Just few weeks to Valentine, a young man in Navi Mumbai has become one out of many victims of selfie death when he lost his life while attempting to kiss a rescued cobra and click a selfie.
The incident happened last week, January 30, 2017, and reporters in India said the 25-year-old snake lover, Somnath Mhatre used to rescue snakes and other creatures, but his career line suddenly turned into a death trap for him.
According to News18, he was contacted to extract a poisonous cobra – a snake popularly known to freely roam the city, which had slithered into one of the private cars parked a nearby housing complex. After a successful reptile rescue mission, Mhatre took it some distance away to check for any injuries on the cobra, but due to a worse decision, the rescue mission became his last.
The snake was fine and ready to defend itself unbeknownst to Mhatre who actually click the selfie with his mobile phone but sudden, the snake aim its attack directly on his chest. As he bled from the poisonous snake bite, observers rushed him to a local hospital for treatment, but he succumbed to death, five days later.
This is a clear case of “live by the gun and die by the gun.” Cobras are one of the most dangerous snakes in the world and as much as Mhatre’s family members and colleague attested his success and expertise – as for the past few years, had rescued over 100 snakes and released them back in the wild safely, one can’t play with fire and expect not to get burned.
Records have shown that India top the list of most selfie death in the world, ranging from animal lovers, falls, train crush, car accidents, gun shots etc. Several reports revealed that from 2014 up to August 2016, there have been at least 54 deaths in India while taking selfies and just last year, 2016, a teenager accidentally pulled the trigger of a gun to his head while trying to take a selfie.
Various NGOs in the country dealing with animal welfare have reportedly written to forest department to issue a set of guidelines to be adopted by animal rescuers and for action to be taken against posted pictures of animal stunts on social media networks.
Another recent case of ‘romance with death’ involved an 18-year old teenager who was bitten by a cottonmouth snake he kept in a pillow case in his bedroom. According to the Daily Mail, the teen from Florida, Austin Hatfield kept the deadly wild snake in his bedroom as a pet and bragged about how many times he’d kissed the creature.
Hatfield’s friends who were with him when the snake bite his mouth said he had kissed the snake 12 times but he wasn’t so lucky the 13th time. The fatal bite came as he tried to recapture the snake which try to slither away form him.
Fortunately for him, the hospital had an antivenom for cottonmouths–known by the name because of the white, gaping mouth they often display when threatened, hence Hatfield survived unlike many other victims of selfie death