A 22-year-old student who died after falling 12 meters from a bell tower was trying to take a photo for Instagram, reports suggest

The bell tower. Howchou / Wikimedia Commons
  • A 22-year-old student fell down the stairs of her university’s bell tower and critically injured herself,according to the New York Post.
  • The back of her head caved in, according to witnesses, and she sadly died in hospital.
  • Fellow students say Sydney Paige Monfries and her friends climbed up the tower as a “rite of passage” and to get an Instagram photo of the view.
  • Scientists have previously called for “no-selfie zones” to protect people from unnecessarily putting their life in danger for photos.
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A young woman fell to her death last weekend after climbing the bell tower at her university as a “rite of passage.”

Sydney Paige Monfries, a 22-year-old from Portland, Oregon, was just a few weeks from graduating Fordham University when she climbed up the Keating Hall clock tower to take pictures,according to the New York Post.

A student called Dave, who was waiting tables on Saturday night, told the New York Post he remembered Monfries and some friends discussing whether to climb the tower.

“They were like, ‘We’re seniors, let’s go!'” he said. “My roommate was with them. He told me some seniors [wanted to go] to the tower to take some pictures and have a good time before graduating.”

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But while taking photos, Monfries tripped and fell 12 meters down the stairs, smashing her head in at the bottom, according to her friends. Dave’s roommate was apparently next to Monfries after she fell.

“She couldn’t breathe,” Dave said. “She hit her head. If he wasn’t there, I don’t know, she might have been worse off … He waited with her. He didn’t want to move her.”

When the emergency services arrived at about 3.15 a.m. Monfries was on the second floor with “hardly any pulse,” according to the Post. She was taken to St Barnabas Hospital, but sadly died due to her injuries.

Monfries was studying to be a journalist, and had interned at InStyle magazine.

Strangers have already found her Facebook account and sent messages of support and prayers to her family.

A spokesperson for the school told the Post that access to the tower is always locked.

“University officials are investigating how the students gained access to the tower,” he said.

According to the Post, Monfries and her friends could have climbed the tower to get a better view of the skyline for Instagram.

A senior student named Anne said: “I heard they were just getting a better view of the city. I think they were posting on Instagram.”

Last year, a study found that around 259 people died trying to take selfies between 2011 and 2017.

The researchers from the India Institute of Medical Sciences said in their report that tourist areas with deep water, mountain peaks, or tall buildings should be declared “no-selfie zones” to protect people from unnecessarily putting their life in danger.

“Selfies are themselves not harmful, but the human behaviour that accompanies selfies is dangerous,” they wrote in their conclusion. “Individuals need to be educated regarding certain risky behaviours and risky places where selfies should not be taken.”