Thursday 18 January 2018

Tourist plunges to his death while posing for photograph at Machu Picchu

Tragedy in Peru

Machu Picchu, Peru. Photo: Deposit Photos
Machu Picchu, Peru. Photo: Deposit Photos

Chris Graham

A German tourist has died after falling off a cliff while posing for a picture at the ancient site of Machu Picchu.

Oliver Park reportedly went into a restricted area near a ravine in the Peruvian Andes on Wednesday, despite safety signs and warnings from wardens, officials said.

The 51-year-old lost his footing while posing for a photograph of himself jumping as if in flight, the BBC reported.

He slipped and fell 100 metres into the ravine, which is strewn with rocks and jungle, local media said. A warden, who was nearby, alerted the emergency services, who declared him dead at the scene.

His body was recovered on Thursday and taken to a local police station before being transferred to a morgue in the city of Cusco, according to the broadcaster.

Machu Picchu (which means “old mountain” in the Quechua language) is one of the best known and most visited tourist destinations in South America.

The 550-year old citadel was built by the Inca civilisation in the 15th century and is perched high in the Peruvian Andes at 7,973ft above sea level.

Authorities have struggled to maintain tourist safety at the site, with tourist deaths usually linked to altitude sickness, floods and hiking accidents.

In 2010, thousands of people had to be evacuated from Machu Picchu due to flooding in the area.

Deaths while posing for a photograph have become increasingly common in recent years, particularly with the rise of the selfie phenomenon.

Last year, more people died while taking selfies than by shark attacks.

In September, a Melbourne student was thought to have fallen to her death after losing her balance while attempting to take a selfie at Norway’s Trolltunga rock which juts out 700 metres above Lake Ringedalsvatnet.

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