A 21-year-old hiker has died after he slipped and fell while taking a selfie from a peak in Arizona’s Superstition Mountains, authorities said.
Richard Jacobson’s body was found Monday morning almost 700 feet below where he and a companion had been camping on the Flatiron Peak at Lost Dutchman State Park east of Phoenix, CBS News reported.
“Mr. Jacobson went to go take a photograph with himself and the city skyline in the background — and he lost his footing and he slipped, and he fell,” Sgt. Doug Peoble with the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue told KPHO-TV.
“I can tell you that during our investigation, there were no signs of foul play. No signs of drug use whatsoever. It was just a very tragic accident,” Peoble said, Fox 10 reported.
Jacobson’s friend and fellow hiker called 911 about 12:45 a.m. Monday.
“As you can imagine, he was very distraught. He was torn up pretty bad emotionally. We were able to get a helicopter to him,” Peoble told Fox 10.
Friends said Jacobson had previously spent time as a missionary.
“He really was one of those guys that everyone loved, and it’s sad to lose him, but we know that it’s not the end,” friend Andrew Thomas told the station. “We’re going to see him again.”
He described Jacobson as a kind person with a good sense of humor.
“He was just my companion in that sense,” Thomas said. “I spent all my waking hours with Richard, so I got to know him pretty well … he was an outdoorsman, hunter, hiker. He did stuff like that, so I guess he did die doing what he loved to do, just in a tragic way.”
He added: “I hear stories about people whose old mission companions pass away, but I never thought it would happen to mine … just keep his family in your prayers.”
According to a study in the Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care, 259 people were killed while taking selfies from 2011 to 2017, CBS News reported.
In 2018, an Indian couple fell to their deaths from an outlook at Yosemite National Park in California while apparently taking a selfie.
The bodies of Vishnu Viswanath, 29, and Meenakshi Moorthy, 30, were recovered from about 800 feet below Taft Point, according to officials cited by NBC News at the time.
Viswanath’s brother, Jishnu Viswanath, said the couple had set up their tripod near the ledge before the accident.