ouring around Sri Lanka has become an option for many tourists who experience climatic changes in their Western countries. Sri Lanka has seen an influx of tourists all year round and many of them often fall in love with the country. Just weeks after Lonely Planet listed Sri Lanka as the number one tourist destination in the world, a tragic story was reported from Horton Plains National Park. With the introduction of selfies in smart phones, mobile phone users are compelled to take any risk to click that perfect photograph. This has become a habit among the young and the old alike. Just a few days ago, an attempt to click a perfect photo took Julia Helga’s life away as she fell off a cliff at Horton Plains National Park. She was here on vacation. The operations to rescue her body took days due to the prevailing adverse weather conditions in the area. This fatal incident contributed to the many selfie-related deaths around the world.
35-year-old Julia Helga, a nurse by profession of German origin, had visited the Horton Plains national park with another German friend during her stay in Sri Lanka. The two women had arrived in the country on November 3 and had arrived at Nuwara Eliya on Saturday after visiting several areas down South. They had visited World’s End on November 11 accompanied by a tourist guide. But Julia wouldn’t have expected a deadly fall when she was going to click a selfie while atop a cliff which had a 4000-foot drop. The fall in fact was fatal that her body was found a few kilometres away from the Nonpareil Estate located in the Samanalawewa Police area in the Ratnapura District. The victim’s friend had informed of the incident to the Horton Plains National Park office with the help of the other tourists who had visited the place.
"The fall in fact was fatal that her body was found a few kilometres away from the Nonpareil Estate located in the Samanalawewa Police area in the Ratnapura District The victim’s friend had informed of the incident to the Horton Plains National Park office with the help of the other tourists"
Accordingly, the National Park officials together with the 3rd Sinha Regiment of the Army launched a search operation in search of the woman. Amidst challenging weather conditions the Army recovered her body but it took them two days to take the body to Balangoda to conduct the post mortem.
The Daily Mirror learned that the body was sent to A.F Raymond Parlour to carry out the postmortem. The postmortem revealed that her death was caused due to numerous fractures and internal haemorrhage due to the impact of the fall. Discussions are underway to release the body to the German Embassy to be sent to the victim’s home.
“Constantly informing public about safety precautions”
This wasn’t the first instance when a tourist had fallen off World’s End, but this in fact is the first time a tourist has fallen to her death while clicking a selfie at World’s End. When inquired from the Department of Wildlife Conservation, Hasini Sarathchandra, Media Officer at DWC said that it is difficult to draw up barriers in this area since it has natural formations. “There’s an observation deck where people can go to and observe the surroundings. This is the first time that such an incident has taken place. But we are constantly informing the public about taking safety precautions inside the Park.” said Sarathchandra.
Researchers at the US National Library of Medicine recommend that ‘no selfie zones’ should be introduced at dangerous spots in order to reduce deaths. A global study conducted this year revealed that the quest for extreme selfies has killed 259 people between 2011 and 2017. These dangerous spots include mountain tops, tall buildings and lakes. Drowning, transport accidents and falling were found to be the most common causes of death. The study found that selfie-related deaths were most common in India, Russia, the United Sates and Pakistan and 72.5% of cases reported are mean.
The Daily Mirror also contacted the German Embassy to inquire about the proceedings of releasing her body, but the Embassy refused to divulge any information with regard to this matter.