It’s all about the adrenaline rush, the heart-pounding thrill of doing something a hair’s breadth away from serious injury or death.
A 22-year-old man from West Jordan, Utah died Sunday apparently while trying to imitate what he saw in a viral YouTube video titled, “World’s largest rope swing.” The man, Kyle Stocking, and five of his friends tried to make a rope swing around Corona Arch near Moab, just like the people in the video. Only Stocking and friends miscalculated the length of the rope. (Read a news story about it here.)
Spring break is here, and that means lots of young people are out looking for adventure. This horribly tragic accident is a reminder that extreme sports are deadly serious.
As this year-old CBS News report indicated, even trained and experienced extreme athletes are susceptible. More than a year ago, BASE-jumper Jeb Corliss was seriously hurt on Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa. Corliss is famous for having jumped off the Eiffel Tower, the Space Needle and Malaysia’s Twin Towers.
The day before his accident, ice climber John Roberts died from a 60-foot fall.
Experts say these stunts are not nearly as dangerous as they look because of the precautions taken by trained athletes. But they still are dangerous.
They’re doubly so when done by people who aren’t as well trained.
I’ll admit to not understanding the urge that makes people engage in these sports, or even bungee jump from safe distances at amusement parks, for that matter. When I watch the rope swing video, a link to which I’ve included below, my palms sweat.
But I don’t want to prohibit anyone else from engaging in such activity.
I just wonder whether there is a certain level of responsibility involved with making viral videos that glamorize such things at an easily accessible public spot. At the least, they should indicate that people shouldn’t try to replicate the feat on their own, or perhaps link to a site that offers a tutorial on how to do it safely.
The rope swing took place on land owned by the state as a school trust land. For liability purposes, the state already had made the swing off limits to commercial companies that might charge to help people do it. It would seem, however, that letting private people swing presents a greater risk than granting permits to bonded companies that can demonstrate they understand the safety needs involved.
Not every young thrill seeker is going to try to duplicate the rope swing video. Spring break lends itself to plenty of other activity that is dangerous in its own way.
But swinging on the arch did lead to a death, and that should be enough to make everyone, from spring breakers to the state, think seriously about precautions.
Click below to watch:
World’s Largest Rope Swing