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Travel bloggers criticised for hanging out of moving train to get Instagram photo

'You'd risk your lives just for a picture?'

The Nine Arches Bridge in Sri Lanka
The Nine Arches Bridge in Sri Lanka

A travelling couple have been criticised for "risking their lives" just to get a picture for Instagram.

Portuguese influencers Raquel and Miguel, who go by the handle @exploressaurus_ on Instagram and have more than 200,000 followers, have come under fire after posting a photo in which they are hanging out of a moving train riding along the Nine Arches Bridge in the small town of Ella, Sri Lanka.

The photo shows Raquel balancing on one foot while hanging on to the door rails with her entire body outside of the train. Meanwhile her boyfriend Miguel leans out of the carriage to kiss her forehead.

Despite receiving more than 38,000 likes, the image has sparked outrage among users who have called the image “irresponsible”, pointing out that it could influence other people to try the same stunt.

“You'd risk your lives just for a picture? Just so you can upload it on social media? How is this sensible? Anything could've happened,” one person wrote.

Another commented: “I would never promote a picture like this since there are not few people stupid enough to feel encouraged to try and recreate the idea.

“You should see your responsibility for influencing others.”

A third person added: “Two idiots risking their lives and others' lives just to get likes”, while another wrote: “Wow...This will inspire more emulators to do this. Dangerous, irresponsible, and all in the name of vanity.

“Be a role model guys...it's not rocket science.”

In response to the negative comments, the couple have defended the photo claiming that they felt they were in no danger given the slow pace of the train.

“If you did this journey you also know that the train goes really slow, specially when crossing bridges [sic]”, they wrote on Instagram.

“This train is famous for having the most scenic views. Everyone who has been on that train knows that the locals and tourists go hanging at the doors and seated with their feet turned to the outside. Locals don't do that for likes or for Instagram, right?”

The couple added that the chances of them falling from the train were “lower than the chances of falling from some stairs”, writing: “Even for not a fit person we don’t think this is dangerous at all [sic].”

This isn’t the first time people have taken risks to get a perfect photo for Instagram. Under the hashtag #travelblogger, you will find more than 37m posts from influencers posing in precarious positions, from balancing on the edge of rooftops to diving off cliffs.

In 2018, Kaaterskill Falls, a scenic waterfall located in the Catskill Mountains in New York, made headlines after it was revealed the last four people to have lost their lives at the location did so while taking or posing for photos.

Robert Dawson, a New York forest ranger, explained to The New York Times how the attention that the waterfall has received on social media over the years has increased its number of annual visitors, which in turn has led to a number of injuries and even some fatalities as a result of travellers attempting to take photographs in the precarious location.

“Just talking to people who come up here, they say, ‘Yeah, we saw this on the internet - we’re trying to find it,'” he said.

“The unfortunate thing is, with those pictures, there’s nothing informing people that you could get seriously hurt here, too.”

The Independent has contacted Raquel and Miguel for comment.

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