Trending These Incredible Photographs Were Taken Minutes Before Tragedy Struck Published 3 years ago on May 26, 2016 By Will Gardner They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and these historical images are definitely no exception. The following photos show the last moments before tragedies occurred that changed the lives of people far and wide throughout history. While you may not have heard all of them, they are all immortalized in celluloid to show just how fast life can take a turn. 1. The Fatal Stunt The “extreme selfie craze” that has gained popularity among risk-taking youth seeking to boast of their bravado, in some cases, ends in the ultimate tragedy. This schoolboy in Vologda, Russia was last pictured in the grasps of death trying to take a photo to add to his collection of risky Instagram shots. Yahoo The 17-year-old blonde teen scaled the side of a nine-story building when he was photographed in a one-handed stunt dangling off the structure. As the sun set he prepared to descend the rooftop. Unexpectedly, the young man slipped and plummeted downward, landing in a bush. Rushed to the hospital, doctors, unfortunately, were unable to save the severely injured youth. 2. The Challenger Explosion On January 28, 1986, NASA’s Challenger space shuttle exploded a mere 73 seconds after liftoff. Broadcast live on CNN, the spacecraft’s 10th mission ended in catastrophic disaster. All seven crew members were tragically killed in the blast. Bob Pearson-AFP-Getty Images The incident was ever more so traumatic as classrooms around the nation tuned in to the coverage to watch New Hampshire schoolteacher Christa McAuliffe, who would have been the first American civilian and teacher in space. 3. A Chilling Capture This haunting photo of Regina Kay Walters was disturbingly taken by her killer, Robert Rhoades, shortly before he ended her short life in an abandoned barn in Illinois. Known as “The Truck Stop Killer,” Rhoades had picked up a 14-year-old Walters and her boyfriend Ricky Lee Jones. Criminal Minds Encyclopedia Of the runaway teens from Texas, Rhoades is believed to have quickly killed Jones. The sadistic killer sadly kept Walters captive for longer, cutting her hair and abusing her. The infamous serial killer was believed to have murdered, tortured and raped over 50 women before being sentenced to life without parole. 4. The Final Flip Russian freerunner, Pavel Kashin, is pictured performing what would be his last backflip. The chilling capture of the daredevil in the midst of his final gravity-defying stunt was snapped seconds before he fatally fell from the 16-story building in St Petersburg. Parkour While trying to stick a landing, Kashin tragically lost his balance on the structure’s ledge and plummeted to his death. A friend of the young traceur allegedly took the picture and his family allowed its release to the Internet in hopes that it would prevent other youths from doing risky jumps. Keep scrolling to the next utterly shocking images. 5. A Fatal Flight Forty-three people were killed when TransAsia Airways Flight 235 crashed in Taiwan’s Keelung River after clipping a bridge in February 2015. The doomed aircraft went down only minutes after takeoff. Twitter/missxoxo168 According to a crash investigation report, the horrific spectacle occurred due to the pilot’s failure to identify and properly react to an engine problem. “WOW, pulled back the wrong side throttle,” were the chilling last words of the pilot. Miraculously, 15 of the 58 passengers survived the disaster. The entire cockpit crew sadly lost their lives. 6. Unhappy Trails The wonders of The Great Outdoors took a dark turn for this pair of hikers who were brutally murdered on one of America’s most famous trails. Geoffrey Hood, 26, and Molly LaRue, 25, were hiking the Appalachian Trail in 1990 when they encountered wanted fugitive Paul David Crews. Reddit On the run over accusations of a previous murder, Crews met the couple on Cove Mountain near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Harrowing police reports of the grisly double homicide say Hood’s body was found with three gunshot wounds while LaRue was bound, tortured and raped before she was fatally stabbed as many as eight times. 7. The Assassination of JFK Handsome and dignified, former US President John F. Kennedy was shockingly assassinated while riding in a presidential motorcade in Dallas, Texas in 1963. This iconic photograph was taken moments before former US Marine Lee Harvey Oswald fired the fatal shot. CNN The 46-year-old President is pictured riding with his wife, Jacqueline, Texas Governor John Connally, and Connally’s wife, Nellie right before the sorrowful event that shocked the nation. Kennedy was the fourth assassinated American president, following the murders of Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield and William McKinley. 