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

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.  

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories