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After tragic death of experienced geocacher - what needs to change?

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Groundspeak: PROBABLY nothing.

people need to exercise common sense.

 

I would reword your second sentence to "Cache owners need to exercise common sense."

Because of the lack of foresight and negligence a cache owner cost the live of another cacher so who is at fault here? The victim?

Cache owners need to be held accountable for the outcome of their caches. It's their private property and if something happens while on their property they are liable. No difference here.

This unnecessary death would've not occurred if the cache owner stopped for a second and realized that "you know what? That place can be dangerous and if someone makes a mistake can get seriously hurt!". Simple as that.

Geocaching is not an extreme sport nor should it be. If people seek those thrills they should look elsewhere because usually for that theres security and things are planned so nothing goes wrong.

No such thing in geocaching. You cant control what people will do and what will happen to people when attempting to get the cache.

Yes people should use common sense but accidents do happen.

So in this case we have a family that has been destroyed, GS washes their hands behind their no liability disclaimer and the cache owner archived the cache as to say I had nothing to do with it and here in this thread we have people blaming the victim for getting killed.

Everythings perfect nothing to see here lets move on... :sad:

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very sad story indeed :(

 

however, based on your own comment ....

 

- cachers who know him much better than me describe him as a level-headed, rational guy who did NOT take crazy risks

 

...looks like he figured he can handle the situation but unfortunately something went wrong...there is nothing anyone can do to prevent the "something went wrong"

 

We can't reach back into the past, but we can learn from it and possibly prevent a future "something went wrong"

 

meh...you can't change fate

 

you could do something dangerous every day for 20 years without incident, one day against all odds and logic something goes horribly wrong

 

i am talking here about situations were there's responsible people involved, as the victim seems to have been

 

I suppose if you consider texting while driving fate.

 

that has nothing to do with fate, it's plain and simple irresponsible

 

Groundspeak: PROBABLY nothing.

people need to exercise common sense.

 

I would reword your second sentence to "Cache owners need to exercise common sense."

Because of the lack of foresight and negligence a cache owner cost the live of another cacher so who is at fault here? The victim?

Cache owners need to be held accountable for the outcome of their caches. It's their private property and if something happens while on their property they are liable. No difference here.

This unnecessary death would've not occurred if the cache owner stopped for a second and realized that "you know what? That place can be dangerous and if someone makes a mistake can get seriously hurt!". Simple as that.

Geocaching is not an extreme sport nor should it be. If people seek those thrills they should look elsewhere because usually for that theres security and things are planned so nothing goes wrong.

No such thing in geocaching. You cant control what people will do and what will happen to people when attempting to get the cache.

Yes people should use common sense but accidents do happen.

So in this case we have a family that has been destroyed, GS washes their hands behind their no liability disclaimer and the cache owner archived the cache as to say I had nothing to do with it and here in this thread we have people blaming the victim for getting killed.

Everythings perfect nothing to see here lets move on... :sad:

 

you got to be kidding me lol

 

i put a cache at the top of the Everest, i warn you about the perils of climbing Everest, why is it my problem that you, that have no climbing training, have no common sense and go for it? :blink:

 

the terrain rating is there for a reason, that aside, when you get to GZ and asses the location YOU, and YOU alone should decide to attempt it or not

the CO does not force anyone into getting a find, you don't need to get every cache out there

 

but your theory is in line with how society is this days....blame someone else for lack of common sense

Edited by t4e

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Groundspeak: PROBABLY nothing.

people need to exercise common sense.

 

I would reword your second sentence to "Cache owners need to exercise common sense."

Because of the lack of foresight and negligence a cache owner cost the live of another cacher so who is at fault here? The victim?

Cache owners need to be held accountable for the outcome of their caches. It's their private property and if something happens while on their property they are liable. No difference here.

This unnecessary death would've not occurred if the cache owner stopped for a second and realized that "you know what? That place can be dangerous and if someone makes a mistake can get seriously hurt!". Simple as that.

Geocaching is not an extreme sport nor should it be. If people seek those thrills they should look elsewhere because usually for that theres security and things are planned so nothing goes wrong.

No such thing in geocaching. You cant control what people will do and what will happen to people when attempting to get the cache.

Yes people should use common sense but accidents do happen.

So in this case we have a family that has been destroyed, GS washes their hands behind their no liability disclaimer and the cache owner archived the cache as to say I had nothing to do with it and here in this thread we have people blaming the victim for getting killed.

Everythings perfect nothing to see here lets move on... :sad:

 

Probably an attorney.

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The cache was obviously placed to challenge one's ability and determination.

In this case (apparently) the poor fellow's determination exceeded his ability.

 

Is it sad and unfortunate. Yes.

 

Should there be a warning system, or perhaps really difficult caches where you might die should be disallowed? Hardly.

 

In almost every sport, there comes a difficulty level where you might get severely hurt or killed. It is up to the participant to continue, or not. If I choose to attempt a double-diamond ski slope and end up a mangled mess at the bottom...it's my own fault.

 

I have found (and placed) many caches where the circumstances could have 'gone the other way', and I wouldn't be here to write this. Skill, ability, or just Dumb Luck? None of them involved hanging off the side of a bridge

 

Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment.

Barry LePatner

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Groundspeak: PROBABLY nothing.

people need to exercise common sense.

 

I would reword your second sentence to "Cache owners need to exercise common sense."

