selfie rideau river

Someone took selfies on top of their car as it was sinking into an Ontario river

Footage of a woman taking selfies while standing atop a sinking car in the middle of Ottawa's Rideau River are going viral this week as people all over the world ask: "really?"

Ottawa police say that the woman in question had been driving her car on the frozen river near Manotick, Ontario, a suburb of Canada's capital, on Sunday evening when her vehicle broke through the ice and began sinking.

Bystanders managed to rescue the woman using a kayak, prompting police to credit them for their "quick, safe thinking." Authorities also took the opportunity to remind everyone that "no ice is safe ice" and to use extreme caution during the winter months. 

The stranded motorist emerged uninjured from the incident, but her car remains stuck in the river. She has also been charged with careless driving and thousands of people seem to hate her guts.

It's not quite clear why the woman was driving on the ice, but witness videos show that she was speeding quite fast and that, as her car sank, she stood atop it taking photos of herself.

In one viral image, she appears to be smiling, suggesting that she didn't realize how dangerous a situation she had put herself and her rescuers in.

That image has taken off like wildfire online as people hold it up as an example of the "stupid" things "narcissistic" youth do for social media clout.

"A clueless Canadian woman appeared to snap a selfie while standing on top of her car — as it sank in a river of ice — over the weekend," wrote the New York Post of the incident on Monday.

"A Canadian woman who was rescued after her car sank through an iced river this weekend is facing severe criticism for taking a smiling selfie while her life was in danger," wrote The U.K.'s Independent similarly on Tuesday.

One witness who assisted with the rescue told a Fox News affiliate in Michigan that the young woman had told him she was actually glad she had driven her car out on the ice.

"We're like, 'What the hell are you doing?' and she's like, 'Oh, just having fun,'" said Zachary King to FOX 17 West Michigan.

"I was like, 'What?' and she's like, 'Yeah, I'd totally do that again.' Like word for word, that's what she said."

The story is blowing up well beyond the borders of Canada, but police have yet to identify the woman who was rescued. 

All we know is that she was rescued safely, charged with one count of Dangerous Operation of a Motor Vehicle under the Criminal Code of Canada, has a popsicle for a car and is the latest human being to serve as a lightning rod for social media hate.

Lead photo by

Lynda Douglas

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