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

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To put things into perspective, this is from the main page for Geocaching -

 

There are 1,599,619 active geocaches and over 5 million geocachers worldwide.

 

1 person in 5,000,000 made an error in judgment. Don't have a knee-jerk reaction. Accept the fact that people do make mistakes and that will never change no matter what type of warning would be on the cache page.

 

John

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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.[/b]

 

We agree on something for once... at least in part. I too believe that the Groundspeak disclaimer is not a teflon coated umbrella for a CO to hide under. Being the owner of several high D/T caches, this makes me sit up and take notice.

 

You and others are jumping to the conclusion that no permission was given in this case. This is unknown at this time. Discussing the assumption that no permission was given or that the owner of the bridge didn't want it does more harm than good at this point.

 

Discuss facts about this tragic accident, not assumptions. Try not to harm the affected parties any further.:mellow:

 

In the absence of facts, why not try to be constructive and find a way(s) to prevent another similar accident? :unsure:

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What was the poor decision. To place it there, or to go after it?

With what limited facts we have, I would say neither decision, in and of itself, was bad. The person who hid the cache managed to do so without injury or death. 34 people after him managed to find it without injury or death. Of those 34, one person almost suffered injury, according to the log, because they were not watching where they were going. I would say that, walking, without watching where you are going, even in the most benign environment, is typically considered a bad decision. When you do so in a hazardous environment, it's a really bad decision.

 

It is now not very easy to warn other cachers.

Actually, it is very easy to warn other cachers.

 

As a hider, we have the ability to post attributes which indicate certain specific hazards, such as "difficult climbing", (which, incidentally, was posted on the cache page in question), as well as a more generalized attribute for "dangerous area". Perhaps this attribute would have been appropriate on this cache. Perhaps not. If I understand the environment, the only hazard is the height. If I can't look at a structure many, many meters tall, and judge that such a height could represent a danger to my person, I probably should not be allowed out in public. I'm thinking the "dangerous area" attribute is more appropriate for hazards which are not fairly obvious, such as the grown over sink holes you mentioned.

 

We also have the D/T rating. While the D/T rating might not be very obvious to an inexperienced cacher, I would think that anyone with more than 2 finds would know that a cache rated higher than a 1/1 might require paying attention to your surroundings. The cache in question is rated 2/3.5. The two star difficulty rating tells me that, once at ground zero, the average cacher should be able to locate the cache in 30 minutes or less. The 3.5 terrain rating tells me that it is not safe for children, should probably be hunted by experienced outdoor enthusiasts, and will have a significant elevation change, possibly requiring both hands for climbing.

 

We also have the cache description, where we can describe the location, along with pointing out any dangers that might not be obvious. Google Translate is not a perfect tool, but it does tell me that a climb is involved, (climbing always includes the possibility of falling), there is a hatch to open, and an unobstructed view of the river below. I haven't been there, so I have no way of knowing if these hazard warnings accurately describe the hunt, but the 34 people who found it didn't seem to take issue with how the cache page was written.

 

The cache seekers also have a tool available to warn their peers; the digital log. I think you did the right thing pointing out the wasps you mentioned, as many folks would not be aware of that danger. For the cache in question, someone did post a log describing that walking around, in an area with obvious hazards, without watching where you place your feet, can be hazardous to your health.

 

So the tools are already in place, for those who choose to use them. In this case, it appears that the hider did use due diligence in describing the potential dangers inherent in this hunt. We know from the found it logs that at least one person decided to ignore the warnings, and almost suffered the consequences of that poor judgement. Thankfully, their companion was paying attention, and warned them in time to avoid disaster.

 

The two things we, as cache hiders, cannot do, is force cache seekers to properly evaluate the listed hazards, and the blatantly obvious, unlisted hazards, such as excess height, and approach the cache in a manner appropriate to those hazards. If warnings and obvious hazards are ignored, having more of them won't help.

 

Concrete warnings work. Maybe not for everyone, but at least for some.

What would you suggest the "concrete warning" be for this hide?

"Hey! This thing is really high off the ground!"

Wouldn't that fall under the aforementioned blatantly obvious hazards?

 

What ever happened to compassion and caring about your neighbor.

I think this statement wins the prize for silliest thing posted in this thread. To assume that those who disagree with your principal, (The entire world should be covered in bubble wrap and labeled with huge, blinking neon signs pointing out every conceivable hazard), are lacking compassion is the height of hubris.

