Photography lets people capture unforgettable memories. Sometimes, they lead to certain magical photos when captured at just the right time. In the age of internet oversharing, intrepid photographers have gifted us with many wonderfully inspirational images…but these aren’t them. The people who captured these images were strong enough to not blink in the face of adversity to capture moments that will last an Internet lifetime. Take a look at these 10 images taken a second before disaster struck.
1. Ooltgensplaat disaster: Two workers embracing their final moment.
This heartbreaking image was captured from Ooltgensplaat, Netherlands in 2013. While performing a routine maintenance, the wind turbine caught on fire. Two of the technicians managed to get to the stairs and escape but these two were trapped. There wasn’t much they could do so the two embraced before one tried his luck at jumping, almost 200 feet, to his death. The other technician tried his luck by crawling down through the tube that was ablaze. Sadly, he was trapped and he too died. They were 19 and 21 years old.
2. Carl Williams: An Australian drug kingpin who became an informant before being beaten to death inside a prison.
Carl Williams, an Australian drug kingpin was finally arrested for his crimes and sentenced to life in prison. In order to reduce his sentence, Williams decided to cooperate with Australian authorities and started providing them with incriminating details about his associates. When word got out on streets that Williams was talking, his associates hired a man inside prison to keep him quiet forever. The above image is a screengrab of a CCTV footage, taken seconds before Williams was beaten to death by an inmate with a piece of metal torn out of an exercising bike. Sadly, authorities didn’t discover Williams’ body for another half hour.
3. James Bulger: A little British boy who was abducted and murdered by two 10 year old boys.
This horrifying image was captured by a British mall surveillance camera in 1993. The little boy can be seen holding hands with a 10 year old who is walking him straight towards the exit. After exiting the building, another 10-year-old who was waiting outside joined them. Without any reason, the older boys took little James to a secluded location and murdered him in cold blood. The discovery of James’ body shocked the nation and British authorities started a manhunt. The 10 year old boys were finally recognized and arrested for their heinous crime. The killers were held for years in a juvenile detention center and upon release as adults, were given new identities in order to protect them.
4. Pavel Kashin: A parkour enthusiast’s final trick.
Parkour, a training discipline which requires extreme mind and body coordination, is considered a method that develops one’s ability to overcome obstacles. However, some people like to take it to an extreme level and put their lives at risk. The image above is of Pavel Kashin, a Russian freerunner famous for his death-defying feats and superb agility. In 2013, he was performing a stunt which would see him backflip on the edge of a 16-story building in St. Petersburg. His friend, who was there to capture the mind blowing feat, witnessed a different scenario. Pavel flipped on the ledge of the building with the successful maneuver, but he lost his footing on landing; sending him plunging 16 stories down. The image of his last backflip was released on to the internet by his family, who hoped it would prevent others from attempting such dangerous stunts in the future. Videos of Kashin’s amazing freerunning ability can be found all over the Internet.
5. Reynaldo Dagsa: A Filipino politician captured the image of his assassin, a second before the trigger was pulled.
Reynaldo Dagsa was a Filipino politician who specialized in antagonizing violent gangsters. Dagsa was cracking down on gangsters and drug dealers at a fast rate, giving them no chance to escape. This made him the main target, and every day Dagsa received death threats. Nevertheless, he continued to do his job and wanted to see his country free of thugs and drugs. The above image was captured by Dagsa himself, moments before his demise. On New Year’s Day in 2011, Dagsa, who was celebrating the occasion with his family, decided to take a picture of them. This picture also shows a man named Arnel Buenaflor jumping out of his car and firing the shot that would kill Reynaldo. Buenaflor and two partners were arrested within days of the murder. This is another case where the victim solved his own murder.
6. Waco glider: A poorly-fastened bolt came loose on its first public exhibition in St. Louis in 1943, causing it to crash and kill 10 people.
During its first public exhibition in St. Louis in 1943, a poorly-fastened bolt caused one of its wings to come off and sent the glider plummeting 2,000 feet onto Lambert field. Onlookers described the glider to hit the ground with a dull thud. The disaster was responsible for the deaths of 10 people.
7. John Lennon: Signing an autograph a few hours before he was murdered.
The image above shows John Lennon signing an autograph for Mark David Chapman – one of Lennon’s biggest fan. However, a few hours after this image was captured, Chapman shot Lennon while he was returning to his apartment.
8. Gary Slok: A 15 year old boy who can be seen taking a selfie with his mother onboard doomed Flight MH17, moments before take-off.
Gary Slok, 15, and mother Petra Langeveld were going on holiday. Gary decided to take a selfie to cherish the moment with his mother just before take-off. However, the Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 which took off from Amsterdam in June 2014, was shot down three hours later. Gary was one of 80 youngsters killed in crash over Ukraine.
9. Maqsood: A 20-year-old man from India crossed two barriers and ended up falling into the zoo’s Tiger exhibit.
According to a news agency in India, Maqsood, a 20-year-old man from New Delhi, decided to climb over barriers and enter a restricted zone. As he was walking over the ledge, he lost his footing and ended up falling 18 feet into the moat. The image captured by a bystander shows Maqsood begging for his life. Although zoo keepers hurried to help Maqsood, it was too late and they had to recover his torn body from the pit.
10. Regina Kay Walters: A 15-year-old from Pasadena, Texas, disappeared in February 1990.
Robert Ben Rhoades, a.k.a. “The Truck Stop Killer”, is an American rapist and serial killer. Born in Council Bluffs, Iowa, Rhoades was raised alone by his mother and made a living by driving long-haul rigs throughout the country. The trucker also kept a torture dungeon in the cab of his long-haul rig and was a sadistic killer. Regina Walters, from Pasadena, Texas, disappeared in February 1990, along with her 18-year-old boyfriend; who told friends they planned to hitchhike to Mexico. All of Rhoades’ known victims were young couples and hitchhikers. He would fatally shoot the male victim with an unidentified firearm and then keep the female victim locked in his “torture chamber” for a long period of time. During that time, he would rape and torture them, and after a while, Rhoades would then kill them by strangling them with a ligature. In Walters’ case, he took her to an abandoned barn, forced her to dress in black clothing, then took a picture of her, before strangling her to death and leaving her body at the barn.