Whether we like it or not, tragedies are bound to happen anytime and anywhere. It takes us by surprise and little do we know, these occurrences could be the reason for our demise with not even a single warning. With all the crazy occurrences we’ve had so far this year, it seems that the world has gone too complex. Crimes have elevated into a whole new level, killing so many innocent people as if their lives aren’t valuable.
Catastrophes are also horrifying now more than ever. Storms, earthquakes and other natural disasters are worse and for some of these tragedies, we can blame to the exponential surge of climate change. As for accidents, these may be unintended but some resulted from passiveness and wrong decisions. We could all be driving too safely but then again, there could be a careless driver on the same street that can possibly harm us for not being mindful in front of the wheels.
In itself, death is already a horrifying subject but what could be more chilling than deaths that were memorialized in a picture, right? From saddening to just plain beautiful — the emotions contained in the innocent pictures were mostly smiles as if these people were having a great time. Unbeknownst to some of them, these were the last gestures they could make. Check out these 15 chilling photos taken before history’s most famous tragedy.
15 Eric Church performing before Las Vegas shooting
Country singer Eric Church was among the performers at the recent Route 91 Harvest Country Music Festival in Las Vegas Strip where 58 concertgoers were killed and more than a hundred were injured. To commemorate the victims of the massacre, Church introduced his new song, “Why Not Me?”, and in Grand Ole Opry.
The singer also broke down as he mentioned Heather and Sonny Melton who were supposed to be seated among the Grand Ole Opry crowd, but failed to do so because Sonny died during the carnage. The victim went to Las Vegas to see Church. This photo is so heartbreaking on so many levels, you can see the audience interacting with church, having a light hearted fun evening. You can tell Church cares so deeply for his fans, so for something so tragic to happen after his concert breaks our hearts.
In an Instagram post, he shared how he saw the crowd — whom he referred to as “my people” — enjoy his music. A lot of them were having a good time as they waved their hands up and even their boots.
“And what I saw, that moment in time that was frozen there’s no amount of bullets that can take away. None,” Church said.
14 14-year-old Keith Sapsford tragedy - falls from the plane after hiding in the wheel
Australian-born Keith Sapsford was only 14 years old when he died from falling from Japan Airlines’ DC-8. Apparently, the boy was just in for an adventure when he tried hiding in a wheel well of a plane bound to Tokyo. Just seconds after the plane took off Kingford Smith Airport in Australia, Sapsford fell from 150 feet high above the ground.
It was believed that the stowaway had “the urge to keep on the move” as his father later revealed to the police. Sapsford father also told investigators that the boy knew of a Spanish stowaway boy that might have inspired him to do the adventure himself.
That one Sunday in February 1970, the teenage boy sneaked away from Boys’ Town and walked his way to the airport, hid in the plane compartment and fell as the wheel well door opened.
13 Before explosion in Ariana Grande's Manchester concert - she's singing "One Last Time"
Ariana’s “Dangerous Woman” tour is undoubtedly one she couldn’t ever forget. While the pop singer only aimed to give a night of great music for her fans based in Manchester, United Kingdom, it ended horrific as the concert area was bombed.
In one fan video, Ariana was captured giving a one-of-the-books performance to her Manchester crowd as the attendees sang with her. At the time, the 23-year-old singer was belting out her hit song “One Last Time”, with fans not knowing of the mayhem that awaited them. As Grande was captured singing the song, fans lit the entire arena as if they are candles with the singer in the midst of the scene.
Just as when she concluded her performance with her signature pink balloons drop, an explosion reverberated in the arena where 26 people were killed and hundreds ended up injured.
12 Before Hurricane Irma - Police officer kisses his son
Hurricane Irma was the strongest observed hurricane in the last 12 years after Wilma. The catastrophe hit Florida where death toll has currently reached 69 but the count still continues weeks after its landfall.
During the hurricane, numerous officers in duty came in response to the victims, just like this Boynton policeman. At the rate that Hurricane Irma pounded, residents didn’t know if they could still make it out safe after the rains have stopped. More so for this officer who wasn’t just safely confided in his own home, so he planted a sweet kiss to his son before rendering his duty without knowing if he could still come back alive.
Luckily for this father, he was safe after the storm unlike tens of others who succumbed to death. According to the state’s death toll, Irma-related deaths were mainly due to blunt force trauma, carbon monoxide poisoning, drowning and cardiac arrest.
