53 Photos Taken Right Before Tragedy

Tragedy can strike us at any time, whether enjoying a lovely holiday or at the hands of a loved one. Sometimes last moments are documented on camera as an everlasting memory. Here are some photos that capture those crucial moments before tragedy struck.

The music legend’s last show

Here is a 71-year-old Johnny Cash in 2003, playing his last live performance before his death. His wife died just four months before he did.


Paul Walker sitting in the car that killed him

Walker loved fast cars almost as much as he loved acting, so it’s ironic that this was his cause of death. The car he was in was speeding to get him to a work project on time.


Partying before his death

Here’s legendary rapper Notorious B.I.G. partying with his boy Sean P.Diddy Combs in 1997. Biggie Smalls was killed just hours later in a drive-by shooting.


Attacked by a bear

This photo was taken on Darsh Patel’s phone. He and some friends were hiking in the woods and came across a bear. When the phone was found, it had bear teeth marks on it.


A deadly Ebola breakout

The female nurse here is called Mayinga N’Seka, and she is pictured treating an Ebola patient days before she succumbed herself. 280 people died in the village.


Ian Curtis before his death

This is Joy Division’s lead singer Ian Curtis and his young family just days before his death in 1980. He had suffered from depression and epilepsy and hung himself on a tour of the US.


A doomed flight

This is the 1961 US Figure skating team boarding a plane for Belgium to compete. Sadly, they never arrived. The plane crashed while attempting to land. The whole team perished.


An interior of a plane in descent

This is the final photo of doomed Japan Airlines Flight 123. Oxygen masks have been deployed. The crash was caused by compression, caused by a repair seven years before.


A final family shot

This pic captures the Hally Family before take-off if the MH17 flight. The family, along with every other passenger on board died when the plane was shot down over the Ukraine.


Freddy Mercury before his death

This photo was taken in April 1991, which led to people speculating that Freddie was dying of AIDS, something which he denied until two days before his death in November that year.


Omagh bombing

Do you see that red car in the background of this shot? Minutes later a bomb inside it would detonate killing 31 people. The dad and son in the photo survived. The photographer didn’t.


John Lennon minutes before being shot

Here’s Lennon signing autographs for fans outside his home in New York. Ten minutes later he was shot dead by the man looming in the background, Mark David Chapman.


Holding tight

Joseph Avery was boating on the Niagara River with pals. The boat capsized, and his pals died. Avery clung to a rock for 18 hours. A rescue boat arrived – and capsized, dooming him.


Mystery in Russia

Nine students died mysteriously in the Ural Mountains in 1959. The group cut themselves out of their tents and fled in their pants. Their mangled bodies were found two weeks later.


TV doctor falls to death

Doctor Jamie Zimmerman looks all smiles posing on her holiday trip to Hawaii. Moments later she lost her footing and fell into a river. What a tragic end.


The doomed astronauts of Space Shuttle Challenger

This shot shows launch day for the crew of the Space Shuttle Challenger. The entire crew was killed just over a minute into the flight when an engine separated from the rocket.


A fatal glider test

These gentlemen are politicians taking part in a test flight of a military glider in 1943. The left wing broke at 2,000 feet, and everyone died in the plummet to the earth.


The last days of Patrick Swayze

A gaunt looking Patrick Swayze steps out a few days before passing away from pancreatic cancer. He was just 57-years-old at the time of death.


Exploring Mount Everest

Here’s George Mallory and Sandy Irvine at Everest base camp in 1924. The pair were never seen again. Had they succeeded, they would have been the first to climb the peak.


A Concorde tragedy

This image marks the only catastrophe suffered by Concorde in its 27-year history. One of the plane’s engines caught on fire on takeoff, causing the plane to crash into a nearby hotel.


Before a fire at a nightclub

The Station nightclub in RI went up in flames due to a faulty pyrotechnic used by the band Great White. The band’s bassist is looking off stage, realizing the fire has broken out.


Robin Williams days before his suicide

Here’s Robin Williams walking around an art gallery just days before his death. The comic legend took his own life in 2014 after a long battle with depression.


Honeymoon disaster

Newlyweds Tina and David Watson dived the Great Barrier Reef after David said he was a certified diver. Tina got in danger, and her hubby swam to the surface instead of saving her.


Martin Luther King Jr. the day before his murder

This snap is taken at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis on April 3rd, 1968, the day King met with other civil rights leaders. The following day, James Earl Ray shot him on the same balcony.


Flight 235 crash

TransAsia’s flight 235 suffered an engine failure before crashing in the Keelung River in Taiwan. The plane carried 58 people, and 42 people died on board.


New Zealand hot air balloon crash

This hot air balloon hit power lines, and all eleven passengers were killed because of the resulting fire. It was later discovered that the pilot had marijuana in his system.


Chechen villagers digging their graves before they’re slaughtered

This shot is from 2002. Villagers in the hole were forced to dig a mass grave. Moments later, the whole village were killed with explosives, and their remains dumped in these graves.


