Heart-Stopping Photos Taken Moments Before Disaster

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There are moments in time when you know something terrible is about to happen but you can’t look away and there are moments in history that are seared into our minds but we never got to see what was happening the seconds before the tragedy. Many of these moments are great tragedies that changed the world with their far-reaching impacts with the aftermath usually being the first thing the media seizes upon.

Here we have several photographs taken just before disaster struck to illustrate just how shocking, unexpected and tragic these moments can be.

Flesh Wounds

Seth Mead had encountered sharks in the water before when surfing and had hastily exited the water with no problem but when lounging on his board one day a shark struck and sunk its teeth into his leg.

Unlike most attacks, though, it didn’t shake Seth about and was probably just curious as to what he was but with no hands to feel sharks tend to use their mouths to discover new things which can be…painful. Fortunately, it let go and Seth escaped with only flesh wounds.

A Costly Slip

While visiting a zoo in New Delhi, India, one man wanted to see the rare white tiger close up and was climbing on the enclosure to get a better view. He was repeatedly warned to get down as both the fall and the animal could be potentially disastrous. Undeterred, the man held his position until losing balance and falling into the tiger cage.

Instantly the white tiger prowled up to the man and kept him cornered for almost 15 minutes as other visitors and zookeepers tried to distract the animal. Unfortunately, it eventually decided to pounce and dragged the man, by the neck, back to its den before killing him.

Ali Khan Samsudin 

What does the role of ‘snake charmer’ do exactly? It’s a title we often hear about every now and then but never quite know was it entails because how an earth are you actually supposed to get a venomous snake to like you?

Well, Ali Khan Samsudin probably thought he had the answer as he regularly performed a whole host of stunts with cobras and made a good living doing so. In one stunt, he even locked himself in a room with 400 cobras for 40 days straight. Unfortunately, one cobra thought he was a bit of a douche and decided to fatally bite Samsudin in 2006. Lesson learned: Quit while you’re ahead.


Anyone who has seen the tragic documentary Black Fish will know the horrifying story of Tilikum, a killer whale kept in captivity who then started to turn on her trainers and a quick cover up ensued with SeaWorld desperate to minimize the damage their brand had suffered.

Jumping out of the water and grabbing Dawn Brancheau by the ponytail in February of 2010, the whale dragged her underwater and would not let her go. Shockingly, the attack took place in front of a crowd of spectators as they awaited a demonstration between Brancheau and the killer whale. Tilikum was involved in the death of two other trainers also, the photo shows Tilikum dragging another trainer repeatedly down by their ankle but they managed to escape.

A Stupid Thing To Do

Image: Wenn/dailymail.co.uk

One might expect trouble if you were to jump into a polar bear enclosure but that is exactly what a woman did in a German zoo as she started to swim toward the bears, apparently elated but, as soon as she was within striking distance, she was bitten on the arms and legs and mauled by the bear.

Keepers tried to distract the polar bear as she then hurled herself to the edge of the enclosure and was hauled out before being rushed to hospital.

The Killing of Harambe


We’ve already covered the story of a mentally ill woman climbing into a zoo enclosure and almost losing her life, but in 2016, a small child- perhaps unaware of the predatory nature of gorillas- climbed into a similar enclosure and came face to face with Harambe the gorilla.

Taking place in Cincinnati Zoo, zookeepers were quick to intervene and shoot Harambe to ensure the child suffered no harm, and while many approved of the decision, others felt killing Harambe was unnecessary given that no harm had been done to the child before he was shot.

Since the famous incident, Harambe has been immortalized into various memes, from warning children to stay away from him for fear of being shot to stars of Planet of the Apes rescuing him from the enclosure.

Dragged Away


Having an argument whilst on safari is probably not the best thing to do, but when this woman did just that, she got out of her car and went around to the driver’s side door to remonstrate with her partner. Unfortunately, she was in the part of the park where the tigers were, and they were not too keen on her being in their territory.

The tigers of Badaling Wildlife Park in China, appeared behind the woman, pouncing and dragging her off. Two other passengers then get out and try to aid her, but one is mauled to their death as the first woman was saved but had to be immediately hospitalized.

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