Because of the lack of foresight and negligence a cache owner cost the live of another cacher so who is at fault here? The victim?

Cache owners need to be held accountable for the outcome of their caches. It's their private property and if something happens while on their property they are liable. No difference here.

This unnecessary death would've not occurred if the cache owner stopped for a second and realized that "you know what? That place can be dangerous and if someone makes a mistake can get seriously hurt!". Simple as that.

Geocaching is not an extreme sport nor should it be. If people seek those thrills they should look elsewhere because usually for that theres security and things are planned so nothing goes wrong.

No such thing in geocaching. You cant control what people will do and what will happen to people when attempting to get the cache.

Yes people should use common sense but accidents do happen.

So in this case we have a family that has been destroyed, GS washes their hands behind their no liability disclaimer and the cache owner archived the cache as to say I had nothing to do with it and here in this thread we have people blaming the victim for getting killed.

Everythings perfect nothing to see here lets move on... :sad:

 

There can be security in seeking the more extreme caches as well. Any cache I've bouldered I've done so with a spotter. I didn't always have a mat but I always had a spotter. I'm sure people who do the rock climbing caches with the right gear are doing so with some sense of security. I'm sure the scuba cachers do their caches with some precautions as well. There are serious hikers who use the proper equipment for the more extreme caches that require multi-day hikes.

 

But the reality is there will always be a finder or two or three that just run around without a sense of need for security or the implications of not being properly prepared. Geocaching and the owner are not at fault for ill prepared finders. Geocaching is done in conjunction with various hobbies like hiking, diving, climbing, bouldering, exploring, spelunking etc. When doing any of those activities one should go into it prepared and we all know that people don't. People will take off on a long hike without the right gear or survival skills. People will try to free climb when they probably shouldn't and so on.

 

Personally I would look at this situation as I have similar ones and question who owned this piece of infrastructure. Decide the implications of potentially trespassing if it's not clear if permission was obtained. I would look at the physical challenge and decide if I had the right equipment with to do it or if the structure was generally safe to begin with. Many people wouldn't even begin that though process. I probably wouldn't have at 19, 20 or 21 either. I would have just been gung ho and went out there.

 

The cache owner is not at fault for someone who made a choice to take a risk without safety equipment etc.

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What a sad event - I am so sorry to hear of the loss of such a young cacher.

We had one cache on our list today...up on a rock above the highway, the other side falls away down to a bay far below. For some reason, and for wet grass and rocks, we decided to pass. Only a short climb up, but I didn't feel comfortable - it is only a cache. Maybe another day....

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Groundspeak: PROBABLY nothing.

people need to exercise common sense.

 

I would reword your second sentence to "Cache owners need to exercise common sense."

Because of the lack of foresight and negligence a cache owner cost the live of another cacher so who is at fault here? The victim?

Cache owners need to be held accountable for the outcome of their caches. It's their private property and if something happens while on their property they are liable. No difference here.

This unnecessary death would've not occurred if the cache owner stopped for a second and realized that "you know what? That place can be dangerous and if someone makes a mistake can get seriously hurt!". Simple as that.

Geocaching is not an extreme sport nor should it be. If people seek those thrills they should look elsewhere because usually for that theres security and things are planned so nothing goes wrong.

No such thing in geocaching. You cant control what people will do and what will happen to people when attempting to get the cache.

Yes people should use common sense but accidents do happen.

So in this case we have a family that has been destroyed, GS washes their hands behind their no liability disclaimer and the cache owner archived the cache as to say I had nothing to do with it and here in this thread we have people blaming the victim for getting killed.

Everythings perfect nothing to see here lets move on... :sad:

 

There are so many things wrong in what you say that I hardly know where to begin! You are pulling our legs, right? If you are serious, then you just spelled the end of geocaching. We'd better all archive each and every one of our caches immediately, before somebody gets hurt. The cache owner is the guilty party if somebody gets hurt going after their cache? I think you need to give that one a little more thought. Geocaching is not an extreme sport? Where did you get that from? You can't control what people will do when attempting to get the cache? That, I can agree with.

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but your theory is in line with how society is this days....blame someone else for lack of common sense

You are right. Lets blame the dead guy. So convenient.

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meh...you can't change fate

 

you could do something dangerous every day for 20 years without incident, one day against all odds and logic something goes horribly wrong

 

i am talking here about situations were there's responsible people involved, as the victim seems to have been

 

Certainly one cannot change fate. What is possible, however, is trying to back up against things that might go wrong. This is not always possible, but much more often than taken into account by many cachers. For example, also persons experienced with fia ferratas use safety equipment (lanyards, harnesses etc) just for the case that something goes wrong. Of course still something can get wrong (e.g. the equipment can fail or a fall can be letal nevertheless), but preparations can reduce the risk.

Cachers are not earning money with what they are doing - they do not need to impress others.

Safety equipment or preparations can be meaningful for caches way beyond T5 caches.

 

Cezanne

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but your theory is in line with how society is this days....blame someone else for lack of common sense

You are right. Lets blame the dead guy. So convenient.

 

It isn't a matter of convenience. Its a matter of fact. I'm sorry that a 21 year old man died, but it happens all the time. Suppose he crashed while riding a motorcycle. Is that the motorcycle manufacturer's fault? Should they have not sold him the bike?

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but your theory is in line with how society is this days....blame someone else for lack of common sense

You are right. Lets blame the dead guy. So convenient.

