtled back down to the ground, where it would ultimately crash into housing developments. As well as taking the lives of 137 people on board, this crash also claimed the lives of 7 people in their homes.
Witnesses on live TV
In 1987, Budd Dwyer called local journalists and news stations to a press conference. They believed that the Treasurer of Pennsylvania was going to talk about the fact that he was accused of receiving a bribe while serving the State – but that wasn’t why he called them.
As the cameras were rolling, Budd shocked reporters by pulling out a weapon and taking his own life right in front of them. From this final photograph, you can see just how harrowing this must have been for those who were there on the day, and for those who watched at home.
Putting on a show
We all love to watch a show every now and then, and it’s down to professional performers to entertain us in the only way they know how.
However, with so much competition in the business, these performers are often looking for more exciting ways to thrill an audience. This may be why Karl Wallenda decided to perform a tight-rope routine without any form of safety net. Although the 73-year-old was a circus veteran, even he couldn’t survive the 121-foot drop back down to the earth.
A wild animal
If you saw a bear in the woods, what would you do? Would you run away? Would you move closer?
When the person behind this camera saw a grizzly bear walking in front of them, they knew it was important to keep some space between him and wild animal – but they also wanted to snap the perfect picture. Sadly, they never made it home to show off this photograph, and his phone was later found in the woods with teeth marks all over it. It’s believed that the bear got a little too close for comfort.
The people’s princess
Princess Diana will always be one of the most beloved members of the British Royal Family, and it’s safe to say that her passing will go down in history as one of the most devastating blows to the world.
Her passing is no secret, and people have debated the events surrounding the car crash that also cost the life of Dodi Fayed for many years. This harrowing photograph depicts the last few minutes of Princess Diana’s life, as she is snapped by the paparazzi who are tailing her. This photo will haunt us forever.
A couple’s photo
When you go on vacation with your significant other, it’s commonplace to take a couple’s photo in front of historic or interesting landmarks. That’s why this couple knew they had to take a photograph in front of Niagara Falls – but what they didn’t realize is that they wouldn’t be the focus of this picture.
If you look towards the background of this photo, you’ll notice a Japanese tourist in a red sweater. As she leaned over the barrier, this woman lost her footing, and although she tried to pull herself back up, she sadly fell.
The cursed car
James Dean is still regarded as one of the most famous men in history, but his story came to a devastating end just a short time after this photograph was taken.
At 24 years old, his Porsche Spyder was one of his most prized possessions, and he just loved to take it for a spin every. Sadly, he lost his life in this beloved car, after he was involved in a head-on collision. The world was shocked, but they were even more bemused when this so-called “cursed car” was later involved in even more collisions.
A tiger’s life
When visitors made their way to the New Delhi Zoo on this day, they had no idea that they would see Maqsood Khan for the first and the last time. The 20-year-old man surprised those around him when he jumped down from the walkway and into the den of a white tiger.
While Maqsood and the tiger simply stared at each other for around 15 minutes, the mood began to change when passers-by tried to distract the tiger and get Maqsood out. As they threw rocks, the tiger became enraged, and the effects were fatal.
If you were a fan of the popular band, TLC, you’ll know that Lisa Lopes was one of the hugely talented members. Before her 30th birthday, she and the band had already won a whopping four Grammy Awards, and their career was really taking off.
Sadly, Lisa’s career would be cut short just a few minutes after this video was taken. As Lisa was making her way down the street, she had to swerve to avoid a truck that was coming her way. As a result, she lost control of her vehicle and also lost her life.
Risking his life
It’s very difficult to predict natural disasters, but it was the job of David Johnson as a volcanologist, to try and predict when active volcanoes would erupt. In 1980, the 31-year-old made his way to an area that was six miles away from Mount St. Helens in Washington.
As soon as he noticed signs of disturbance, he alerted the authorities and ultimately saved many lives. However, he couldn’t save his own life, as he was caught in a lateral blast. He was one of 57 people who also passed away from this eruption.
It’s no secret that those on vacation like to take selfies of themselves, and this ABC News reporter was no different. While on vacation in Kauai, she decided to go for a hike and take in the views of the luscious rainforest and the water down below.
In fact, she even posted this selfie on social media for all of her followers to see. Yet, it’s believed that just a few minutes after taking this photo, the woman accidentally lost her footing and fell down into the water. While she was pulled out, she later passed away.
They never came home
When you go on vacation, you have all intentions of returning home. When these two Dutch women, Kris Kremers, and Lisanne Froon, made their way to Panama, that’s exactly what they were planning to do.
However, they had no idea that they would never return home, and that their mysterious case would stump law enforcement officials. These two went missing after going on a hike, and their belongings were found a few days later. Their phone records show that they tried to call the emergency services and that they took some disturbing photographs.
We all have dreams of diving with the fishes, but one man took his love of diving to new depths. Although he was primarily a TV and movie prop technician, Nicholas Mevoli spent his free time free-diving in the ocean.