 

I don't feel any caches should be placed in dangerous places.

I may have to retract my earlier comment. This statement actually seems even sillier. Those who have ever been outside recognize that every single cache on the planet, from Vinny & Sue's Psycho Urban series, to the cache in the air conditioned lobby of the St Augustine Welcome Center, are in dangerous places.

 

You yourself own 24 active hides that are in dangerous places. From what appears to be your very first hide, Peter Rabbit's Stash, which is a multi with the first stage in close proximity to a roadway, (people are killed every day walking near roadways), to what appears to be your most recent hide, I - Alphabet Soup, which is hidden near blackberry thorns, (pokes and scratches can easily get infected), you have created hides which encourage others, (according to your earlier used phrase), to place themselves in harms way. If you honestly believed that no caches should be placed in dangerous places, you would archive all your hides.

 

...the easy target is the dead guy because he can't defend himself.

But the more convenient target are the cache owner, because they are presumably still alive and have assets that can be taken during a lawsuit, and Groundspeak, because they supposedly have deep pockets. Also, blaming the cache owner/the listing service, allows us to avoid the seemingly unpalatable act of forcing folks to be accountable for their own choices.

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I believe the permission discussion goes hand in hand here. Was he and this cache somewhere he and the cache shouldn't have been in the first place?

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Anybody that needs a warning on the cache page to warn them of danger rather than looking at the real-life situation laid out before them when they are approaching the cache site is probably not going to be helped by either.

 

Took the words right out of my mouth.

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...the easy target is the dead guy because he can't defend himself.

But the more convenient target are the cache owner, because they are presumably still alive and have assets that can be taken during a lawsuit, and Groundspeak, because they supposedly have deep pockets. Also, blaming the cache owner/the listing service, allows us to avoid the seemingly unpalatable act of forcing folks to be accountable for their own choices.

You KNOW that I am a huge advocate for self accountability. It could be my middle name in this forum if I had a geocaching middle name... Snoogans "Self Accountability Dude" Geocacher.... My posting record will testify.

 

However, there is a fellow geocacher who won't see his 22nd birthday, a grieving family, a CO who has left the game, and a local caching continuum that is suffering a loss. This is no longer a game to those directly affected. :sad:

 

Perhaps accountability can take a back seat until some facts are actually known. :mellow::unsure:

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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

 

Post #75 gets THE BIGGEST :rolleyes: I could ever possibly muster.

 

The "compassion for your neighbor" idea is just way out in left field.

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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Its possible to die at any cache. You could slip and crack your skull open on a slippery rock or in a parking lot, get bitten by a poisonous snake, get shot being in a lousy neighborhood or in the woods near a meth production lab, stick your finger into a hypodermic needle while looking for a nano, hit by a car while walking on the side of the road, ect.

Edited by 4wheelin_fool

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#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 each other. 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.)

 

 

Thank you for this post.

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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.

 

in addition to that, a solo Geocacher fell into a ravine in Texas and was killed. And I'm going to guess that was 2008, if not earlier. I'll not look it up though, don't want to derail the thread.

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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.

 

Please see this post

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...the easy target is the dead guy because he can't defend himself.

But the more convenient target are the cache owner, because they are presumably still alive and have assets that can be taken during a lawsuit, and Groundspeak, because they supposedly have deep pockets. Also, blaming the cache owner/the listing service, allows us to avoid the seemingly unpalatable act of forcing folks to be accountable for their own choices.

You KNOW that I am a huge advocate for self accountability. It could be my middle name in this forum if I had a geocaching middle name... Snoogans "Self Accountability Dude" Geocacher.... My posting record will testify.

 

However, there is a fellow geocacher who won't see his 22nd birthday, a grieving family, a CO who has left the game, and a local caching continuum that is suffering a loss. This is no longer a game to those directly affected. :sad:

 

Perhaps accountability can take a back seat until some facts are actually known. :mellow::unsure:

 

Perhaps this whole thread would be best discussed 6 months from now once facts are known and once it can be discussed without the possibly of inflicting pain into a very fresh wound.

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Perhaps accountability can take a back seat until some facts are actually known.