 

As unpalatable as it might be, sometimes the responsibility lies solely with the victim.

 

You can do everything right. You can be the most conscientious person who takes all the safety precautions. It only takes that one mistake.

 

Bad things happen to good people sometimes and you don't really need to blame anyone for what happened. Just accept that it was an accident.

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but your theory is in line with how society is this days....blame someone else for lack of common sense

You are right. Lets blame the dead guy. So convenient.

 

It isn't a matter of convenience. Its a matter of fact. I'm sorry that a 21 year old man died, but it happens all the time. Suppose he crashed while riding a motorcycle. Is that the motorcycle manufacturer's fault? Should they have not sold him the bike?

 

So in other words, Meh.

 

Man, you can't even tell people to be careful out there?

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but your theory is in line with how society is this days....blame someone else for lack of common sense

You are right. Lets blame the dead guy. So convenient.

 

It isn't a matter of convenience. Its a matter of fact. I'm sorry that a 21 year old man died, but it happens all the time. Suppose he crashed while riding a motorcycle. Is that the motorcycle manufacturer's fault? Should they have not sold him the bike?

 

So in other words, Meh.

 

Man, you can't even tell people to be careful out there?

 

People... be careful out there.

 

Meh.

 

(seriously... please don't put words in my mouth. That's not even close to what I said!)

Edited by knowschad

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If I feel unsafe, I generally stop looking, but also understand how hard it is to pass the smilie by when you're so close.

When my wife finds out that I risked life and limb because of my inability to walk away from a smiley, she tells me that this is Darwin's way of reducing OCD in the population. (sigh...)

 

When serious accidents or fatalities happen there is an opportunity to examine the sequence of events leading up to the incident that could possibly be used to prevent future incidents of the same type/severity.

Nothing wrong with looking at the facts. Trying to determine all the hows and whys. Sometimes such an evaluation leads to positive change. As it stands right now, we know very little, other than the ratio of success to failure is 34 to 1. The one other person who posted about almost meeting their maker cited inattentiveness as the leading cause. If it is determined that inattentiveness led to this tragedy, then that should serve as evidence that covering the cache page in neon blinking warning signs, and danger popups, would not have changed a thing. Those who occasionally place themselves into hazardous conditions learn, real fast, that they must pay attention to what they are doing. As the T-shirt says, "Focus". Those who refuse to focus on their surroundings, in a dangerous area, are certainly not going to focus on blinking signs warning of perils.

 

There is a technique called inescapable messaging that can raise safety awareness amongst users of this site without fundamentally changing anything about the process of hiding and finding caches.

Inescapable messaging works wonders on a motivated audience.

But it fails miserably with an audience that believes in their own invincibility.

 

I don't see the problem with having a special section for describing risk or precautions to take when seeking a cache.

I love this idea! We could actually have three separate special sections folks could use to describe risks and/or precautions. But we'd need a catchy name for them. Maybe, "D/T Ratings, Attributes and Cache Description"?

 

Because of the lack of foresight and negligence a cache owner cost the live of another cacher

After reading your post, I had to go back and read the cache page over again. Even on my second try, I could not find anything on the cache page that would be seen as compulsion. At no point on the cache page, is there any suggestion that the deceased MUST attempt it. They made that choice for themselves. They approached ground zero of their own free will. Since the deceased was an experienced cacher, who was referred to as being level headed, (or words to that effect), I assume that he made some conscious decision about where, on the structure, the cache was located, and evaluated the risks of going to that location. Then he decided, for himself, that the risk was acceptable. When you place yourself in danger, sometimes danger wins. If danger never won, it would quickly lose its appeal.

 

The cache owner did not cause this death, any more than a spoon manufacturer made Rosie O'Donnell overweight.

 

but your theory is in line with how society is this days....blame someone else for lack of common sense

For some reason, society will always include a percentage who are unwilling to let a person face the consequences of poor decisions.

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People... be careful out there.

 

Meh.

 

(seriously... please don't put words in my mouth. That's not even close to what I said!)

 

Okay, glad to hear it.

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Well, we can all learn from this. Maybe there are some of us out there who need to reconsider how we cache (like me, for instance). Maybe that can be the change for some of us.

 

I often take unacceptable risks while caching. I'm somewhat of a clutmsy girl at heart anyway. But there have been times where I've said to myself, "why am I here, it's so dark out, the car is so far away, I'm lost, I forgot water, what is that animal over there, etc...."

 

I've walked away from many, many caches. Maybe I need to do this more often.

Edited by JesandTodd

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For some reason, society will always include a percentage who are unwilling to let a person face the consequences of poor decisions.

But that unfortunate young man was climbing on that bridge structure because of the cache placed there. What was the poor decision. To place it there, or to go after it?

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I don't like how this thread is turning into somewhat of a blame game. Can we agree that:

 

1. cache owners have a responsability of appropriately describing their cache so cachers can assess some of the risk before they get there. Additionally, they should place them in a way that reduces risk, however, if properly described, it's of course ok to place risky caches.

2. cachers have a responsability to make their own choice how much risk they are willing to take when going for a cache.

3. other cachers have a responsability to warn their fellow cachers should they become aware of new risks specific to a cache that might not be very obvious

4. the geocaching platform has a responsability to facilitate 1. and 3., and like in this thread suggested raise awareness of "standard risks" so cachers make smarter choices when getting to 2.