11 Paul Walker's last ride
The late actor Paul Walker who was best noted for his role in the auto movie, “Fast and Furious”, once reportedly said that if speed kills him one day, “Don't cry. Because I was smiling.”
True enough, a car collision had took the life out of this actor that still had so much potential in him. At just 40 years old, the actor died in a crash as he was on his Porsche Carera GT. The actor, together with friend and driver Roger Rodas, lost control and spun, leaving both of them dead as the car crashed into a curb, tree and light post.
The bereaved families of Walker and Rodas filed a suit against Porsche claiming that the Carera GT model lack safety features that should’ve saved the pair. Ultimately, the jury has found that the German car giant was unaccountable for Walker and Rodas’ demise.
10 Moments before the JFK assassination
Former late President John F. Kennedy was on a state visit when he was assassinated on the fall of 1963. Although he had no formal announcements yet, it was clear that he was, at the time, trying win different states for his plan to get reelected in 1964.
Kennedy’s last state to visit was Texas where he was accompanied by her missus, Jacqueline. It was Mrs. Kennedy’s first extended public appearance after the couple lost their baby, Patrick, and unknown to her, the last time her husband could be seen smiling beside her.
During the afternoon parade, as the car slowly traversed Main St. at Dealey Plaza, shots were fired at the president, injuring him straight to his neck and head. Mrs. Kennedy, who sat beside him, had been splattered with her own husband’s blood as his head slumped over her. On November 22, 1963, 30 minutes shortly after the assassination, JFK was announced dead.
9 Seconds before the first plane hit the north WTC tower at 8:46 a.m (9/11)
The terror attack of September 11, 2001 was a historic day for the United States as it paved the way to strengthen anti-terrorism laws in the country. Popularly known as 9/11, the tragedy was touted as America’s deadliest terrorist attack where over 2,700 people were killed and 8,700 got injured.
The attack was orchestrated by the Islamic extremist group al-Qaeda — led by Osama bin Laden — as they hijacked a total of four aircrafts and purposely hit New York City’s World Trade Center with two airplanes. The other planes hit the Pentagon in Washington D.C. while the other crashed in Pennsylvania.
In this photo, the first aircraft was about to crash into one of the towers and showed that it was a beautiful sunny day when the tragedy happened. Most of the would-be victims were unaware of the collision at that moment, until the plane collided and the rest had been history. To this day, the horrors of that fateful September day are still felt through the victims’ stories.
8 Picture of mom and daughter on Malaysia Airlines Flight MH-17, before the crash
Holland-based family Davy, Kim and Megan Hally were among the 295 unfortunate victims of the infamous Malaysia Airlines Flight MH-17 crash. In the last photograph taken by Davy, his wife and four-year-old child were in all smiles after a dream vacation in Bali.
Onboard the MH-17, the Hally family was set to go back home as they took the picture before take off. It memorialized how the Hally matriarch and daughter grinned throughout the journey without knowing of their terrible fate.
According to Mirror, passengers of the MH-17 flight survived for only 90 seconds after a Russian-made missile tore the aircraft into pieces in Ukraine skies. Air operators claimed that MH-17 was safe above 32,000 when SA-11 Buk missile impacted the plane.
7 John Lennon pictured with the man who would later end his life
The former Beatle frontrunner John Lennon was just about to go out with his wife Yoko Ono when his killer asked for a favor: have his album signed. The ex-Beatle was even nice to ask if his assassin would need something more.
But Mark David Chapman didn’t immediately shoot John Lennon after having his record autographed. A few hours after his fan-boy encounter with John Lennon, after contemplating of how good John was, he decided to kill him. Chapman waited for the music legend to return to his apartment and as he did, the assassin shot him four times in the back as he was in front of Yoko.
26 years after killing the icon, 61-year-old Chapman revealed how, at that moment, he thought John Lennon was too nice for a stranger like him. During his parole hearing, he also revealed that he just killed John Lennon just because he wanted to be famous and admitted he had a sociopathic mind.
6 The Challenger crew that would never make it home
It would have been a feat for United States’ NASA but it turned out otherwise as the 10th space shuttle mission failed shortly after it was launched. The shuttle orbiter Challenger was just 73 seconds in the sky when it exploded on January 28, 1986.
The seven astronauts, including the first civilian who have joined a space crew, were killed as their loved ones watched how their aircraft burned because of a malfunction.
