Witnesses say a man simply walked off a cliff, but it wasn’t intentional as he was distracted by the device in his hand. He was fixated on some type of electronic device, but it is not clear whether that device was his phone or a camera. The 33-year-old man was looking at the device as he walked along a cliff in San Diego. Witnesses said that he just went over, falling 60-feet to his death.
According to CNet.com on December 27, the deceased man was identified as Joshua Burwell of Sheridan, Indiana, who was visiting the area. Witnesses said he had another person with him at the time.
Three people who saw what happened quickly scaled down the cliff face to try and help the man. It was about 5 p.m. on Friday, Christmas Day, when the man went over the cliff.
According to AJC.com the bystanders who made their way to Burwell tried CPR, but it was to no avail. When the first responders arrived, he was pronounced dead on the scene.
Witnesses said the man may have pulled his car over to get out and capture a picture of the sunset. San Diego lifeguard Bill Bender, who was one of the witnesses to Burwell’s fall said, “(He) wasn’t watching where he was walking. He was looking down at the device in his hands.”
Distractions from a cell phone make headlines frequently when it comes to accidents while driving. Walking accidents due to distraction from an electronic device are growing in number and have been seen in recent headlines. A tourist at the Taj Mahal died when he toppled down the steps while taking a selfie with his phone earlier this year.
In the summer of 2014 a family of four taking selfies instantly turned into a family of two, when the parents went over the cliff. Witnesses ran to get the screaming kids in fear they’d go over next, as they watched their parents fall to their deaths. Three years ago a woman was texting on a cliff in Alaska when she went over. This woman luckily survived her fall.
According to The Pulse, in 2015 more people died while taking a selfie than died from a shark attack. These statistics just include selfies, this doesn’t include deaths from cell phone use and text messaging while driving.
This year 19 people died in selfie-related incidents and eight people died from a shark attack. While there were 19 selfie-related deaths, there were scores more reports of injuries due to cell phone distraction, whether that was taking a selfie, texting or making a phone call.
Being distracted by your cell phone is a cause of death that was unheard of just a few decades ago. Cell phones, which were first made available to the public in the early 80s, were not affordable to the average person. It is only in the last few decades that owning a cell phone has become as prevalent as wearing shoes!