Taking a selfie could kill you: a warning for hikers

First responders warn hikers against taking pictures on cliffs

By Lindsey Kennett - Reporter

ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. - In Virginia's Blue Ridge, picturesque views are a major attraction for hikers, but getting a social media-worthy shot could kill you.

A 2018 study found that selfie-related deaths are on the rise. More than 250 people around the world have died while trying to take selfies by either drowning, getting hit by trains or falling from heights.

After a college student died while reportedly repositioning for a photo during a hike in Arkansas, first responders in Roanoke County are warning everyone about the dangers.

"[A picture] is not worth your life," said Brian Clingenpeel, the community outreach coordinator for Roanoke County Fire and Rescue.

Eric Divers is from the Roanoke area and hikes all the time. He says his friends have gotten into trouble trying to snap pictures, even falling off Devil's Marbleyard and McAfee Knob.

"They did survive, thankfully," Divers said.

People have died at Cascade Falls and first responders have rescued injured hikers before. Clingenpeel says it can take a dozen firefighters hours just to save one hiker.

"Stay back away from that edge and don't put yourself in a position where you can fall," he said.

Hikers have some advice, as well.

"Don't go as close to the edge as you would like," said Darcy Miller, a hiker.

"Take pictures for people," Divers said. "You lose balance when you're looking up."

First responders also say you need to be prepared for your hike. Wear the right clothes and shoes, bring water, a charged phone and know the route.

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