In this photo, Gregory Jarvis, Judith A. Resnik, Francis R. Scobee, Ronald E. McNair, Mike J. Smitha, Ellison S. Onizuka, and civilian Christa McAuliffe proudly smiled for an official photograph before the mission.
The space voyagers even got to parade before getting onboard the aircraft. The Challenger’s launch was also seen by millions as it was telecasted live. After the Challenger disaster, NASA has been prompted to temporarily halt space missions until in September 1988.
5 NYC car rampage suspect tries to flee the crash scene
On May 18 this year, social media shivered at the sight of a vehicle plowing into civilians in New York City. CCTV footages of the crime scene made rounds online and detailed how an individual got killed as the car rampaged through the bustling Times Square.
Shortly after the suspect, Richard Rojas, crashed into the post after mowing tens of civilians, he was photographed to be fleeing away from the crime scene as others screamed and run out of panic. He later admitted that he was on drugs during the rampage and told police that he wanted to “kill them.” The 26-year-old suspect smoked marijuana laced with PCP, a mood-altering drug, when he decided to plow against the New York traffic.
Rojas, who remained unharmed, now face second-degree murder and attempted murder charges after killing an 18-year-old tourist and injuring 22 people.
4 The "unsinkable" Titanic setting sail
During the old days, nobody thought that the mighty RMS Titanic would sink as it was claimed to be unsinkable. But just a few days after its maiden voyage, news confirmed on April 15, 1912 that the gigantic ship was, after all, fallible.
The steamship was boasted to be a luxurious kind — a vessel ahead of its time — and was created by the White Star Line to cater to Britain’s wealthiest. While the company claimed that RMS Titanic was of “Olympic-class”, it was later discovered that it had flaws in its design. Also, the other thing that contributed to Titanic’s notorious death toll was its lack of lifeboats.
Despite its huge capacity to transport nearly 2,500 passengers (plus its 900-count crew), Titanic only had 16 lifeboats which could only cater half of the passengers.
3 Chapecoense football team who would never make it to their game
Brazillian football team, Associação Chapecoense de Futebol, was en route to a notable match when their aircraft crashed in Medellin, Columbia late in 2016. Little the know that the greatest competition they were headed to would be the reason that would tear up the team.
19 players and coaching staff of the Chapecoense football team succumbed to death as the plane crashed in Medellin’s mountainsides. BBC reported that there were only three Chapecoences who have survived and three other individuals on board the plane.
According to reports, the crash was caused by human error and has been found without any technical cause. The pilot and his other crew were said to have been aware of the plane’s lack of fuel but was only reported late when the aircraft started to malfunction.
2 Cocoanut Grove Fire - The "party ended with shrieks and cries"
With a total of 498 partygoers killed, the Cocoanut Grove fire in Boston, Massachusetts is touted as the world’s deadliest nightclub fire ever documented. Casualties of the great fire reached 116 based on the count of victims who went straight to nearby hospitals and not including those who just went home for treatment.
The Grove has been a popular spot for the Rat Pack generation and even during its earlier years. In 1927, party lovers flocked in the Grove because of its island-themed interiors that gave a fresh tropical vibe.
But just as when party goers, around one thousand of them, enjoyed that night of November 28, 1942, the party ended with shrieks and cries in attempt to leave the blazing building.
Many of the attendees tried to escape but nearly half of them died due to the lethal combination of toxic fumes and quick spreading of fire. In just a few gasps of breath, people have died due to breathing problems rather than burns.
1 Attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II's
The late Pope St. John Paul II was on a motorcade in St. Peter’s Square when an attempted assassination was rolled out to him by a lone Turkish gunman. In 1981, Pope St. John Paul II was happily shook hands, carried and kissed children onboard his popemobile when escaped murderer Mehmet Ali Agca fired his gun and critically injured the pope in front of 10,000 worshippers.
Pope St. John Paul II sustained two bullets which hit his intestines and arm. During his operation, a nurse in Gemelli Hospital quoted him to have asked “How could the do it?”
Fortunately, the pontiff recovered from the attempted assassination and ultimately forgave his perpetrator. He in fact as the Catholics to pray for Agca whom he “sincerely forgiven” and even became friends with him and his family.
The pontiff also requested Agca to be pardoned and was released in 2010. In December 2014, now-Christian Agca was seen offering white roses to the late pope’s tomb.
Credits: therichest.com, mirror.co.uk, time.com, wsj.com, history.com, nyt.com, telegraph.co.uk