 

What I'm saying is that 3. and 4. can be improved. It is now not very easy to warn other cachers. Two more examples have come to my mind when thinking about this:

- last year, while going for a FTF I searched for a cache and stuck my hand into a rock/hole in the ground on a slope. It was a wasp's nest (not very obvious at all). I made sure to warn the guys after me, even posting a picture of the nest. I noticed by reading the logs afterwards that some people did take extra precaution in avoiding it. The CO never updated the listing (I don't blame him - considering our current "climate" of discussion also in this thread, I think most CO's wouldnt have). My warning should be more obvious, preferably with little or no work involved for the CO.

- also last year, a caching friend warned me of tricky sinkholes in the ground that someone almost fell into when attempting a nearby cache. I haven't done this cache, but the warning is still in the back of my mind, and when I go there, I will surely take extra precaution and look for those holes (that apparently are grown over and not very obvious). Concrete warnings work. Maybe not for everyone, but at least for some.

 

I think it's dumb and arrogant to assume we are always aware of every risk out there and can always appropriately judge a situation just by ourselves. Why not help each other out by pointing out concrete dangers and at least try to make sure something like this doesn't happen again?

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Both...

 

Or neither.

I would think that most geocachers have on time or another faced a geocache and had to make a decision. Sometimes we say "I'm not stupid. I'm not doing this one." Other times we say "That scares me but I think I can do it" and we go on to challenge ourselves with something we would never have tried otherwise.

 

On rare instances we make the wrong choice. I've probably given up on dozens of smileys I could possibly have gotten. I've gotten a few smileys where I've thought "I must be crazy doing this". You can't blame either the victim or the cache in this case. A decision was made most probably knowing what could happen.

 

Because geocachers often try things that they are not prepared for they don't always take safety precautions. A bit of discussion on safety equipment for climbing on a bridge or scaling a cliff might help awareness that there are ways to get to such caches with some sort of protection if you do fall. No doubt some people will make bad decisions nonetheless.

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I can only hope that if I die while caching I was having a good time.

 

Wait, that would be obvious and redundant to mention.

 

There have been a few caches where I chose to not attempt the find because I didn't want to tempt the obituary gods.

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My condolences to the cacher who died - that is indeed tragic. So young, too. :(

 

How does one know whether or not the person who hid the cache is even remotely qualified to judge the inherent risks? I'm not saying people shouldn't be allowed to take risks if they so choose - I believe people should have choices. However, there could be all manner of situations that are actually EXTREMELY dangerous for someone who is trained and equipped for the situation, and lethal to someone who is none of those things. Some of these situations probably look fairly innocent to someone who isn't qualified to judge this. (That could apply to either the hider or the finder.)

 

I am perfectly fine with people placing extremely challenging and even dangerous geocaches. I would think, though, that for ones that are so challenging, the hider should have to demonstrate (or even assert) at least SOME level of competence at the particular challenge, so that the reviewer could have some confidence that the hider is leading someone into a death trap. If you expect people to climb something, you should be able to explain some level of competence at this, right now, I don't think this is required at all. (I'm not suggesting that this was the case here - for all I know the hider was a skilled climber, or professionally maintained those bridges and was intimately familiar with them.)

 

Another thought would be to disallow people to download the coordinates only for caches in dangerous locations without first reading the web page. (Nothing like this is ever perfect though - if someone is determined to walk headfirst into something dangerous without any warnings, preparation, or plan, well they'll manage it and, all you can do is hope God loves 'em that day.)

 

Again, I'm not suggesting that physically challenging caches be disallowed. There are plenty of hazards in any outdoor activity (people drown in lakes all the time), and a person doing "harmless" park-n-grabs could very easily die in a traffic accident, or be murdered in a city park. The main point is to do everything you can to help people make good, safe choices for themselves. Some people will still make mistakes, or just run into bad luck.

 

BTW, I think the OP's suggestions about warnings are good ideas. If people start to tell you "hey, this seems really dangerous", and you start to get the feeling that people who are in no way qualified to face the challenge you set before them are mistakenly trying it anyway and risking severe injury, the cache owner should certainly disable the cache and rework things so that these issues are less likely to happen. (Or just archive it.) You can't stop all people from doing foolish things - fools are way too inventive. All you can do is try to prevent ENTICING people to get in over their head. I think minimal things done in the game to try to insure this would be prudent.

 

I do think the hider of a cache like this has a lot more responsibility to make sure things are OK. Another thought - even if a location is fine, maybe yearly maintenance visits should be required so that something that was just fine hasn't deteriorated and become a death-trap.

 

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Considering how many people cache without even looking at the cache page (they just load coordinates and go) it is not going to do much good to put another warning on the cache page. We have a cache near a sinkhole with walls that drop 300 feet straight down, there is no fence around this hole. There was 1 cacher who almost walked into the pit because he was so intent on his GPSr. And what about people who use cell-phones to cache, they just get the coordinates and go.

 

Warnings only work if people actually read them.

 

I vote no change.

 

John

 

I am all-together disappointed with the attitudes in this thread. What ever happened to compassion and caring about your neighbor. Yes, you can't protect them from everything, but why would you put your fellow human being at unecessary risk? Maybe I'm just lucky that I live in such a great area where great care is taken to put appropriate warnings and barriers in public places.

