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'Planking' internet fad leads to Australian death

Australian police say a man who plunged seven floors to his death from an apartment balcony was participating in the internet craze of 'planking.'

Australian police say a man who plunged seven floors to his death from an apartment balcony was participating in the internet craze of "planking."

Planking, increasingly popular in Australia, involves people lying flat on their stomachs in various and sometimes dangerous settings and then posting photographs on the internet. It was originally called the "Lying Down Game" but eventually became known as planking.

Ross Barnett, the deputy commissioner of the Queensland state police, told reporters that Acton Beale, in his early 20s, fell from a balcony railing while a friend photographed him before dawn on Sunday in Brisbane city.

The man was previously charged with trespassing after a photograph on the internet showed him planking on the trunk of a police car.

"Everybody likes a bit of fun, but [the] focus has to be on keeping yourself safe first," Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard said of the planking trend.

Planking has spread to several countries, including Canada, but it's particularly popular in Australia.

Richard Litonjua, who created the Brisbane Planking Association, says despite the fatal fall, plankers will "absolutely not" stop.

'Accidents happen every day'

"Accidents happen every day. It's a tragic thing to happen to somebody and a really tragic way to go, but if people crash their car and die, we're not going to stop driving our cars," he said.

"We can't just lock ourselves up and stop doing things just because something's been taken to a really dark point."

Users of a planking Facebook page, which has attracted thousands of members, echoed that opinion.

"So one guy dies and the planking police come out!" wrote Rhiannon Downie. " Who is next, the walking police? Or what about the driving police? The swimming police? Anyone else?"

"So we should all stop doing the things we think is fun because we can die doing it?" wrote Ron Adrian Blomstervik. "Say goodbye to almost every sport in the world! Is that really what u want?"

With files from CBC News and Australian Broadcasting Corporation

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