I agree completely. It is way too early to assign blame. I just wanted to counter all the silliness folks were posting that insinuated the cache owner was somehow responsible. We really don't know the facts that led to this young man's tragic end. If we care to speculate, (which could be an Olympic event in these forums), all we have to work with is what we can glean from the cache page.

 

Such as:

 

The cache is on some kind of bridge like structure. By comparing the shadow angle, with shadows created by nearby objects with known heights, we can guess that this structure is fairly high above the water.

 

From reading the cache page, and the past logs, we see that there is likely some climbing involved, possibly a hatch opening, and that walking, while staring at your GPSr, could result in a fall.

 

Everything else is pure guesswork.

 

Being a fairly well educated subset of society, we can make certain deductions, to include that at least one previous finder ignored both the hazards listed on the cache page, and the blatantly obvious hazards presented by the environment, and almost suffered the consequences of such a poor choice. Being reasonably logical critters, we know that, if there is one person who willingly ignores the warnings, there will likely be others.

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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.

 

in addition to that, a solo Geocacher fell into a ravine in Texas and was killed. And I'm going to guess that was 2008, if not earlier. I'll not look it up though, don't want to derail the thread.

 

That one I've already mentioned. It was close to home. He had a heart attack and fell into a ravine after finding the 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:

 

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 guess it might depend on how you define going in for a find. I'm pretty sure other geocaching deaths have occurred when someone was searching for the the geocache and probably some other have a occurred after the cache was spotted and the cacher was trying to retrieve the container.

 

What makes this case different is that it may be the first to occur at what would commonly be labeled an "extreme" cache. It likely we haven't seen a fatality at an extreme cache before because fewer people attempt extreme caches, and those that due exercise more care when "going for it".

 

Much of the discussion seems to be centered on how you define as an "extreme" cache. For caches rated terrain 5 we know that special equipment or training is required to retrieve the cache. But there seems to be another class where the only requirement is courage (or foolishness). What happens here is that cachers with a certain level of courage (or foolishness) may decide to tackle the cache without appropriate safety equipment. They may underestimate the risks in retrieving the cache.

 

The community seems divided as to what should be done about "extreme" caches. Some may feel the current system is fine. Individuals can make a decision whether or not they are comfortable attempting a cache. Others are looking for ways to make people aware of the real risks in these caches even when the terrain is not level 5, and remind cachers to use caution and where applicable incorporate the proper safety protocols when attempting the cache. Still others would ban such caches except where the safety requirements are obvious (e.g. terrain 5 caches requiring special equipment). Many extreme caches require cachers to climb on structures that are not normally places where the general public can climb. In some localities there may be laws against this. In other areas the owner of the structure may consider this trespassing. In still others, the guidelines against placing caches on structures that are perceived as terrorist targets applies. I suspect that some of the calls to ban "extreme" or dangerous caches are more a question of whether these locations are ever appropriate for hiding geocaches. From what I've read, in Germany and some other part of Europe, these locations are not as sensitive as in the United States and that may account for these caches being a bit more popular there.

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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.[/b]

 

We agree on something for once... at least in part. I too believe that the Groundspeak disclaimer is not a teflon coated umbrella for a CO to hide under. Being the owner of several high D/T caches, this makes me sit up and take notice.

 

You and others are jumping to the conclusion that no permission was given in this case. This is unknown at this time. Discussing the assumption that no permission was given or that the owner of the bridge didn't want it does more harm than good at this point.

 

Discuss facts about this tragic accident, not assumptions. Try not to harm the affected parties any further.:mellow:

 

In the absence of facts, why not try to be constructive and find a way(s) to prevent another similar accident? :unsure:

I'm not jumping to any conclusions or making any assumptions about what happened here; I'm speaking far more generally than this specific case. Moving forward I simply think it's something folks should consider when placing caches in dangerous (i.e., one false step) spots. Ownership and adequate permission in those cases may take on an entirely different weight, vs. attaching a MHAK to the outer rail of a private park.

 

In terms of constructive suggestions, I guess stating the above more explicitly would help. CO's looking to place caches in one-false-step spots should take the time to learn who manages the location and whether or not it is an appropriate place for a cache. In opening a dialog with the land manager and/or structure owner, they may learn something about whether or not it is considered a safe or appropriate place for hikers / outdoors enthusiasts / geocachers to explore. They may learn (and can add to the cache page) that there are several poorly marked abandoned mines in the area. Or they may learn (and can add to the cache page) that climbing on the underside of the structure is allowed but only if cachers bring proper safety and climbing gear. Who knows.

