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Officials Warn Against ‘Instagram Hikers’ Venturing to Plane Crash Site

Officials Warn Against 'Instagram Hikers' Venturing to Plane Crash Site

Officials Warn Against 'Instagram Hikers' Venturing to Plane Crash Site 1

A popular COVID lockdown photo location in Higher Shelf Stones, England has become dangerous for “Instagram Hikers” as winter approaches. Volunteer mountain rescue teams have advised against visiting after being called out multiple times to assist ill-prepared visitors.

The crash site is known as the Peak District Air Accident and involved a Boeing RB-29A 44-61999 of the 16th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron of the United States Air Force, which crash-landed due to fog at Higher Shelf Stones on November 3, 1948. All thirty-three members of the crew died in the crash.

According to The Guardian, the location has become a popular Instagram photo site during COVID-19 lockdown, where hikers reportedly flocked to the location to take photos of the debris.

However, as winter approaches, the landscape has become increasingly dangerous and the nearby Glossop mountain rescue team has begun urging visitors to be prepared for poor weather and difficult terrain.

Two Callouts Sunday 15/11/20

The first callout of the day came in at 15.15, reports of a female with a lower leg…

Posted by Glossop Mountain Rescue Team on Monday, November 16, 2020

While the volunteer rescue team has been called out multiple times to assist injured hikers, they also have wasted hours looking for visitors who had long since reached safety before the team arrived.

Glossop Mountain Rescue Team issue plea after second search for walkers who were already at home.

Glossop Mountain…

Posted by Glossop Mountain Rescue Team on Tuesday, November 17, 2020

The Guardian reports that in one such case, the team searched for hours in the area for a hiker they had been alerted to as injured, and when they could not find the missing party became increasingly worried. However, later that night they were made aware of the hiker’s safety at home, some distance away.

“This has happened twice in recent weeks,” said Patch Haley, the rescue team lead, to The Guardian. “We’re always glad to hear that people are safe, but I can’t stress enough how important it is to keep us informed. If people do make their own way down after they call emergency services for assistance, it’s vital they let us know via 101. My fear is that with higher volumes of walkers visiting the area during lockdown, more of these false alarms will leave our rescue team overstretched, and at risk of struggling to reach those who are genuinely in need of urgent assistance.”

(via The Guardian)

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Officials Say Smoke Bomb at ‘Gender Reveal’ Sparked Major CA Wildfire

Officials Say Smoke Bomb at 'Gender Reveal' Sparked Major CA Wildfire

Officials Say Smoke Bomb at 'Gender Reveal' Sparked Major CA Wildfire 4

Officials in California have revealed that a “smoke-generating pyrotechnic device” (i.e. a colored smoke grenade or ‘smoke bomb’) was the cause of the El Dorado Fire that has already burned some 8,600 acres across San Bernadino County. The grenade was apparently part of a gender reveal party.

Officials didn’t reveal too many details. The CalFire News Release simply states that “the El Dorado Fire, burning near Oak Glen in San Bernardino County, was caused by a smoke generating pyrotechnic device, used during a gender reveal party.”

“The fire began at 10:23 am on September 5, 2020 in the El Dorado Ranch Park in Yucaipa,” reads the release. “CAL FIRE reminds the public that with the dry conditions and critical fire weather, it doesn’t take much to start a wildfire. Those responsible for starting fires due to negligence or illegal activity can be held financially and criminally responsible.”

According to CNN, there is actually surveillance footage that shows the fire being started, but officials have refused to release it as the incident is “still under investigation.” The video apparently shows a “couple with several children” walking out into the dry grass as one of their friends lights a colored smoke bomb and another takes photos. Moments later, the scene devolves into panic.

“Soon after, the family can be seen on video scrambling and grabbing water bottles as the flames grow,” reports CNN. Everyone involved, including “the person who set off the device, the family and the person taking photos,” have been cooperating with investigators, but the person who actually set off the device may be personally charged with “igniting the land,” arson, and more.

“They tried to use water bottles, which in four-foot high grass, you’re never going to capture a grass fire with that,” CalFire investigator Capt. Bennet Milloy tells ABC7. “Potential laws that they may have broken are some public resource codes, which is igniting a land that’s not owned by you.”

Sadly, this is not the first gender reveal party to spark a wildfire. Back in 2017, a man named Dennis Dickey and his wife took an explosive target filled with blue powder up to the Santa Rita Mountain foothills, where they accidentally started a fire that would go on to burn through 47,000 acres and cause an estimated $8 million in damage.

So while these ostentatious, highly Instagrammable displays of powder and smoke might seem like a good idea… it’s worth a second thought before your colorful display turns into, as Dickey put it in 2017, “one of the worst days of my life.”


Image credits: Header photo by Austin Chan, CC0

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