Titanic on its only voyage

Despite its unsinkable moniker the Titanic hit an iceberg and sunk near Newfoundland. This is one of the few images of its ill-fated voyage. Only 705 people survived from 2,224.


Politician unknowingly captures image of his murderer

Filipino politician Reynaldo Dagsa innocently snapped his mother-in-law, daughter, and wife. He had no idea someone was aiming a gun at him. He recorded his shooter on camera.


Sabotaged parachutes

Cadet Stephen Hilder mugs for the camera, but inside he knows something the photographer doesn’t. He sabotaged his parachute and backup to commit suicide.


Family snap captures someone’s suicide

This unsuspecting family snapped the last moments of Ayano Tokumasu’s life. The 20-year-old student threw herself over the railings outside the Niagara falls to her death.


The Iron Lady

The only UK female Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher is stood next to PM David Cameron in this pic. Just two months later she had a series of strokes and died. She was 87.


A final NASCAR race

Dale Earnhardt died in a three-car collision in the Daytona 500 in 2001. This is him in the same #3 race car just before his last race. His son is now a racing driver, too.


Victim of the 9/11 attack

The ordinary family guy in this photo is Joe Kelly, watching a Yankee’s game with his two boys. The day after he was killed in the September 11th attacks on the Twin Towers.


One last selfie

Lt. Col. Henry Worsley attempted to cross the Antarctic single-handed and without aid. He was just 30 miles from the finish before dying from organ failure, exhaustion, and dehydration.


The murder of an officer

This is Officer Steven Green and his murderer. After arresting him and putting him in a holding cell, Green was stabbed and killed. The man fled and was killed in a police shootout.


Amy Winehouse’s last concert

This tragic photo of Amy Winehouse was taken in Belgrade on June 19th 2011. She died a month later in her home in Camden Town, London of alcohol poisoning.


Taking his own life on TV

R. Budd Dwyer was Treasurer of Pennsylvania between 1981-1987 before being accused of bribery and withholding taxes. He shot himself on his televised trial, watched by millions.


A failed flip

This is Russian free runner, Pavel Kashin in a mid-air attempt to land a backflip on top a 16-story building. He landed the flip but lost his balance after, plummeting to his death.


The final car trip of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed

The tragic couple died in a car crash in Paris moments after this photo was taken. They were pursued by eager paparazzi and their driver sped to avoid them. He was drunk at the wheel.


The sad demise of Sharon Tate

The story of Sharon Tate is well-documented. She was 8-months pregnant when followers of Charles Manson, known as the ‘Manson Family’, broke into the home she shared with Roman Polanski and murdered her.


Ayrton Senna before his last race

The three-time world champion looks pensive in this photo taken on the day of his death at San Marino in 1994. His car veered off the track hitting a concrete safety barrier at 310 km/h.


The last warning at Columbine

This grainy security footage is all that remains of hero William Sanders actions that day. The teacher warned students of the shooting, saving hundreds of lives, but perished himself.


Snap before flight MH17

This is Gary Slok and his mom, Petra, taken just before flight MH17 took off on that fateful day. The plane was never found, despite lots of searching and is thought to be underwater.


Robert Giblin murder-suicide

PTSD sufferer Robert Giblin and his pregnant wife look very much in love. The Canadian soldier stabbed his wife, threw her off a balcony and immediately jumped to his own death.


A failed jet-ski stunt over the Niagara Falls

Robert Overacker attempted to raise awareness for the homeless by jumping over the Niagara Falls on a jet ski. Sadly, his parachute didn’t open, and he plunged to his death.


Last photo of wrestler Chris Benoit

WWE wrestler Benoit snapped and killed his wife and disabled son before hanging himself on his weight bench. Brain scans revealed he had the brain of an 85-year-old following injuries.


A photo of an American icon before his death

This is believed to be one of the last photos of Hollywood legend James Dean. He later crashed this very car after hitting a Ford Tudor at an intersection.


Snapchat murderer

A young mother-of-two, Stephanie Hernandez, posed on Snapchat while her boyfriend held a loaded gun in the background. A few minutes later he would use this gun to end her life.


An image of the Twin Towers before they fell

September 11, 2001, will always be a tragic day in the world’s history. Here is a photo captured as the tragedy is unfolding. Moments later, the Towers collapsed.


A few seconds from tragedy

Teenager Andrey Retrovsky made money from his dangerous stunts, often hanging off the sides of buildings. The second photo shows him 10 seconds before he fell to his death.


Bataclan attack

Gilles Leclerc and Marianne Labanane took a photo at the Bataclan as they waited to see the Eagles of Death Metal perform. Gilles was killed in the attack, but Marianne survived.


A proper send-off

This K-9 officer was captured moments before making a trip to the vets to be put down because of ill-health. Officers in Massachusetts showed their respect to the pooch.