 

Cachers are human beings. We make mistakes. We have bad days. We make poor judgements. I don't feel any caches should be placed in dangerous places. If someone wants to go walking out on a narrow bridge or rock climbing with no safety equipment, let them do it, but please don't encourage them to to so by placing a cache there.

 

Re the above, someone nearly died finding one of your caches and you don't see a problem with this? You know about a dangerous sinkhole, you've done nothing to see that warning signs or a barrier is erected around it? Not only that, you are deliberately bringing people to this area. This seems very wrong to me. Knowing that someone nearly fell in and doing nothing about it, to me, this is negligence.

 

What if it was your child or mother or sister who wasn't paying attention and nearly fell in.

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Considering how many people cache without even looking at the cache page (they just load coordinates and go) it is not going to do much good to put another warning on the cache page. We have a cache near a sinkhole with walls that drop 300 feet straight down, there is no fence around this hole. There was 1 cacher who almost walked into the pit because he was so intent on his GPSr. And what about people who use cell-phones to cache, they just get the coordinates and go.

 

Warnings only work if people actually read them.

 

I vote no change.

 

John

 

I am all-together disappointed with the attitudes in this thread. What ever happened to compassion and caring about your neighbor. Yes, you can't protect them from everything, but why would you put your fellow human being at unecessary risk? Maybe I'm just lucky that I live in such a great area where great care is taken to put appropriate warnings and barriers in public places.

 

Cachers are human beings. We make mistakes. We have bad days. We make poor judgements. I don't feel any caches should be placed in dangerous places. If someone wants to go walking out on a narrow bridge or rock climbing with no safety equipment, let them do it, but please don't encourage them to to so by placing a cache there.

 

Re the above, someone nearly died finding one of your caches and you don't see a problem with this? You know about a dangerous sinkhole, you've done nothing to see that warning signs or a barrier is erected around it? Not only that, you are deliberately bringing people to this area. This seems very wrong to me. Knowing that someone nearly fell in and doing nothing about it, to me, this is negligence.

 

What if it was your child or mother or sister who wasn't paying attention and nearly fell in.

 

Even with barriers and signs lots of people assume they don't apply to them. If it was that simple we'd never have a trespassing issue in geocaching. But instead you have people with their faces buried in their units which is the norm especially for new geocachers or people unfamiliar with how their units work or how units work in general.

 

Rock climbing, walking on old bridges, diving, multi-day hikes are all safe activities if the finder takes the appropriate precautions. One cannot fault a cache owner because a finder didn't appropriately assess the situation in front of them and did not take the precautions they should have. There will always be people that take bad risks and some of the time they'll get away with it and some of the time they will fail. You can put all the warnings, red flags, notes and whatever out there but the finder is ultimately responsible when face to face with the challenge at hand.

 

And from what was stated before there were warnings of close calls from other cachers on this cache. The information was already there that this cache probably was not a simple walk in the park if the terrain rating didn't give that away already. Personally I would have probably gone and scouted it out and decided if this was feasible without safety equipment or if I needed to come back as I've done with other caches I've done.

 

Safety is also very dependent on how familiar the finder is with the terrain at hand and how comfortable the finder feels on it.

 

I continue to feel the cache owner bears no responsibility in what happens here. Nor should they. If people want to put warnings in their logs more power to them. I may or may not put warnings in my logs. The hider obviously got out to the position to hide the cache without much issue else the cache wouldn't be there. So it probably was possible to do reasonably safely. But it's up to the finders to figure out their own skill levels and if they can do it.

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meh...you can't change fate

Citation?

 

 

:lol:

 

you need to wait until after xmass, he's busy delivering toys :lol:

 

 

but your theory is in line with how society is this days....blame someone else for lack of common sense

You are right. Lets blame the dead guy. So convenient.

 

when did i said he is to blame?

 

there are times when nobody's to blame, accidents do happen you know?

 

ever read the story of Italian motorcyclist Marco Simoncelli's accident this year?

go google it...tragic but just an accident

 

 

For some reason, society will always include a percentage who are unwilling to let a person face the consequences of poor decisions.

But that unfortunate young man was climbing on that bridge structure because of the cache placed there. What was the poor decision. To place it there, or to go after it?

 

100% "to go for it"...that is what they call "exercise judgement"

 

who says you MUST get it just because its there?

if there's a cache in a lion's den or a snake pit, you would just jump in because its there?

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The only way I can see the cache owner having any fault in this would be if the cache is placed in a location where the public was not supposed to go. When I translated the cache page I saw mention of climbing a ladder and opening a hatch. I was hoping there would be pictures in the gallery for the cache so I could get a sense of what the location is like beyond looking at the satellite photos.

 

IF the cache was placed somewhere that should have been off limits to the public then bringing people there is irresponsible.

 

Assigning blame based on the information we have is a futile exercise. So many things we do not know.

 

Bottom line is: Sometimes things happen that are beyond your control and you pay the price. Other times you make a risk judgement and are proven to be wrong. I can't tell what happened here.

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Why do we always feel the need to assign blame?

 

Because we don't want to change and the easy target is the dead guy because he can't defend himself. Plain and simple.

 

As I have said in a previous post, I believe that this is the first time a death has been directly attributed to the actual seeking of a cache. Am I wrong? :unsure:

 

Since September of 2010, (thanks very much to my generous employer) I have received over 500 hours of the most up to date safety training money can buy including 2 weeks of advanced accident investigation training that I just completed last Friday. I have also completed over 1/3 of an AA degree in Occupational Safety in that time. For this thread I feel like I need to qualify my remarks because there are a bunch of hardened opinions that need to be at least softened a bit.

