It seems like every week this summer, there’s been a tragic story of someone getting swept away to their death, with the latest coming today after news broke that a 19 year-old girl slipped and fell into the Niagara River, sending her over the falls where she is presumed to have died. Turns out the girl had climbed over a guardrail when she lost her footing and tumbled into the water.
Prior to this tragedy, we had several other incidents this summer, the most famous of which being a trio of hikers who were swept over Vernal Fall in Yosemite National Park after similarly climbing a guardrail to get closer to the raging waters. Also of note: a man who fell into a blowhole in Hawaii and was swept out to sea, and a woman who managed to cheat death after being sucked into the Niagara Falls whirlpool. “I just wanted to touch beauty,” said that survivor.
I by no means want to make light of the death that’s occurred. However, I can’t help but think that perhaps these untimely demises could have been prevented. That’s why I’ve created the official B-Side Blog Guide To Not Getting Swept Away. Details after the jump…
1. You Don’t Need To Touch Beauty
Waterfalls are majestic and beautiful. But they’re also really dangerous. As important as it is to have the most stunning Flickr album or at least a mobile upload that garners three “Likes” on Facebook, I’m sure you can get away with taking a pic of the water from five feet further back. If photography isn’t your ultimate pursuit and you merely want to commune with nature, then perhaps consider communing from a safe distance. Or maybe send Mother Nature a letter instead of insisting on a tactile experience. For instance, should you come across a RAGING WHIRLPOOL, it’s probably not particularly essential to physically touch the flowing waters that are happily en route to a deadly maelstrom that no boat engine (nor your flapping arms) can ever churn its way out of. Just food for thought.
2. Respect the Guardrail
Here’s the thing about guardrails: if you climb over one, you’ll probably die. That’s a reeeeeally good rule of thumb, especially if the guardrail is the only thing between you and a massive, powerful, almighty body of water that will destroy everything in its path. So, in short: don’t climb over guardrails.
3. Wear The Right Equipment
If, for some reason, you still need to climb over a guardrail and take a photo from within the swirling currents of the rapids / waterfall / whirlpool, please wear a life preserver and ideally some sort of jet pack and/or mythical Pegasus wings to save you from when you inevitably find yourself helplessly at the hands of Mother Nature. Trust me: as you plummet hundreds of feet all for the sake of a TwitPic, you’ll be SO happy when you magically sprout wings X-Men style and can fly yourself to safety. Should you not possess these powers, I highly advise you to reconsider any and all traipsing on wet rocks near roaring waterfalls, whirlpools, or blowholes.
And that concludes the B-Side Blog Guide To Not Getting Swept Away. Hope it’s helpful to all you people out there who were thinking of disregarding all the very obvious safeguards for your life. Because sometimes rampant cautionary signage and common sense just aren’t enough.