Before Tragedy Struck…


This Concorde plane was headed from Paris to New York City. During takeoff, it ran over some debris that punctured a tire and blew its fuel tank. The plane crashed into a nearby hotel. All 109 people on board and four on the ground lost their lives.


Robert “Budd” Dwyer was the Treasurer of Pennsylvania from 1981 to 1987 when he was accused of receiving a bribe in exchange for over-withholding taxes on every state employee’s income. So while his trial was being played on live television, he pulled a revolver out of a manila envelope, put it in his mouth, and pulled the trigger. Millions of people saw it.


This is the last known photograph taken of the Titanic before it crashed into an iceberg. The Titanic was called the “unsinkable ship.”


In 2012, a scenic hot air balloon ride from Carterton, New Zealand, crashed into high voltage power lines. All twelve people lost their lives. The pilot may have been under the influence at the time.


Filippino politician Reynaldo Dagsa was taking a picture of his daughter, wife, and mother-in-law when he captured something else: a photograph of the gang member who was about to end his life. Dagsa passed away at the scene, but his three relatives were not harmed.


This is the final picture of Paul Walker, taken shortly before his life ended, getting into the Porsche Carrera GT with his friend Roger Rodas. The two men passed away after the car crashed into a tree going 100 mph. Their bodies were burned beyond recognition.


In this photo, Japanese student Ayano Tokumasu is seen in the background, standing looking at Niagara Falls a moment before she straddled the railings, and took her own life by jumping into the falls.


Martin Luther King, Jr. is pictured here on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, TN on April 3rd, 1968. He’s pictured with civil rights leaders Hosea Williams, Jesse Jackson, and Ralph Abernathy. The next day, he would be gunned down by James Earl Ray on this very balcony.


An engine flame-out caused a domestic flight in Taiwan to topple in midair, then crash into the Keelung River in front of hundreds of eyewitnesses. Forty-two of the 58 people on board lost their lives.


This is the last picture ever taken of a man named Joe Kelly with his two sons at a Yankees game on September 10th, 2001. He passed away the next day in the September 11th attacks on the Twin Tower buildings, where he worked.


In 1943, St. Louis politicians, including Mayor William D. Becker, sat aboard a military glider for a test run. In midair the left wing collapsed, and all ten people lost their lives as it crashed into the earth.


Tina and David Watson were newlyweds on their honeymoon to Australia, going for a dive at the Great Barrier Reef. David told Tina he was certified in scuba diving, but he was lying. When currents got too much for Tina to handle, instead of attempting to rescue her, David swam back to the surface. The picture of Tina in the background, lying on her side, is the final picture other divers took while she was (maybe) still alive.


In 1976, the first widespread Ebola outbreak was reported. Mayinga N’Seka, a nurse, is pictured here looking at the camera. Just a few days later, she herself would pass away from the highly contagious virus.


In 1961, all 18 of the members of U.S. figure skating team, along with their coaches and family members, lost their lives in a plane crash on the way to Brussels. It was such a disaster for the sport that the year’s World Figure Skating Championships were canceled.


Dale Earnhardt lost his life in a three-car collision during the Daytona 500 in 2001. This is one of the last images ever taken of him before he got into his legendary #3 black race car.


This is the last known photo of Patrick Swayze taken before he succumbed to pancreatic cancer on September 14, 2009.


British explorer Lt. Col. Henry Worsley lost his life in January 2016 while attempting to complete the first solo, unaided crossing of the Antarctic. He walked 913 miles in 69 days and was only 30 miles from his final destination when he radioed for help and was helicoptered to a nearby hospital. However, he didn’t make it–he went into organ failure caused by severe dehydration and exhaustion. This was his last selfie, taken in his tent.


The Rangoon, Burma bombing of 1983 was an attempt on the life of South Korean President Chun Doo-hwan. Three North Korean bombers attacked a memorial event. In total, 21 people lost their lives, including four South Korean top officials–but President Chun was saved because bad traffic caused him to be late.