 

I suspect we've agreed more than once. Don't let recency bias fool you.

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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.

 

in addition to that, a solo Geocacher fell into a ravine in Texas and was killed. And I'm going to guess that was 2008, if not earlier. I'll not look it up though, don't want to derail the thread.

 

That one I've already mentioned. It was close to home. He had a heart attack and fell into a ravine after finding the cache.

 

No, there was another one. The cacher was new and had only 2 finds or so.

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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.

 

I'd like to know whether you think that your training in some manner influenced the way you are caching. In the affirmative case, I'd like to hear more about it.

 

pyramid-fig2.jpg

 

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

 

I think this pyramid is demonstrating the situation very well. With the increasing number of caches, cachers and extreme caches the number of incidents is increasing.

We have had several serious accidents in Austria associated to geocaching with the last 2 years. The majority of them ended with fractures. There has been a recent incident where a cacher fell from an artifically elongated ladder construction while installing something for a new cache - he was reported to have suffered from a serious spine injury, but I am not aware of further details. Shortly before that incident an experienced T5 cacher died in a car accident (he lost control, no other cars were involved) while driving down from a cache (with a low terrain rating) in the night. As a result of the shock of these two incidents about 80 or more high terrain caches have been archived. None of these caches was involved in an accident. These cachers were already shocked by having lost one of their fellow cachers who also has been very popular in the local community. So I think the shock of someone must be much greater if someone dies at a cache one has hidden.

 

Like you I also think that blaming anyone does not help in such a situation. I do think however that it is very important to raise more awareness for safety issues.

This not only effects climbing caches, extreme hikes, but also many caches that may appear harmless. I am aware of several caches where the suggested parking coordinates are on one side of the road and some boring sign needs to be reached at the other side of the road with no safe way to cross the road. In 999 cases out of 1000 nothing will happen, but in the 1 out of 1000 cases the result might be quite tragic. These are situations where a different concept for the cache would not even make it less interesting, just safer.

 

 

Cezanne

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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.

 

I'd like to know whether you think that your training in some manner influenced the way you are caching. In the affirmative case, I'd like to hear more about it.

 

 

Well, I haven't been caching much since all the training and added workload have really cut into my ME time fun. Family comes first.

 

To directly answer your question, after taking Electrical Standards (including OSHA & NFPA70E) I seriously doubt I'd even get out of my car if a cache lead me to or around energized electrical equipment, but I have mostly cached in a better safe than sorry manner since about late 2005. What the training has really changed is my perspective on caching safety and on caching accidents/war stories.

 

As a safety professional, the mantra is that there are no accidents. The word itself is shunned. I find it a little silly and PC to shun a word, but I get the concept. To me, all accidents are preventable up to the point where the accident actually occurrs. That's more realistic. I'm not much for PC.

 

I do believe that this accident could have been prevented. I would need to know the facts to suggest a corrective action(s) to prevent a similar incident of equal or lesser severity.

 

pyramid-fig2.jpg

 

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

 

I think this pyramid is demonstrating the situation very well. With the increasing number of caches, cachers and extreme caches the number of incidents is increasing.

<snip>

Like you I also think that blaming anyone does not help in such a situation. I do think however that it is very important to raise more awareness for safety issues.

<snip>

 

Cezanne

 

Heinrich's Law has been around since the 1930's yet it clearly relates to the accelerated growth of geocaching and reported incidents/accidents/deaths we are beginning to see more of.

 

The key here is addressing at risk behaviors and how we as a community and Groundspeak as the listing entity go about addressing the bottom part of the pyramid to reduce fatalities at the top.

 

It seems there are more NEW(er) cachers than what I am going to call mature cachers these days.

 

Many new cachers take to geocaching with the abandon of new lovers/religious converts/junkies etc. Even though my find count is low for a cacher of nearly 9 years, I didn't mature in to a safer more prepared cacher until I had been caching for a couple of years. Most of my actual battle scars happened in that time.

 

The time to get the safety message to sink in is at the beginning of a cacher's career when they are more open to suggestion and through inescapable safety messaging to the community at large. Over the period of a few years, geocaching can create it's own culture of safety just as scuba diving, racing, technical climbing, skydiving, shooting, and any other sport that has an element of personal risk involved.