8. Polar Opposites Attack A trip to the zoo took a “grizzly” (ok, polar) turn for the worst for this woman when she scaled a mature polar bear’s enclosure and was attacked by the powerful Arctic animal. Police said it was unclear why the woman entered the habitat at the Berlin Zoo. WENN The woman sustained several bites from the bear before she was hoisted to safety by zoo workers. The woman luckily escaped her brush with death and was treated in severe condition at a German hospital. Police, however, issued her a citation. 9. Sorrowful Legend of the Falls The Ontario couple pictured in this photo believe they might have captured the last moments of the life of a young Japanese woman who was swept over Niagara Falls. Andrea Smith and Jason Watson told local media that learning of the event had chilled them. Dressed in red in the left-hand corner, Ayano Tokumasu is seen standing on the railing of the natural wonder. Andrea Smith/Jason Watson The 20-year-old visiting student in Canada was described by her classmates as “bubbly” and “fun-loving.” Sadly, the young woman apparently lost her footing while standing on the edge of the falls and fell to her death. If you think that was shocking, you’ll never believe what’s on the next page. 10. Trigger Warning A young Arkansas woman posted chilling selfies on social media of her boyfriend pointing a gun at her, shortly before she was shot dead. Stephanie Hernandez, a 21-year-old mother of two, was found dead with a gunshot in her Little Rock home on the same day that she had uploaded the photos. Snapchat Police arrested Hernandez’s boyfriend, Rafael Gonzalez, on suspicion of first-degree murder. The victim’s family members told local news outlets that they were very disturbed by the images that appeared on social media shortly before her violent death. 11. Honeymoon of Horror Novice diver Christina Watson was honeymooning with her new husband, Gabe Watson, in Australia when shocking tragedy struck during a scuba outing at the Great Barrier Reef. Just 11 days after their wedding, this eerie underwater photograph accidentally captured the new bride laying motionless at the bottom of the sea while a rescuer rushes to her. Daily Mail Gabe Watson was jailed in Australia for 18 months and later tried for murder in Alabama after pleading guilty to manslaughter in the devastating drowning case. Gabe, an experienced diver with rescue qualification, allegedly drowned his wife by tampering with her oxygen supply and failed to help the distressed woman. 12. Bridge of Troubles Arizona woman Heather Price Papayoti was accidentally pictured in this shot by a bypasser shortly before jumping to her death from the Hoover Dam bypass bridge. The 42-year-old mother of one took a taxi some 280 miles to the overpass. Francesca Bosco Shortly before sunset, Papayoti apparently managed to climb the five-foot barrier railing and plummeted about 900 feet to the Colorado River. The heart-wrenching incident marked the seventh suicide at the location since the bridge’s opening in October 2010. 13. The Fall of a Hero Indian film star Jayan always performed his own stunts, as was the case in 1980 during the filming of a climactic scene for his upcoming movie Kolilakkam. The iconic action hero insisted on a retake of the scene in which he performed the pictured dangerous helicopter stunt. YouTube The helicopter’s pilot then lost control and crashed while Jayan was perched on the aircraft’s landing skids. The 41-year-old actor, born Krishnan Nair, then succumbed to his wounds, leaving his fans in a state of shock and disbelief. 14. Press Conference Catastrophe On January 22, 1987, American politician Robert Budd Dwyer hosted a press conference where he was expected to tender his resignation. The 30th State Treasurer of Pennsylvania was embroiled in a corruption case when he decided to address the media. Utter chaos then ensued. AP Upon finishing his speech, Dwyer withdrew a .357 Magnum revolver from his belongings before firing one fatal shot into his mouth and falling to the ground. Controversy abound when several TV stations ended up broadcasting the disturbing footage of the suicide. 15. Death in the Fast Lane French motor racing driver Jules Bianchi is seen in what is thought to be the last photo of him before he lost control of his car and died from injuries sustained in a 2014 crash. The handsome Formula One driver was only 25 years old at the time of his devastating death. Imgur Bianchi lost control of his vehicle amid wet conditions at the Japanese Grand Prix, colliding with a recovery tractor tending to another crashed car. He was the first Formula One driver to be killed in a Grand Prix accident since the 1994 crash that took the life of Brazilian driver Ayrton Senna. 