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Hiker falls 700 feet to death while taking selfie on a peak in the Superstition Mountains near Phoenix

A hiker camping on a peak in the Superstition Mountains east of metro Phoenix was found dead after apparently slipping while taking a selfie and falling hundreds of feet, authorities said Wednesday. The body of Richard Jacobson, 21, was recovered after a hiking companion called 911 at approximately 12:45 a.m. Monday, the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

Jacobson’s body was found nearly 700 feet below where the hikers were camping on top of Flatiron near Lost Dutchman State Park, the office said.

“Mr. Jacobson went to go take a photograph with himself and the city skyline in the background, and he lost his footing, and he slipped, and he fell,” Sergeant Doug Peoble with Pinal County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue, told CBS affiliate KPHO-TV..


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An Arizona Department of Public Safety helicopter helped recover Jacobson’s body, the office said.

Andrew Thomas told KPHO-TV he spent three months as a missionary with Jacobson in 2020. “He really was one of those guys that everyone loved, and it’s sad to lose him, but we know that it’s not the end,” said Thomas. “We’re going to see him again.”

Thomas told the station he remembers Jacobson as someone who was kind and had a good sense of humor.

“He was just my companion in that sense,” said Thomas. “I spent all my waking hours with Richard, so I got to know him pretty well…he was an outdoorsman, hunter, hiker. He did stuff like that, so I guess he did die doing what he loved to do, just in a tragic way.”

According to a study in the Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care, 259 people died taking selfies from 2011-2017,   

In 2018, a married couple who fell to their deaths in Yosemite National Park last week while taking a selfie, the man’s brother said

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