When a Canadian woman was hit by a train and badly injured in northern Italy, rescue services quickly went to her aid on the tracks.
But as they treated the victim a young man captured the scene from the station platform in a selfie that has provoked widespread anger.
He was himself pictured by a news photographer who complained, “we have completely lost a sense of ethics”.
Police caught the young selfie-taker and forced him to delete his picture.
The young Canadian woman caught up in the accident late last month was taken to hospital and had a leg amputated.
The man in white Bermuda shorts who took the selfie on a platform at Piacenza station has been investigated and does not appear to have committed a crime.
But the image of him pointing his mobile phone at the dramatic rescue scene has appeared on many front pages in Italy and attracted incredulity on social media.
Corriere della Sera said he appeared to be making a “V for victory” sign with one hand while taking the shot with the other.
A commentary in La Stampa spoke of a “cancer that corrodes the internet”. The young man who took the selfie was not bad, argued Antonella Boralevi. Instead, he had turned
off his soul and his personality and
become an “automaton of the internet”.
Radio host Nicola Savino told listeners that the human race was “galloping towards extinction”. One user on Twitter said simply: “Nothing surprises me any more.”
Journalist Giorgio Lambri, who photographed the scene on 26 May, wrote about his
experience on Sunday for Piacenza newspaper Liberta under the headline: “The barbarism
you don’t expect: the ‘selfie’ in front of
He also posted his story on Facebook, suggesting an alternative headline of “Houston, we’ve got a problem”, because of the man’s apparent lack of moral compass.
Mr Lambri informed rail authorities about what had happened and the man has since been identified.
What remains unclear is how the young woman was hit by a train in the first place.
According to reports at the time, the control system for closing the train’s doors was defective and the woman may have fallen out of the train while opening a door on the wrong side. However, there was also a suggestion that she may have been rushing to board the
train as it was leaving the station.