16. Heartbreaking Mother-Son Selfie Dutch teen Gary Slok, 15, joyfully poses with his mother Petra before takeoff aboard the doomed Malaysia Airlines Flight MH14. The pair was headed to Kuala Lumpur as part of a trip for single parents and their children. Daily Mail About three hours into the flight from Amsterdam, the aircraft was shot down by a missile over Ukraine, devastatingly killing the mother-son pair along with all of the 281 other passengers and crew on the flight. Heartbreakingly, at least 20 family groups were said to be aboard the jet. 17. The Loss of a Luminary Iconic American civil rights leader and clergyman Martin Luther King Jr. was a champion of the tactics of nonviolence. Yet, the renowned activist met a violent end. While visiting Memphis in support of a sanitation workers’ strike, King was assassinated on a balcony at the Lorraine Motel. AP This photo depicts the Nobel Prize winner standing with fellow civil rights trailblazers Jesse Jackson and Ralph Abernathy on April 3, 1968, the day before he was fatally shot by escaped convict, James Earl Ray. In 2012, the National Civil Rights Museum opened the infamous balcony to visitors for the first time since King’s murder. Continue for more photos that will forever be engrained in history. 18. Terror in the Swiss Countryside The small Swiss town of Rupperswill became the center of focus after it was rocked by a shocking quadruple murder case. A long-time youth soccer coach named by local media as Thomas N. was arrested for the murder of local citizen Carla Schauer, her two teenage sons and a son’s girlfriend. Reddit This tragic image shows Schauer, 48, as she was forced by her future killer to withdraw money from a bank. The victims of the brutal crime were held hostage for hours and abused before the perpetrator murdered them and set their house ablaze. 19. Into the Fateful Wild Itinerant traveler Christopher McCandless gave up the comforts of middle-class life and traveled across North America, finally hitchhiking to Alaska. While attempting to live off the land with minimal supplies, McCandless eventually met his fate. Christopher McCandless The 24-year-old, who inspired Jon Krakauer’s book “Into the Wild” and an eponymous film adaptation, took this final self-portrait using a camera stand. In the photo he is seen holding a placard that reads; “I have had a happy life and thank the lord. Goodbye and may God Bless All!” 20. A Heroic Sacrifice Imgur Dave Sanders was the only teacher killed at the Columbine High School Massacre. The heroic teacher stayed behind in the cafeteria to help students escape. Sanders ran into the two shooters in the hallway minutes after this image was taken, and was shot to death. 21. A Sharp Drop In the Polls Imgur Pictured are ten politicians, including the mayor of St. Louis, who all lost their lives in a 1943 crash when their plane plummeted to the ground, in what became known as the Lambert Tragedy. 22. A Floating Blaze Geoff Walker 11 people lost their lives the day a hot air balloon collided with power lines and ignited a blaze. The incident took place in 2012 in New Zealand, and is the third deadliest hot air balloon tragedy to this day. 23. The Miracle of Four Reddit 4 of the 524 people on board escaped with their lives after a malfunction caused this Japanese plane to crash into a mountain. The plane crashed less than an hour after takeoff. 24. Rebel With a Car Imgur Legendary actor James Dean filling up his car on his way to a race in 1955. The Rebel Without A Cause star died in a crash shortly after this picture was taken. 25. Lost to the Unclimbable Imgur In their bid to reach the top of Mt. Everest in 1924, legendary climbers Sandy Irvine and George Mallory were snapped in this picture before never being seen again. 26. The Meaning of ‘Falls’ Imgur In his attempt to garner attention for a good cause, Robert Overacker’s parachute fails to open as he goes off Niagara Falls, and he later dies in the hospital from his injuries. 27. The (Fire) Station Imgur Due to faulty pyrotechnics, the back of the stage at The Station sets fire and 100 lose their lives between the blaze, smoke, and trampling. The tragedy occurred at the concert of Great White in 2003. 28. Shots Heard Around the World Imgur A shooting would claim the life of rapper Christopher Wallace, a.k.a Notorious B.I.G., shortly after this final picture was taken of him alive. 29. Too Fast, Too Furious Imgur In this image, actor Paul Walker is getting into the Porsche that would later crash and claim his life. Known mainly for his roles in the Fast & Furious franchise, it was somewhat ironic that Walker would eventually die in a car crash. 30. Flight of the Fireball Hans Wendt On Septmber, 1978, flight 182 collided with a small Cessna and crashed into the ground, resulting in the deaths of 135 passengers and 7 bystanders. 31. Titanic Takeoff Imgur This is the last picture of “the unsinkable ship”, the Titanic, before it sailed onto its fated voyage. Taken on April 14, 1912, there seemed to be nothing in the world that would sink the enormous ship. Hours later, the Titanic struck an iceberg on its way from Europe to the United states, killing most of its 2,224 passengers. 