Online ‘Planking’ Craze Leads to Death
The Internet photo sensation called "planking," which can be best described as extreme lying down, led to a 20-year-old Australian man plunging to his death while partaking in the fad this weekend, police said.
Queensland police said the man fell several stories from a Brisbane high-rise early Sunday morning while engaging in the activity, in which the planker lies flat on their stomach in various environments while onlookers capture photos. Those photos are then uploaded to various social media sites.
"This morning we have seen a young man take this activity a step further and attempt to plank on a balcony," said Deputy Commissioner Ross Bartnett in a written statement. "Unfortunately he has tragically fallen to his death."
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported that Acton Beale had been out with another man planking earlier in the night before attempting to lie on the balcony.
According to Wikipedia, planking originated in the late 2000s in Europe and Japan as the Lying Down Game. The Official Planking Facebook page had more than 141,000 likes on Monday morning, and the Australian page had more than 120,000 fans.
Beale's death prompted police to warn other plankers to put safety before their photos and discussions erupted on multiple planking forums online.
"People are trying to out-do each other by planking on structures or in precarious positions putting themselves and others at risk. The potential for disaster increases as more and more risks are taken to get the ultimate photo," Queensland police said in a statement.
The Australian planking Facebook page bore the warning, "BE SAFE!!!" on Monday.
In the hours following Beale's death, activity has been buzzing on online planking forums, and even a Planking For Kids Facebook page.