 

It just takes time and the effort of a minority to bring it about.

Edited by Snoogans

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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.

 

in addition to that, a solo Geocacher fell into a ravine in Texas and was killed. And I'm going to guess that was 2008, if not earlier. I'll not look it up though, don't want to derail the thread.

 

That one I've already mentioned. It was close to home. He had a heart attack and fell into a ravine after finding the cache.

 

No, there was another one. The cacher was new and had only 2 finds or so.

In Texas? :unsure: When? Where? :unsure:

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Myself and another cacher were attempting a 5/5, where you were supposed to abseil (rappel) down a cliff to the cache.

 

A previous cacher got to the cache another way by scrambling down a scree slope while holding onto an anchored rope. We were trying this method when the going got a bit dangerous. My friend said "Signing a bit of paper is not worth my life, I'm going back", and quickly did so, looking over the vertical drop nearby I agreed and followed him back up the slope. It was our choice, as it is at every cache 'we' attempt.

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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.

 

in addition to that, a solo Geocacher fell into a ravine in Texas and was killed. And I'm going to guess that was 2008, if not earlier. I'll not look it up though, don't want to derail the thread.

 

That one I've already mentioned. It was close to home. He had a heart attack and fell into a ravine after finding the cache.

 

No, there was another one. The cacher was new and had only 2 finds or so.

In Texas? :unsure: When? Where? :unsure:

 

Would it be this one? http://forums.Groundspeak.com/GC/index.php?showtopic=86102

 

Here are a couple more that I found. Not sure which have already been mentioned:

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

http://forums.Groundspeak.com/GC/index.php?showtopic=164809

http://www.krem.com/news/local/Man-dies-after-falling-off-Dishman-Hills-cliff-70228277.html

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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.

 

in addition to that, a solo Geocacher fell into a ravine in Texas and was killed. And I'm going to guess that was 2008, if not earlier. I'll not look it up though, don't want to derail the thread.

 

That one I've already mentioned. It was close to home. He had a heart attack and fell into a ravine after finding the cache.

 

No, there was another one. The cacher was new and had only 2 finds or so.

In Texas? :unsure: When? Where? :unsure:

 

Would it be this one? http://forums.Groundspeak.com/GC/index.php?showtopic=86102

 

Here are a couple more that I found. Not sure which have already been mentioned:

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

http://forums.Groundspeak.com/GC/index.php?showtopic=164809

http://www.krem.com/news/local/Man-dies-after-falling-off-Dishman-Hills-cliff-70228277.html

Nope the links add up to 3 deaths and this being the 4th. All present and accounted for unless I missed one. :unsure:

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Let me see If I have this correct.

 

Someone approaches a cache location and they are standing on a cliff over looking a river down below. Their GPSr says they need to climb on the structure that is there, in order to reach the cache. It is obvious that if one slips and falls things will turn out badly. At this point they decide to climb and try for the cache.

 

What warning would they have listened to at that point? You stand on the cliff and look down at the river, you know that a fall will do serious bodily damage. You climb up this structure, you know that if you fall, you will be in serious trouble. Care is needed to prevent something from going wrong, so you know, you should use caution when attempting to retrieve this cache.

 

So The Question remains, "What warning would have made a difference in this case?". It is doubtful any warning would have been heeded.

 

John

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Let me see If I have this correct.

 

Someone approaches a cache location and they are standing on a cliff over looking a river down below. Their GPSr says they need to climb on the structure that is there, in order to reach the cache. It is obvious that if one slips and falls things will turn out badly. At this point they decide to climb and try for the cache.

 

What warning would they have listened to at that point? You stand on the cliff and look down at the river, you know that a fall will do serious bodily damage. You climb up this structure, you know that if you fall, you will be in serious trouble. Care is needed to prevent something from going wrong, so you know, you should use caution when attempting to retrieve this cache.

 

So The Question remains, "What warning would have made a difference in this case?". It is doubtful any warning would have been heeded.

 

John

 

I did a cache up here recently that required a jump over a ravine onto another rock.

Unsure, I decided to read past logs to see what everyone else had said. The logs were all in aggrement that this was completely doable and had little risk. Nobody complained of any issues. So I made the jump and did quite alright.

 

If there was even one warning saying, "this is near impossible" or "I almost didn't make it" then I wouldn't have done it.