32. Nature Bites Back NJ.com This picture was taken by a hiker before the bear fatally attacked and sadly killed him. 22 year old Darsh Patel’s mobile phone was found in the woods after he was tragically killed, with marks from the bear’s teeth. 33. Jet-Fueled Takeoff Wikipedia A malfunction of this 2000 Air France flight caused this jet to crash into a hotel and explode shortly after, killing 104 people. The plane, set to fly from Paris to New York, hit an object on the runway, puncturing its fuel tank and blowing a tire. This image was taken shortly after one of the engines exploded. 34. Imagine Ebaums World In this truly remarkable picture, John Lennon signs an autograph for his future killer, Mark David Chapman, who’s standing right behind him. The “fan” tool Lennon’s life merely 10 minutes after the photo was taken, claiming he was influenced by J. D. Salniger’s ‘The Catcher in the Rye’. 35. A Day That Will Live in Infamy olats.org This picture was taken right as the second plane struck the Twin Towers. 36. On Thin Ice Reddit The 1961 U.S. Figure Skating Team before their plane crashed in Brussels killing them all. 37. The Final Show of Johnny Cash Johnny Cash is still an American music icon. He was a singer, songwriter, guitarist, actor and author. His last live performance was when he was 71 years old, just a few months before his death. imgur.com The performance took place at the Carter Ranch in Hiltons, VA. Sadly, Cash never got to perform again. He died September 2003, from a complications of diabetes and, they say, a broken heart after the death of his beloved wife June. 38. Patrick Swayze Battling Cancer The picture below is the last known photo of Patrick Swayze, one of America’s biggest heartthrobs. You probably remember him from romantic movies such as Dirty Dancing and Ghost. imgur.com Sadly, Swayze was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2008, and passed away only a year later, when he was 57 years old. 39. The Ebola Scare The horrific disease made headlines again during the last couple of years, but the first known outbreak of the Ebola virus was in 1976 in Zaire, now Democratic Republic of Congo. imgur.com In the picture you can see nurse Mayinga N’Seka lying on her deathbed, with two other nurses watching over her. Only a few days after this picture was taken, N’Seka succumbed to the virus and died. 40. The Last Picture of Ian Curtis Ian Curtis was the madly talented frontman of the band Joy Division. For years, he suffered from epilepsy and depression, which eventually got to the point he couldn’t take it anymore. imgur.com On 18 May 1980, Curtis committed suicide right before Joy Division was scheduled to embark on their first North American Tour. Just days before Curtis hung himself in his kitchen, this photo was taken. It shows Curtis posing with his infant daughter, Natalie. 41. The 9/11 Victim Just one day before the 9/11 terror attack, Jon Kelly attended a game at the Yankee Stadium with his two sons. The next day, Kelly was killed during the attack on the World Trade Center. imgur.com This chilling photo is his last one. Kelly was one of almost 3000 people who died that day. 42. The Hally Family The Hally family was one of at least twenty family groups that were on board of the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. On July 17, 2014, the airplane was shot down over Ukraine. imgur.com The shootdown killed 298 people and there were no survivors amongst the crew and passengers, eighty of them under the age of 18. Dave Hally took the photo of his wife and 4-year-old daughter before takeoff, and this is their last picture. 43. The Iron Lady This is the last known picture of Margaret Thatcher, which was taken before her death in 2013, at the age of 87. She was the Prime Minister of England between 1979-1990. imgur.com Thatcher’s uncompromising leadership is well remembered to this day. She was also the longest-serving British Prime Minister of the 20th century! In this picture, she is seen with her children, several months before she died after a series of strokes. 44. The Sad Clown As we all remember, the world was shocked to discover that actor Robin Williams took his own life on August 11, 2014. He was 63 years old. imgur.com This picture is the last known image of Williams, shown here posing with a fan. The funnyman’s 5-decade-long career came to a tragic end, and it was later discovered that he was suffering from severe anxiety and depression following being diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. 45. Surfing With Giants Now this is a terrifying image. This innocent surfer was probably scarred for life after seeing the unwelcomed guest who found his way into the picture. He should be thankful he made it out alive! imgur.com Wonder if he ever got back to surfing… Source: Life Daily UP NEXT Gunsmoke: Top Facts Behind The Longest-Lived Show on Television... 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