Without any oxygen or equipment, he would dive to depths as deep as 236ft on just a single breath. When this photo was taken, he had just completed a dive that took 3 minutes and 38 seconds. Although he seemed okay, within seconds, he had lost consciousness. He could not be resuscitated.
A normal night out
As they got ready for a normal night out, Cheyenne Antoine and her friend did what many other people across the world do; they took a selfie. Here, they are all smiles, but what happened later that night will send chills down your spine.
Before the night was over, Cheyenne’s friend would have taken her last breath, after it’s alleged that Cheyenne strangled her with the black belt that she is wearing in this photograph. Although she did not remember doing it, Cheyenne was sent to prison.
If you’ve ever been to The Netherlands, you’ll know that wind turbines like this one are not uncommon. Although they are largely left to themselves, these turbines often need vital maintenance to make sure they are running smoothly.
On this particular day, two engineers made their way to the top of the turbine when it quickly caught fire. They were trapped, and they had no way out. One of the engineers decided to take the leap of faith, while the other simply accepted his fate. One onlooker took this scary photo.
Ready for her date
Dates are always extremely nerve-wracking, but Sydney Loofe was excited to get ready for her date. She took this selfie just before she left her home to meet the man she had been talking to on Tinder.
The next day, her Snapchat friends watched her story again and again, because they just couldn’t believe that she had been taken from them. While her date claimed that her passing was an accident, prosecutors later agreed that it was no such accident. This had been a hideous crime.
Ready for adventure
Marco Siffredi built his whole life around his snowboarding career, and he loved to push his own sense of adventure. When he made it his mission to snowboard down the side of Mount Everest, he impressed people across the world when he completed that mission by snowboarding down the Norton Couloir.
However, he wanted to go down the Hornbein Couloir, so tried to do it again. As he reached the top, he was struggling for breath but went down anyway. He did not make it to the bottom.
Their last game
The Humboldt Broncos are now a huge name in the world of sport, but that’s only partially because of their talent. In April 2017, the Canadian hockey team were traveling in their bus to a game in Saskatchewan – but they never got to play their game.
As they were driving along the road, they were hit by a truck that had not seen a stop sign. The devastating crash meant that 14 of the people in this photo lost their lives, and 16 people lost their lives overall. Many were also injured.
Surviving in the Andes
In 1972, news stations around the world reported on the fact that the Uruguayan Flight 571 had crashed into treacherous terrain in the Andes. There were 45 people on the plane at the time, and many of them came together to post for this photograph.
Just a short while later, the plane came crashing down – and 18 people immediately lost their lives. Amazingly, there were 27 survivors. It took weeks for these survivors to be rescued, and only 16 of those survivors managed to stay alive by living off the land.
Hiking in Yosemite
Yosemite National Park offers some of the most impressive views in the world, which is why so many people choose to hike here. This particular hiker took this photograph of his feet and probably intended to show it off to his friends and family when he got home.
Unfortunately, it’s believed that this hiker soon slipped and fell off the edge of this rock face. His phone was found here a month later, while his body was spotted at the bottom of this cliff. What a terrible tragedy.
All for the music
Since 2014, country music fans have made their way each year to the bright lights of Las Vegas. They do this to attend the famous Route 91 Harvest Festival, where some of the best bands and artists perform for their fans.
Yet, this festival suffered a blow in 2017, when a gunman made his way into the arena and opened fire. Denise Burditis and her husband were enjoying the music at the time and even posted this photograph to her Facebook page. Sadly, Denise was one of the 50 people who lost their lives that night.
A trip to Malaysia
In 2014, Gary and Petra Slok were looking forward to a mother-and-son trip to Kuala Lumpur. They had traveled from Amsterdam and were flying on the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 – which we now know would change the lives of all of those onboard.
Shortly after taking this happy selfie of the two of them, Petra and Gary would lose their lives. As the aircraft was shot down while flying over Ukraine, there was no chance of survival. In fact, all 296 of the passengers and crew lost their lives that day.
A devastating fire
When you go to a gig, you imagine a night of music, dancing, and excitement. In 2003, that’s exactly what revelers were looking forward to as they made their way to The Station Nightclub in Rhode Island.
They were going to see the Great White, and they were expecting to have a night to remember. Sadly, this became a night to remember for another reason. You can see in this photo the moment that the pyrotechnics caused a fire, which later spread throughout the whole club. Around 100 people sadly perished.
A new invention
In the 1940s, aircraft travel was not as common as it is now. This picture shows ten men all geared up to take a brand new aircraft out for a spin – including the mayor of St. Louis, William Becker.
This photograph was taken just before the aircraft made its way into the air, and the men were extremely excited to be a part of its maiden voyage. Unfortunately, as soon as the plane took off, a damaged wing caused a fatal crash. There were no survivors.