Before the advent of cameras and camcorders, it was people’s last words that were remembered the most. Today, it’s more common to find a person’s final moments captured thanks to a device, whether it’s a smartphone or a CCTV camera. It’s also more common for people’s last moments to be seen:
- Live on TV
- Through selfies
- On pictures taken by a victim’s killers.
There’s something haunting about seeing a person before they cease to exist. Whether it’s a celebrity, or a stranger you’ve never met, the list of people whose last moments have been captured is endless, and they’re often the object of people’s morbid curiosity.
Some images perfectly capture the seconds before a tragedy strikes, and they can make you reflect on your own life and how quickly it can be taken away. Here’s a list of some of the most haunting and bone-chilling final images out there:
On October 29, 2014 in Ooltgensplaat, the Netherlands, a crew of four technicians conducted a routine maintenance on a 67 meter high wind turbine. A fire broke out while two of them were at the top, engulfing the only escape route. One of the men jumped from the top, hoping to survive the fall but he died instantly upon hitting the ground. Firefighters found his body in a field hundreds of meters away from the wind turbine. The cause of the fire is unknown, although authorities speculate that it was caused due to a short circuit.
Carl Williams was an Australian drug kingpin who was sentenced to life in prison. During his time behind bars, he reportedly started giving away the names and activities of his fellow drug traffickers, a decision that never goes well. One of his former associates had a friend inside the prison, and sent him after Williams. This image shows the associate’s friend creeping up on Williams while he holds a piece of tubular steel that he carved out of a bicycle. Williams’ body was found half an hour after this image was taken.
The last image of James Bulger, 1993. The little boy in the picture, James Bulger, was kidnapped by 10-year-old Jon Thompson who led him out of the mall. Along with Jon Venables, another 10-year-old, the two boys tortured and murdered the little boy for no apparent reason.
Parkour is the sport of jumping, scaling and leaping across and over structures. Some free-runners take their hobby to the next level, jumping over rooftops and tall buildings. Pavil Kashin flipped over the ledge of a 16-story building, missing the footing and falling over the edge to his untimely death.
Reynaldo Dagsa was a Filipino politician whose mission was to eradicate all violent gangsters in his native country. Unfortunately, his enemies proved to be deadlier than he expected, and on New Year’s Day in 2011 he was killed in front of his family. This image also shows Arnel Buenaflor as he jumps out of his car and fires the shot that would kill Mr. Dagsa, who was taking the picture. Two days later, Buenaflor and his partners were arrested and convicted of the murder.
In 1853, Joseph Avery went rafting on the Niagara River and never set foot on land again. During his trip, his boat capsized, killing everyone else on board instantly. Avery managed to grab hold of a log, but the rescue efforts were unsuccessful because of the strong currents. Avery spent 18 hours holding on to the log before he was swept over the falls.
This image shows the last step of Private Jack Rose. At the time the picture was taken, the soldier was already dead. A bullet from a German sniper’s rifle had already gone through his head while he patrolled the village of Bihain, Belgium on January 11th, 1945.
Pennsylvania State Treasurer Budd Dwyer, seconds before committing suicide in front of a press conference in 1986. Dawyer, who was wrongfully convicted on serious corruption charges, appeared at a press conference before he was removed from his position. After making an appeal for his innocence, Dwyer pulled a revolver from a paper bag and instructed onlookers to stay back before shooting himself in the head.
A teenager from Russia fell to his death right after posing for this risky Instagram update. While he attempted to hold on to the roof of a building with one hand, the 17-year-old fell nine stories to his death. The young man survived the impact, but he succumbed to his injuries a few hours later.
John Lennon, signing an autograph for Mark David Chapman. A few hours after the picture was taken, Chapman would shoot Lennon in the archway of the Dakota.
Gary Slok and his mother, passengers of the doomed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17. A few hours after this picture was taken, a missile shot down their plane as it flew over the Ukraine, killing all 296 passengers on board. The two were heading to a South Pacific vacation designed for single parents and their children.
A man named Maqsood, shortly after stepping into the tiger exhibit at the New Delhi Zoo. The man slipped 18 feet into the moat, alerting the tigers in the exhibit of his presence. What happened next is obvious, and it took rescuers a few hours before they were able to separate the tiger from the man’s body.
Notorious B.I.G, enjoying a night out with Sean Combs in Los Angels. Right after this picture was taken, Biggie drove away in his car. He was shot multiple times and rushed to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center where he died hours later. His death came six months after Tupac Shakur was killed in a similar shooting.