 

#1 Don't blame the dead guy. It does us no credit as a community and only hurts his family. He was 21 years old and his journey has ended before it was fairly begun. This is tragic. Shame on us. <_<

#2 Make sure his family is okay. OP? How are they doing? When is the funeral? Is there anything we as a community can do other than stop blaming him?

#3 Don't blame the CO. Have some consideration. It sounds like they are hurting too.

#4 Don't blame the system. We haven't had an actual geocaching death (that I know of) in 11 years. The system isn't broken.

#5 End the blame game period and stop going after eachother. It's just harmful in every direction. No one is to blame. Wait for the facts to be revealed and respond rather than react.

#6 What actually happened? Study the facts. Nothing else matters in this direction. Until we know, assigning responsibility is so much hot air.

#7 Are there any eyewitnesses that would care to comment?

#8 Failing any factual first hand info (at the moment) on what happened, what can we do as a community to raise caching/hiking safety awareness? (To hopefully prevent another geocaching death.)

#9 What if anything will Groundspeak do to raise caching safety awareness levels?(To hopefully prevent another geocaching death.)

 

Say hello to my little friend. Is anyone out there remotely familiar with Heinrich's Law?

 

pyramid-fig2.jpg

 

I figured that this version would be more digestable. :anibad:

Edited by Snoogans

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The only way I can see the cache owner having any fault in this would be if the cache is placed in a location where the public was not supposed to go. When I translated the cache page I saw mention of climbing a ladder and opening a hatch. I was hoping there would be pictures in the gallery for the cache so I could get a sense of what the location is like beyond looking at the satellite photos.

 

I was wondering about this too, especially given what Cezanne posted.

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It is now not very easy to warn other cachers. Two more examples have come to my mind when thinking about this:

- last year, while going for a FTF I searched for a cache and stuck my hand into a rock/hole in the ground on a slope. It was a wasp's nest (not very obvious at all). I made sure to warn the guys after me, even posting a picture of the nest. I noticed by reading the logs afterwards that some people did take extra precaution in avoiding it. The CO never updated the listing (I don't blame him - considering our current "climate" of discussion also in this thread, I think most CO's wouldnt have). My warning should be more obvious, preferably with little or no work involved for the CO.

 

I think that it is the responsability of the cache hider to add some warning to the description in such a case and in the only local example of that type

http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.aspx?guid=670f8cef-3ff3-4f6d-a393-4f1f819eac93

the cache owner has reacted very quickly (meanwhile the warning has been removed again, but you can find it mentioned in the version history of the cache).

If a warning is important, post a needs maintenance log so that cachers will be warned even before the cache owner can react.

 

I do not think that we need a separate area for warnings as a responsable cache owner can add any type of information to the cache description at any time.

 

- also last year, a caching friend warned me of tricky sinkholes in the ground that someone almost fell into when attempting a nearby cache. I haven't done this cache, but the warning is still in the back of my mind, and when I go there, I will surely take extra precaution and look for those holes (that apparently are grown over and not very obvious). Concrete warnings work. Maybe not for everyone, but at least for some.

 

I agree, but there exist already all necessary means for coming up with warnings.

 

I think it's dumb and arrogant to assume we are always aware of every risk out there and can always appropriately judge a situation just by ourselves.

Why not help each other out by pointing out concrete dangers and at least try to make sure something like this doesn't happen again?

 

Does anyone of us know why willi fell down? I guess that's not the case. So a warning for a cache of that type could not be more than what should be evident to any of us anyway.

I guess willi proceeded under the hypothesis that nothing will go wrong. I guess that anyone visiting this cache will know that if something goes wrong in a certain moment, the effect will be quite serious.

 

I think that with the ability to come up with warnings in logs and mails to the cache owner and his/her responsability for the cache, we already have a system for warnings that works quite well.

 

What perhaps could be useful is the following:

A collection of personal experiences of cachers who became victims of caching accidents, but survived, and who learnt something they would like to share with other cachers.

I guess it could be more convincing to cachers who like to go for adventures to hear from fellow cachers who in retrospect feel that they have not estimated the risks properly.

 

Cezanne

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As I have said in a previous post, I believe that this is the first time a death has been directly attributed to the actual seeking of a cache. Am I wrong? :unsure:

 

Creston RCMP and BC Coroners investigate accidental death of geocacher

 

WOW. Thanks for that link. Another death this year. Interesting, but also sad.

 

The person linked above was just on scene. It was not suggested that he was going in for the find.

 

Okay, rephrase..... I do believe that this is the first death directly attributed to final retrieval of a cache?

 

Do I have that right? Was he going in for the find? Do we really know for sure? Is there a German news article?

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As I have said in a previous post, I believe that this is the first time a death has been directly attributed to the actual seeking of a cache. Am I wrong? :unsure:

 

Creston RCMP and BC Coroners investigate accidental death of geocacher

 

WOW. Thanks for that link. Another death this year. Interesting, but also sad.

 

The person linked above was just on scene. It was not suggested that he was going in for the find.

 

Okay, rephrase..... I do believe that this is the first death directly attributed to final retrieval of a cache?

 

Do I have that right? Was he going in for the find? Do we really know for sure? Is there a German news article?

