Lifeguards say social media is leading people to deadly places, situations


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Would you risk your life for a like?

That’s what Hawaii Ocean Safety is
asking after several rescues have taken place at places made even more popular
by social media statewide.

Honolulu ocean safety rescued two visitors
from the area referred to ask Spitting Cave on Wednesday.

The visitors told rescuers they read
about Spitting Cave on the internet, and despite the memorial and flowers of
others who have died here, they decided to jump without knowing the risk.

“Social media has really taken
lifeguarding into a whole new direction,” said Honolulu Ocean Safety PIO Shayne
Enright. “Visitors used to come here to Waikiki and hang out at the beach with
a Mai Tai, now they are going to these areas we never had people go
before.”

While other people’s videos and photos
look beautiful, to the untrained eye it can be dangerous.  

“The pictures look great, they’re jumping
in the water from cliffs, they’re doing backflips, it looks like it’s the
safest and most fun thing ever, but what they don’t show you is the dangers
that are incorporated with that and on other days it not as nice right,” said
Chief Kevin Allen, Honolulu Ocean Safety.

From rip currents to unpredictable ocean conditions and rogue waves, more and more people are being rescued or dying at off the beaten spots statewide.

In May, a man died after sustaining
fatal injuries after jumping at Spitting Cave.

“Spitting cave has just been a hot spot for us the last month and a half, it’s a beautiful place, a lot of people go out and they take these big leaps of faith, they love it, it’s beautiful but on certain conditions it’s deadly,” Chief Allen said.

On Thursday, July 25, a 37-year-old
woman from Kentucky died after falling 45 feet off a cliff on Maui.

It happened in the area known as “chutes
and ladders” near Honokohau.

Officials say she was climbing up from
the shoreline when she fell.

Other deadly spots are Queen’s Bath on
Kauai, Olivine Pools on Maui, Makapuu tide pools, Laie point, and Shark’s Cove.

“Do a little investigation on these places, don’t just look at the first video and say ‘That’s the greatest video, I’ve got to do this,’” Chief Allen said.

He also warns of rescue times as most of
these places are off the beaten path.

“So if something goes wrong, it’s not something where help can be there in seconds or minutes,” he said. “Sometimes it can take 15-20 minutes to a half-hour for some of these places.”

And with technology like geotagging,
addresses are given that can lead people straight towards danger.

“I think the internet makes everything
more available and you just have to be aware, take a minute and make sure
you’re not doing something dangerous because you saw it somewhere else,” said
Honolulu resident Brady Whitmer.  




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