MONTREAL: Thousands were mourning Friday on social media after the freak deaths of three adventurous young video bloggers who suffered fatal injuries after slipping in a powerful river above a waterfall in western Canada.
The three childhood companions — Ryker Gamble, Alexey Lyakh and Megan Scraper — had joined friends on an outing to 335-meter-high (1,100-foot) Shannon Falls, 50 kilometers (30 miles) from the Pacific coast city of Vancouver, British Columbia.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said the three were “swimming in one of the pools at the top of Shannon Falls” when “they slipped and fell into a pool 30 meters below.”
Lyakh and Gamble lost their footing while trying to help Scraper after she slipped into the surging waters of Shannon Creek, according to witnesses quoted by the Vancouver Sun.
Rescue teams working on the ground and by helicopter were unable to find and recover the three bodies until Wednesday evening.
The RCMP noted in a statement that the terrain around the falls was “extremely difficult, very dangerous,” with a “heavy” water flow.
The victims, all Canadians in their late 20s or early 30s, had gained fame in 2011 after creating a YouTube channel called “High on Life.”
More than 500,000 subscribers there — and another one million on Instagram — followed their often-risky adventures, which sometimes defied basic rules of safety.
Gamble, the group’s leader, served a short prison sentence in 2016 after filming from a restricted area of Yellowstone National Park in the western US.
On Friday, seven of their friends posted a video homage on the trio’s YouTube page in an effort to raise $100,000 toward funeral costs. Within hours the video had been viewed by more than 150,000 people and people had posted more than 1,600 messages of condolence.
“Not only were they everyone’s friend, but they were genuinely nice guys to their core,” friend Rose Huet told the Vancouver Sun.
Homages were posted on Twitter and Facebook, with the hashtag #HOLInspired.
“They will be missed greatly,” Melissa Devane posted on Facebook. “The High on Life group inspired me to travel and reach for the goals that once seemed impossible.”