We’ve already seen a recent uptick in Instagram influencers endangering themselves at picturesque sites. Just last month, three travel influencers died at Shannon Falls in British Columbia. But you don’t have to be an internet celebrity to fall victim to the same mistakes. Waterfalls seem to be a common culprit as they offer irresistible photo opportunities at often unsafe heights and conditions. Kaaterskill Falls in upstate New York, in particular, has proven a fatal attraction. The last four who died there? All taking photos.
Located in the Catskills, the 260-foot waterfall is the tallest in the state and an extremely popular destination. Although the area has received over one million dollars in funding for protective fences, stepstone stairs, and overlook platforms, it has still proven to be a dangerous site. Robert Dawson, a state park ranger, blamed the tragedies on social media. “Just talking to people who come up here,” he told The New York Times, “they say, ‘Yeah, we saw this on the internet’… the unfortunate thing is, with those pictures, there’s nothing informing people that you could seriously get hurt here, too.”
Researches at Carnegie Mellon University and India’s Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology analyzed 127 selfie deaths between March 2014 and September 2016, finding that the “most common cause of death was falling from a height.”
So, the next time you’re tiptoeing onto a precipice where you probably shouldn’t be, just to take that “perfect” photo — don’t. You might sacrifice a few likes by taking the picture safely from the ground, but it’s better than sacrificing your life.