Selfie stunt ends in tragedy

MILANO – A selfie photo challenge has led to the death of a 15-year-old boy, police sources said on Monday.

 Andrea Barone and his friends had climbed over gates, fences and the outer ramps of the fire stairs to reach the highest point of the Sarca Shopping Centre in Sesto San Giovanni, Milan.

 They had risked their lives many times before to capture the selfie ‘trophy’. But as they climbed down, Andrea fell from the mouth of the ventilation pipe, ending up on the second floor of the building – a 40 metre fall.

 The boys triggered an alarm detecting movement on the external stairs at around 10.20 pm on Saturday night. When they went out to check, the building’s security guards ran into Andrea’s friends.

 “Our friend is up there, we think he has fallen, we can’t find him,” they said.

 Firefighters arrived, having to perform a complicated manoeuvre to extract the teen. He was taken to the hospital in Niguarda where he died despite desperate attempts to revive him.

 It is not the first and it will not be the last such incident to occur in Italy, consumer watchdog Codacons said.

“Web and social networks, through photos and videos, push more and more young people to perform dangerous stunts to get high or simply take a picture in extreme conditions,” Codacons President Carlo Rienzi said. “A plague that cannot be contained and has already claimed victims in our country.”

  At the core of this phenomenon is a desire to match or surpass photos or videos seen online, he said.

  “In this sense, social networks have certain responsibilities because it is their job to immediately remove pages and photos that could pose a danger to other users,” Mr. Rienzi added.

  “This is why we call for the Public Prosecutor to arrange investigations into digital platforms that allow the publication of selfies or videos achieved in high risk situations, and to block any content that glorifies dangerous situations, for the safety of younger children.”