 

I believe he was going for the find which he assumed was over the guardrail but it wasn't. I think the cache description did say that the cache was not hidden beyond the guardrail. I'll see if I can find he forum discussion about it.

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Responsibility for correctly describing and rating the cache rests with the CO. I should think the unfortunate owner of this bridge cache will never let a warning in a log pass unnoticed again.

 

I don't think any responsibility lies on the CO, unless it's to reimburse for gas to get the cache. The ultimate responsibility is on the finder whether or not to attempt it. Difficulty and terrain are completely subjective values.

Edited by Clayshooter

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As I have said in a previous post, I believe that this is the first time a death has been directly attributed to the actual seeking of a cache. Am I wrong? :unsure:

 

Creston RCMP and BC Coroners investigate accidental death of geocacher

 

WOW. Thanks for that link. Another death this year. Interesting, but also sad.

 

The person linked above was just on scene. It was not suggested that he was going in for the find.

 

Okay, rephrase..... I do believe that this is the first death directly attributed to final retrieval of a cache?

 

Do I have that right? Was he going in for the find? Do we really know for sure? Is there a German news article?

 

I believe he was going for the find which he assumed was over the guardrail but it wasn't. I think the cache description did say that the cache was not hidden beyond the guardrail. I'll see if I can find he forum discussion about it.

 

The discussion

http://forums.Groundspeak.com/GC/index.php?showtopic=278561

 

The cache

http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.aspx?wp=GC1FC3G

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As I have said in a previous post, I believe that this is the first time a death has been directly attributed to the actual seeking of a cache. Am I wrong? :unsure:

 

Creston RCMP and BC Coroners investigate accidental death of geocacher

 

WOW. Thanks for that link. Another death this year. Interesting, but also sad.

 

The person linked above was just on scene. It was not suggested that he was going in for the find.

 

Okay, rephrase..... I do believe that this is the first death directly attributed to final retrieval of a cache?

 

Do I have that right? Was he going in for the find? Do we really know for sure? Is there a German news article?

 

It makes you wonder how many people have died geocaching, people that the news doesn't report or know they were out geocaching, and simple reports on a tragic death of a hiker or rockclimber etc. who has died while performing those feats.

 

My deepiest sympathy to the local community and the family of this cacher.

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but your theory is in line with how society is this days....blame someone else for lack of common sense

You are right. Lets blame the dead guy. So convenient.

 

So who do you want to blame? I don't think there is any blame to be had here. It was an ACCIDENT. The closest thing to laying blame would be to "Blame" the victim for not using common sense. He could have easily turned and walked away.

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The only way I can see the cache owner having any fault in this would be if the cache is placed in a location where the public was not supposed to go. When I translated the cache page I saw mention of climbing a ladder and opening a hatch. I was hoping there would be pictures in the gallery for the cache so I could get a sense of what the location is like beyond looking at the satellite photos.

 

IF the cache was placed somewhere that should have been off limits to the public then bringing people there is irresponsible.

 

Did it really take until halfway down the second page before someone asked if the cache should've been there in the first place? :rolleyes: I don't mean "is it safe?" but did this really have adequate permission?

 

Maybe things are different in Germany, but I've not heard of pedestrian bridges open to the public in the US where one must climb a ladder and open a hatch. It sounds like this was something owned by a power or water company and thus private property

 

Maybe I am misunderstanding the placement; more details are necessary.

 

Otherwise, just be careful and RTFCP. Condolences to the family regardless.

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Did it really take until halfway down the second page before someone asked if the cache should've been there in the first place? :rolleyes: I don't mean "is it safe?" but did this really have adequate permission?

 

I wrote already quite early in this thread that the cache is located at a location where unauthorized people are not supposed to go.

I think, however, that a comparable accident can also happen in locations where access is allowed and the questions of the OP went into a different direction.

 

Maybe things are different in Germany, but I've not heard of pedestrian bridges open to the public in the US where one must climb a ladder and open a hatch. It sounds like this was something owned by a power or water company and thus private property

 

No, things are not different in Germany with respect to where non-authorized people are supposed to go.

However, it is absolutely common to place caches without permission of the property owner.

There exist many much more dangerous and daring caches - the same is true for Austria. In some areas there are hardly any bridges without caches and lots of them involve accessing areas which should not be accessed.

There are even caches like this one

http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.aspx?guid=c5a37cd3-23ee-4fde-af67-6be602016826

which is certainly much more dangerous than the German one where the accident happened. It is just luck that nothing has happened at this and comparable caches because nothing major went wrong.

 

Cezanne

Edited by cezanne

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The only way I can see the cache owner having any fault in this would be if the cache is placed in a location where the public was not supposed to go. When I translated the cache page I saw mention of climbing a ladder and opening a hatch. I was hoping there would be pictures in the gallery for the cache so I could get a sense of what the location is like beyond looking at the satellite photos.

 

IF the cache was placed somewhere that should have been off limits to the public then bringing people there is irresponsible.

 

Did it really take until halfway down the second page before someone asked if the cache should've been there in the first place? :rolleyes: I don't mean "is it safe?" but did this really have adequate permission?

 

Maybe things are different in Germany, but I've not heard of pedestrian bridges open to the public in the US where one must climb a ladder and open a hatch. It sounds like this was something owned by a power or water company and thus private property

 

Maybe I am misunderstanding the placement; more details are necessary.

 

Otherwise, just be careful and RTFCP. Condolences to the family regardless.