This is a picture of the Hally family on-board Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. According to American and German officials, the plane was shot down over Ukraine by a missile by pro-Russian insurgents, who likely believed it was an enemy plane. All 298 people on the plane lost their lives.


The Granite Mountain Hotshots were an offshoot of the Prescott, Arizona fire department who specifically fought wildfires. They went to fight a massive wildfire in Yarnell Hill ignited by lightning. Unfortunately, the fire overran and 19 of the 20 members lost their lives. It was the greatest loss of firefighters since September 11th.


In 1998, a car bomb placed by the Real Irish Republican Army went off in Omagh, Ireland in the red car pictured here. The bomb ended the lives of 31 people. The father and son in the picture survived, but the photographer did not.


On May 30, 1937, the Chicago Police Department fired on unarmed steel workers and their families who were on strike and marching toward the steel mill. Ten people lost their lives and 30 were injured.


A college student named Elisa Lam disappeared in 2013. Her body was eventually found in a water tank at the top of the Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles. In her final moments alive, she was filmed getting on and off the elevator, talking to herself, and seemingly hiding from someone. No one knows how she ended up in the water tank.


When Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold entered Columbine High School on April 20, 1999, they shot 12 students and one teacher. That one teacher was William “Dave” Sanders who ran to the cafeteria to warn students. He was able to safely evacuate everyone in the room, even though he later lost his own life.


This is the final known image of comedic actor Robin Williams, taken here with a fan a few days before he took his own life. Williams had a lifelong struggle with anxiety and depression, and a recent diagnosis of Lewy Body Dementia may have contributed to his mental state.


In 1985, a Boeing 747 flying from Tokyo to Osaka had a sudden explosive decompression because of a faulty repair. The plane then crashed into Mount Takamagahara. All 15 crew members and 505 of 509 passengers lost their lives, making it the worst single-aircraft accident ever.


In 2008, Adelir Antônio de Carli, a Brazilian priest, attempted to break the world record for cluster ballooning by staying in the air with 600 balloons for over 19 hours. He trained for the event, but he didn’t know how to use his phone’s GPS to alert people to his location. Parts of his body washed ashore two months after he took off.


The beloved actor from Rebel Without a Cause was pictured with his Porsche at a gas station in 1955, just hours before his fatal crash with the same car. He was on his way to a racing event.


In 2013, Pavel Kashin, a noted free runner and Parkour enthusiast, performed his last trick. He was trying to back flip against the wall, lost his balance, and fell 16 stories. He did not survive his injuries. His friends captured the image.


In 1995, daredevil Robert Overacker was attempting to jet ski over Niagara Falls in order to raise awareness for the homeless. Unfortunately, his parachute failed to open and he lost his life.


This is the last photo ever taken of rapper Notorious B.I.G. He’s pictured here with his friend Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs. After he left this party, his life ended in a drive-by shooting which remains unsolved.


George Mallory and Sandy Irvine are pictured here in 1924 at their camp at the base of Mt. Everest, shortly before beginning the ascent of a journey from which they would never return. They were attempting to be the first to reach the top of Mt. Everest–whether or not they reached their goal before dying is still a topic of debate.


In 2014, Darsh Patel, age 22, took this picture of a bear that kept approaching him and the group of friends with whom he was hiking. He lost his life after the bear attacked him, and his cell phone was found with puncture wounds.


Heather Price Papayoti is pictured here looking over the Hoover Dam bypass bridge on January 16, 2014. Just moments later, she jumped over the railing and ended her own life.


Pictures of Freddie Mercury in April 1991 surfaced and led to reports that he had AIDS. Mercury denied the rumors that he was ill until two days before his life ended on November 24, 1991. He gained notoriety as the first major rock star to pass from AIDS.


The band Great White was performing at The Station nightclub in Rhode Island in 2003 when a fire caused by the band’s pyrotechnics and flammable sound insulation broke out and ended the lives of 100 people, including guitarist Ty Longley. In this picture, a musician notices the start of the fire.


