26 photos taken just before tragedy struck

Last updated on February 19th, 2024 at 09:54 pm

In these pivotal moments before tragedy struck, a single photograph was captured, providing a poignant snapshot of the final moments in these lives. Embark on a journey through history, exploring the images taken just before disaster struck.

As these six courageous firefighters from Ladder Company 118 navigated their truck across the Brooklyn Bridge, they were en route to what would become the most infamous tragedy in American history. Their final sighting was as they ascended a staircase in the Marriott Hotel near the World Trade Center, endeavoring to find survivors amid the terrorist attacks on September 11. Less than an hour following this moment, the South Tower fell, severing the 22-story Marriott and claiming the lives of all six heroes.

A hot air balloon struck a power line in Caterton, New Zealand, taking the lives of 11 people.

A photo of a wife and his daughter taken by the father after they boarded MH17 before it was shot down over Ukraine

Budd Dwyer moments before he took his own life on live televison.

John Lennon with Mark David Chapman hours before he was shot.

The crew of the Challenger on their way to board their ill-fated shuttle in 1986.

George Mallory and Sandy Irvine at their basecamp on Mt. Everest. Neither returned alive.

A B-52 crash at Fairchild AFB, 1994. There were no survivors.

Robert Overacker was trying to raise awareness for the homeless by jet-skiing off Niagara Falls and parachuting down. Unfortunately, the parachute didn’t open, and he lost his life.

Princess Diana her Bodyguard, Trevor Rees-Jones and Driver Henri Paul shortly before the fatal crash.

 James Dean and his Porsche Spider at a gas station just hours before his fatal crash.

One of the most tragic air disasters in history occurred on August 12, 1985, when a Boeing 747 en route from Tokyo to Osaka experienced a sudden explosive decompression while in flight. This image was retrieved following the plane’s crash into Mount Takamagahara, taking the lives of 15 crew members and 505 out of 509 passengers on board.

Adelir Antônio de Carli, a Brazilian priest, endeavored to set a new world record by flying with a cluster of 600 helium balloons for more than 19 hours. Following his departure, he was never seen again. While there was initial speculation that he might have survived a crash landing, this hope was extinguished when fragments of his body were found washed ashore two months later.

The evening when the East vs. West coast rap rivalry escalated fatally. This image captures Tupac Shakur after exiting the MGM Grand on the night of the Mike Tyson boxing match. Following an altercation in the lobby, Shakur and Knight were observed departing. This is the final photograph of Tupac before the shooting in Las Vegas on September 7, 1996.

This photograph was taken seconds before the red car exploded, taking the lives of 29 people, including the photographer. The camera was found afterward in the rubble. The man and child in the photo both survived.

Air France Flight 4590 – This Concorde was scheduled for an international journey from Paris, France, to New York City on July 25, 2000. During its takeoff, the aircraft struck debris on the runway, which led to a tire puncture and triggered a series of events, resulting in the fuel tank igniting. The plane soon crashed into a nearby hotel, tragically claiming the lives of all 109 passengers and crew on board.

“In 1943, the mayor of St. Louis, William D. Becker (shown here on the left), boarded an experimental military glider for a publicity photograph and a brief flight. The left wing suddenly gave way as they approached the intended altitude, plunging the glider into a fatal nosedive. The crash took the lives of everyone on board.

Martin Luther King Jr. was on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, TN, on April 3rd, 1968, greeting a gathering of supporters. Shortly after this photo was captured, he was fatally shot by James Earl Ray. In this image, King is seen alongside civil rights leaders Hosea Williams, Jesse Jackson, and Ralph Abernathy.

Mayinga N’Seka, a nurse, is shown here amidst the Ebola outbreak of 1976. This outbreak occurred in Zaire, resulting in 318 reported cases and 280 fatalities. Her commitment to caring for patients led to her contracting the disease, and she sadly succumbed to it shortly thereafter.

On February 20, 1970, Keith Sapsford, a 14-year-old Australian teenager, entered Sydney Airport and concealed himself in the wheel well of a plane bound for Japan. Known for his curiosity, Keith saw this as an adventurous escapade. Tragically, not long after takeoff, he fell 200 feet to his doom. This harrowing moment was inadvertently captured by John Gilpin, an amateur photographer, who was testing his new camera lens at the airport and took this poignant photo just before the calamity occurred.

On April 20, 1999, a tragic shooting and a foiled bombing occurred at Columbine High School in Columbine, Colorado. Images captured before the chaos show William “Dave” Sanders leading more than 100 students from the cafeteria to safety. Although he successfully saved these students, he was subsequently shot twice in the chest and tragically did not survive.

This is the final photograph of the notorious Uruguayan Flight 571, taken just before it met with disaster in the Andes on October 13, 1972. Of the 45 people on board, 27 initially survived the crash. Facing extreme conditions for survival, they were compelled to resort to cannibalism. Ultimately, of the 27 who survived the initial crash, 16 were rescued after 72 days.

A dashboard camera recorded the critical moments just prior to TransAsia Flight 235 crashing into the Keelung River in Taiwan. Of the 58 individuals on board the plane, only 15 survived the tragic accident.

Harambe, a 17-year-old silverback gorilla, was fatally shot following an incident where a child fell into his enclosure. This event led to significant online discussion, with many criticizing the zookeepers’ decision, arguing that Harambe was shot unnecessarily. The photograph shows the final moments leading up to Harambe’s demise at the Cincinnati Zoo in 2016.

This final photograph of Archduke Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, and his wife Sophie, was captured approximately an hour before the assassination of the Archduke occurred.

Moments before JFK was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald.

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