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Killed by camera flash?

  1. Aug 14, 2012 #1
    killed by camera flash??!!

    i've read a story from somewhere. a guy was trying to take photos using his camera. unfortunately he was standing near a high-voltage substation. once the camera flashed,
    he was killed immediately. they said that the electric current flows trough the camera flash to his body. is this true? how can this be possible?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 14, 2012 #2


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    Re: killed by camera flash??!!

    Sounds like total nonsense to me
  4. Aug 14, 2012 #3

    Vanadium 50

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    Re: killed by camera flash??!!

    "I've read a story somewhere" is not an acceptable source. You have to point us to it if you want to discuss it.
  5. Aug 14, 2012 #4
  6. Aug 15, 2012 #5
    Re: killed by camera flash??!!

    The origin of this seems to be an Indian student who climbed onto the top of a train in order to photograph a group of friends, after that it becomes confusing as to the voltage of the cables that killed him. Google camera flash death.
  7. Aug 15, 2012 #6


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    Re: killed by camera flash??!!

    Welcome to physics forums, Didiyy! http://img269.imageshack.us/img269/8645/mythbusterssmiley.gif [Broken]

    To my mind the story has credibility—providing it happened maybe 60 or more years ago. In the early days of flash photography the camera operator ignited a pan of magnesium powder to generate an intense flash of light. Ignition was almost explosive and threw up a cloud of white oxide, together with unignited magnesium dust. If this cloud were to envelop high voltage overhead lines there may be a flash over through the magnesium cloud to ground, and with the camera operator holding the ground electrode (aka, flash pan) high in his upheld hand, he would not stand a chance. He would have to be unlucky, certainly, but igniting flares or flash pans in the vicinity of early substations could conceivably be recklessly tempting fate.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  8. Aug 15, 2012 #7


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    Re: killed by camera flash??!!

    I doubt anything like that could have occurred with a modern day camera; unless they had a stroke. I don't know.
  9. Aug 16, 2012 #8


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    Re: killed by camera flash??!!

    I think it more likely touching the high voltage line generated a flash or perhaps even triggered the camera/flash?
  10. Aug 16, 2012 #9
    Re: killed by camera flash??!!

    Don't some electronic camera flashes use some pretty stout capacitors? Consider this scenerio...

    The camera has been dropped, it's case is cracked in multiple locations. The day is hot causing the photographer to sweat. Sweat seeps into the cracks and contacts circuitry for the flash in 2 places. The photographer is holding the camera with both hands. When the flash goes off current from the capacitor travels through the sweat/cracks in the case to one hand, up the arm, across the chest, back down the other arm and back into the camera through another crack. Perhaps the photographer has a pace-maker or other heart condition which makes him more susceptible to electric shock.
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