The question raised by the OP was merely using this incident as an example to point out a perceived need for more warnings on the page for any "dangerous" cache. It is a much more general question than whether or not the cache used as an example should have been place in the first place. This isn't about that cache.

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As I have said in a previous post, I believe that this is the first time a death has been directly attributed to the actual seeking of a cache. Am I wrong? :unsure:

 

No, there was another cacher who died while seeking a cache. I think it was last year. Somewhere in the US, I forget where. You could probably do a forum search and find the thread.

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#2 Make sure his family is okay. OP? How are they doing? When is the funeral? Is there anything we as a community can do other than stop blaming him?

 

Some from the local community who are friends/relatives are in close touch with the family and are making sure they are not getting overwhelmed by the hundreds or even thousands of cachers who knew him (especially at the funeral). I'm not aware of anything you can do from afar at the moment. I'd like to keep that kind of info out of the thread though, but yes, I hope there won't be more blame put on him here - his family will most likely eventually see this thread.

 

#3 Don't blame the CO. Have some consideration. It sounds like they are hurting too.

 

Very understandably the CO immediately archived all his other caches and said he'll stop caching. Nobody is putting blame on them locally that I'm aware of, and I also would hate to be in their shoes.

 

From what I know the bridge is not meant for the public, but it doesnt really matter in terms of safety for cachers - as has been outlined there are scores of caches in places one shouldn't go and the emphasis of warnings by COs or other cachers is usually on avoiding getting caught or seen by muggles (in this case the CO suggested to do this cache at night), and not on safety. Another problem, btw, that seems widespread in my experience - more emphasis is often put on that side of the game.

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I've skimmed this thread and the big question that no one talks about is permission. I guess that's something a lot of us don't want to hear about. Was permission granted by somebody to place the cache? If I am responsible for a property I would never grant permission for a cache if I thought it would put people in danger on my property.

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Maybe things are different in Germany, but I've not heard of pedestrian bridges open to the public in the US where one must climb a ladder and open a hatch. It sounds like this was something owned by a power or water company and thus private property

I think this is where I am less certain than others that there is zero potential for liability for similar placements. Hiding a cache atop a mountain peak is one thing; placing it (and publishing it) on the underside of a structure owned by someone else who would not want random people climbing on it introduces some new factors.

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Re: permissions and liability: could you please open a separate thread about that if you wanna discuss it in depth? I don't think it has much to do with increasing the safety for geocachers and am afraid it will quickly derail this thread since the discussion will again turn to whether the CO is to blame in some way or not, which I'd like to avoid.

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As I have said in a previous post, I believe that this is the first time a death has been directly attributed to the actual seeking of a cache. Am I wrong? :unsure:

 

Creston RCMP and BC Coroners investigate accidental death of geocacher

 

WOW. Thanks for that link. Another death this year. Interesting, but also sad.

 

The person linked above was just on scene. It was not suggested that he was going in for the find.

 

Okay, rephrase..... I do believe that this is the first death directly attributed to final retrieval of a cache?

 

Do I have that right? Was he going in for the find? Do we really know for sure? Is there a German news article?

 

It makes you wonder how many people have died geocaching, people that the news doesn't report or know they were out geocaching, and simple reports on a tragic death of a hiker or rockclimber etc. who has died while performing those feats.

 

My deepiest sympathy to the local community and the family of this cacher.

 

Other than the 4 that have been mentioned on this thread.... I doubt seriously that it would be more than a couple. So a 50% error. Of the 4 known/mentioned 50% can't be pinned to the actual final hunt.

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Re: permissions and liability: could you please open a separate thread about that if you wanna discuss it in depth? I don't think it has much to do with increasing the safety for geocachers and am afraid it will quickly derail this thread since the discussion will again turn to whether the CO is to blame in some way or not, which I'd like to avoid.

 

I agree that it will derail the thread. I disagree that it doesn't have much to do with geocacher safety though.

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Re: permissions and liability: could you please open a separate thread about that if you wanna discuss it in depth? I don't think it has much to do with increasing the safety for geocachers

 

Are you really sure? For example, access to many lookout towers in my area and many staircases is not allowed in Winter time due to safety and liability reasons. As the property owner expects people to visit such locations, prohibition signs are placed and the access is locked in some way or another. Also outside of Winter time, such locations are regularly checked. This does not hold for locations where normal people are not supposed to go.

 

Many caches are hidden under good weather conditions, but are visited under more difficult conditions. It would make sense that every cache hider spends a few minutes to assess how much more difficult a cache gets under bad conditions and provides according information in the cache description in cases where this applies. Wet or icy structures e.g. can be a lot trickier than dry ones.

 

Cezanne

Edited by cezanne

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Not to sound insensitive, but people need to take responsibility for their own safety and know their limits. Plain and simple. It shouldn't be up to Groundspeak or a reviewer to decide if a cache is too dangerous or not.

 

Accidents happen, and this is a tragic one. I don't think anything needs to change. There will always be extreme or dangerous caches. It's up to the finders to decide if the reward outweighs the risk.

 

An unfortunate situation. But I agree with Clayshooter.

 

At the end of the day, it does not matter what the ratings are. If you don't think you're capable of safely finding a cache, DON'T DO IT. If your not willing to accept the consequences, don't take the risk.

 

.. and this coming from a guy that just hid a cache 30' up in a cliff yesterday with no safety gear (knock on wood).

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