Again, these are all my decisions, and I am one who accepts full responsibility for all my choices. But this was just one factor that helped me choose what to do.

 

Just because a warning wouldn't work for you, or even work for most people, doesn't mean it wont work for anybody...and if it just worked for one person, then isn't it worth it?

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Let me see If I have this correct.

 

Someone approaches a cache location and they are standing on a cliff over looking a river down below. Their GPSr says they need to climb on the structure that is there, in order to reach the cache. It is obvious that if one slips and falls things will turn out badly. At this point they decide to climb and try for the cache.

 

What warning would they have listened to at that point? You stand on the cliff and look down at the river, you know that a fall will do serious bodily damage. You climb up this structure, you know that if you fall, you will be in serious trouble. Care is needed to prevent something from going wrong, so you know, you should use caution when attempting to retrieve this cache.

 

So The Question remains, "What warning would have made a difference in this case?". It is doubtful any warning would have been heeded.

 

John

 

You make a convincing case for the "why was there a cache there in the first place" folks, but I don't think that was your intent.

 

I'll wait patiently for some facts to be posted.

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The guy I was thinking of was named Stuart Anderson and cached with his wife under the name k123anderson. I would post forum links if I wasnt using a phone right now.

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Let me see If I have this correct.

 

Someone approaches a cache location and they are standing on a cliff over looking a river down below. Their GPSr says they need to climb on the structure that is there, in order to reach the cache. It is obvious that if one slips and falls things will turn out badly. At this point they decide to climb and try for the cache.

 

What warning would they have listened to at that point? You stand on the cliff and look down at the river, you know that a fall will do serious bodily damage. You climb up this structure, you know that if you fall, you will be in serious trouble. Care is needed to prevent something from going wrong, so you know, you should use caution when attempting to retrieve this cache.

 

So The Question remains, "What warning would have made a difference in this case?". It is doubtful any warning would have been heeded.

 

John

 

If the cache owner greased the structure, then I can see it as his fault, although I suppose hiders should also check first to make sure he didn't grease it.

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The guy I was thinking of was named Stuart Anderson and cached with his wife under the name k123anderson. I would post forum links if I wasnt using a phone right now.

 

Here ya go: http://forums.Groundspeak.com/GC/index.php?showtopic=237171

 

That matched the Dishman hills article linked earlier. We seem to still be at 4 deaths 50% of which haven't been directly linked to the final grab and 1 of the 2 remaining (in BC) I'm unsure about.

 

Does anyone have a higher figure? :unsure:

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I didn't want to add more details about the cache and accident before, because like everyone else I didn't know what exactly happened, and I posted this thread originally more to find solutions to make sure this doesnt happen again and didnt want to add more fuel to any speculations.

 

But just now our local paper posted a new article that describes the entire tragedy in detail, pictures of the site and even the logbook.

 

Most shockingly, my initial weird feeling about those two logs has been confirmed - apparently Willi fell through the hole of a missing grille in the pathway of the bridge (statement by public prosecutor, and a picture in the paper is there as well). I was not sure about this, when I posted the thread, since I have not been there, but was alerted by the logs (there were also speculations that the night was rather cold and there might have been ice on the bridge).

 

So I'm gonna state this now:

 

This death could have been avoided if Willi had seen/read/known about the missing piece of grille in the middle of the bridge.

 

I'm assuming he did not read the logs beforehand, I guess most of us don't do so, at least not all of them. We need better ways to highlight warnings and encourage cachers to post them. This is crystal clear now - if it saves just one life in the next 10 years, this small change is worth it.

 

The article is behind a paywall, but since it carries so much weight for our entire community I would like to make it accessible to everyone. I will post it in the next post, so moderators can delete it if need be. If someone can upload it to a location that's safe from a takedown notice by that local paper, please put it there and then post the link here.

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Dienstag, 20. Dezember 2011

(Sächsische Zeitung)

 

PIRNA

 

Nummer 4900 brachte den Tod

Von Florian Thalmann und Anna Hoben

In der vergangenen Woche stürzte Willi H. (21) in Pirna von einer Brücke. Er war unterwegs, um einen Schatz zu suchen.