On April 27, 1865, the steamboat Sultana exploded while floating on the Mississippi River. An estimated 1800 of the 2427 passengers on board lost their lives — three of the ship’s four boilers exploded at once. To this day, it is the greatest maritime disaster in United States history.


This picture, taken in 1944, shows Soviet guerrilla soldiers executing a traitor. It’s unknown why they’re doing this, but it’s suspected this photograph took place in Germany, behind enemy lines.


This is the last photograph ever taken of Ian Curtis of the band Joy Division. He is pictured here with his daughter Natalie. Five days later, suffering from epilepsy, depression, and a rift in his marriage, he took his own life in his kitchen.


Dr. Jamie Zimmerman, who was a doctor and a reporter for ABC News, uploaded this photograph to her Facebook page while she was on vacation in Hawaii. Shortly after the picture was taken, however, she lost her footing and fell into a river, where her body was swept out to the same sea in the picture.


This photograph shows Johnny Cash giving one final performance in July 2003. It would be the final show of his life. He was in a wheelchair and had to be carried onstage because there was no ramp. The unannounced show took place at The Carter Ranch in Hiltons, VA. His beloved wife, June Carter Cash, had passed away only two months prior to this picture.


In this photograph, Cadet Stephen Hilder smiles for the camera for one last moment. Afterward, he would jump, having sabotaged his parachute and his back-up parachute. Medical examiners initially thought that someone else sabotaged him, but determined later that he had sabotaged his own parachutes and had taken his own life.


In 1933, Chicago mayor Anton Cermak was shot while shaking hands with the President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt. The shooter, Giuseppe Zangara, was supposedly trying to target Roosevelt.


Joey Feek, a country singer from married duo Joey + Rory, passed away on March 4th after a long battle with cervical cancer. She is seen here kissing her two-year-old daughter, Indiana.


In 2015, a man in Rupperswill, Switzerland held a mother, her two sons, and her son’s girlfriend hostage for hours, abused them, and forced the mother to withdraw money from her bank for him before he ended their lives.


Two Florida teenagers, Austin Stephanos and Perry Cohen, are presumed to have lost their lives after they never returned from a boating trip off of Jupiter Inlet near Palm City Beach. The boat was found, but the bodies never were.


Fourteen-year-old Regina Kay Walters and her boyfriend Ricky Lee Jones were runaway teens from Texas when they were picked up by Robert Rhoades. Jones lost her life immediately, but Walters was kept, had her hair cut, and was forced to wear this dress before Rhoades took her to an abandoned barn and ended her life. He took one last haunting photo.


In 1978, a commercial airliner collided with a private airplane in mid-air over San Diego. 144 people lost their lives, making this the worst aircraft disaster in California history. The incident prompted massive changes in air traffic rules to ensure nothing similar would happen again.


This picture shows hikers Molly LaRue and Geoff Hood, who were hiking the Appalachian Trail in 1990. They were both shot on Cove Mountain in Pennsylvania by a drifter who was on the run from law enforcement.


This photo shows a woman named Deana Wild in 1987, just moments before she is pushed off of a cliff. Just the day before, a $35,000 life insurance policy was taken out on her by her two housemates, Virginia Rearden and Billie Joe McGinnis.


This is the last photo ever taken of French Formula One driver Jules Bianchi before he lost control of his vehicle and collided with another car in October 2014.


While filming the movie Kolilakkam, popular Indian actor Krishnan Nair (known by his stage name, Jayan) passed away while performing a stunt on a helicopter in 1980.


Christopher McCandless went to live alone in the Alaskan wilderness with bare minimal knowledge of survival, and was convinced a spiritual force would keep him safe — but it didn’t. This photo, taken himself with a camera stand, shows him holding a card that says “I have had a happy life and thank the lord. Goodbye and may God Bless All!”


Four engineers were caught on top of a windmill turbine, performing routine maintenance, before it suddenly caught fire. Two were able to escape, but the remaining two passed away.


About the author

Jason Donner

Jason Donner devoured the universe and you are all living inside him.