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Published May 15, 2011, 06:08 PM

Australia Has First Death From Internet Photo Fad 'Planking'

Australia authorities reported the first death linked to "planking," a fad in which young people post photographs on the Internet of themselves lying face -down and rigid in unusual or dangerous places.

By: Sid Astbury, DPA

SYDNEY - Australia authorities reported the first death linked to "planking," a fad in which young people post photographs on the Internet of themselves lying face -down and rigid in unusual or dangerous places.

"It's what we've been fearing," Queensland Police Deputy Commissioner Ross Barnett said Sunday.

"In some circumstances it can be fairly harmless but as people become more and more competitive and try more and more obscure and difficult episodes of planking . . . this is the sort of thing that will eventuate," Barnett said.

A man in his 20s died after plunging from an apartment block balcony where he was being photographed lying prone on a railing.

Last week, Queensland Police charged a 20-year-old after he was spotted planking on a police car roof in Gladstone.

The Facebook page Planking Australia is a catalog of photographs of planking, including one image showing a man lying prone on railway tracks.

Enthusiast Michael Brannon defended the craze against police criticism, describing it as "just a bit of harmless fun."

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