It was a harmless craze just four days ago.
Australian talkshow host Kerri-Anne Kennerley opened her show lying balanced, face-down, on the back of a couch. Karl Stefanovic was lying flat on the Today show desk in front of the cameras.
But early yesterday morning, the ''planking'' fad sweeping social networking sites proved fatal. Acton Beale, 20, was positioning himself on a balcony railing seven storeys up in Brisbane when he lost his footing and plunged to his death in the car park below.
The Queensland Deputy Police Commissioner, Ross Barnett, said his worst fears had been realised.
''In some circumstances it can be fairly harmless,'' he said. ''But once you start taking it up seven storeys, or on top of a set of traffic lights, or on a set of railway lines, or on a bridge, it's putting a person in significant danger,'' he said.
''Planking'' involves a person lying straight, face down, with their arms by their sides and legs held steady, ideally without any facial expression.
But the act is driven by capturing it on camera and posting the image on social networking sites. One group dedicated to ''planking'' on Facebook states its mission: ''To capture the perfect Plank. Always pushing the boundaries of human limits.''
The site carries photos of ''planking'' atop public phone boxes, on the sides of power poles, on parking meters, fridges, taxis, bins, the corners of high roofs, scaffolding and safety railings on mountain peaks.
We'd never heard of "planking" until today. But "planking" on a balcony rail seven floors up sounds like complete and utter stupidity to us.
And despite Mr Beale's deeath, it seems that there are a few plankers still out there - read on:
Within hours of Mr Beale's death, some ''plankers'' were encouraging others to take similar risks. Others were redefining planking as an ''extreme sport''.
Extreme? Yes. Sport? No. Extremely stupid? No doubt at all. Does anyone feel a Darwin Award coming on?