Bildergalerie

Ich habe das ganze Wochenende geweint“, sagt Dominika Urban. Die 27-jährige Röntgenassistentin aus Dresden kniet am Ufer der Gottleuba in Pirna, zündet Kerzen an und befestigt Blumen am Gitter eines Maschendrahtzaunes. Auch Fotos hängen dort, Bilder eines jungen Mannes.

 

Es ist der 21-jährige Dresdner Willi H., der am vergangenen Donnerstag von Passanten tot in der Gottleuba gefunden wurde. Feuerwehrleute bargen seine Leiche. Nun steht fest: Der Student war auf Schatzsuche. Schon seit über sechs Jahren beschäftigte sich der Dresdner mit „Geocaching“, einer Art moderner Schnitzeljagd. Nach bisherigen Erkenntnissen geschah das Unglück, als Willi H. an einer Fernwärmebrücke nahe der B172 einen sogenannten Cache, einen versteckten Schatz, bergen wollte. Er stellte seinen weißen Opel Corsa auf einem benachbarten Parkplatz ab und kletterte auf die Brücke. Auf der Suche nach dem Schatz, einem kleinen Röhrchen mit einer Art Gipfelbuch, in welches sich der junge Mann eintragen wollte, stürzte er von der Brücke sechs Meter in die Tiefe.

 

Kein Verbotsschild

 

Nach dem bisherigen Stand der Ermittlungen geht die Staatsanwaltschaft davon aus, dass Willi durch ein Loch im Boden der Brücke fiel, weil auf dem Steg ein Abdeckgitter fehlte. „Vermutlich schlug er mit dem Kopf auf einem Stein auf. Daraufhin hat er sich noch einige Meter in Richtung Uferböschung bewegt“, sagt Staatsanwalt Andreas Feron (49). Dort erlag er seinen schweren Verletzungen. Erst viele Stunden nach dem Unglück wurde seine Leiche entdeckt. Am Unglücksort fand die Polizei zwei Stifte, eine Taschenlampe, ein Handy, Autoschlüssel – und ein GPS-Gerät, wie es die modernen Schatzsucher benutzen.

 

„Leider gibt es an der Brücke kein Schild, auf dem steht, dass der Zutritt verboten ist“, sagt Swetlana Irmscher, Sprecherin der Pirnaer Stadtwerke. „Die Fernwärmeleitung ist eine Betriebsanlage der Stadt, für Unbefugte ist der Zutritt verboten.“ Der Steg neben den Rohren der Fernwärmeleitung sei ausschließlich zur Wartung gedacht und nur über eine verschlossene Luke zu erreichen. Wahrscheinlich hatte bereits ein früherer Besucher die Luke aufgebrochen.

 

In der sächsischen Geocaching-Szene löste der Fall große Bestürzung aus. Bei einem spontanen Treffen am Sonntag im Dresdner Zwinger gedachten rund 200 Geocacher Willi H. „Ich kannte Willi, habe ihn bei unseren Treffen immer wieder gesehen“, sagt Dominika Urban. Er sei eine feste Größe in der Szene gewesen, ein Profi. In den letzten Jahren versteckte er selbst über 100 Caches für andere Schatzsucher. Gefunden hatte er bisher 4899. „In Dresden lag er damit auf dem ersten Platz, sachsenweit auf dem zweiten“, erzählt Dominika Urban. „Sein Ziel war es, die 5000 zu erreichen. Es ist gut möglich, dass er sich damit zu viel Druck gemacht hat, dass ihm sein Ehrgeiz zum Verhängnis wurde.“

 

Auch die Nutzer des Internetforums „geocaching.com“ reagierten prompt auf die Nachricht von Willis tragischem Tod. In dem Forum sind alle Verstecke in Deutschland für Hobby-Schatzsucher erfasst. Erst am 10.November hatte ein Nutzer des Forums den an der Brücke angebrachten Schatz mit dem Namen „Tanzstunde“ angemeldet. Im Internet hatte er die geografischen Koordinaten registriert, damit andere Geocacher sich auf die Suche nach dem Röhrchen begeben konnten. „Nach einem Unfall ist es uns moralisch nicht möglich, diesen Cache weiter zu betreiben“, kommentierte der Urheber am vergangenen Freitag.

 

Denn: Möglicherweise trug die Beschreibung des Verstecks zu der Tragödie bei. Im Forum wird darauf verwiesen, dass es besser sei, den Schatz in der Nacht zu suchen. Am Tag seien an der Brücke zu viele Leute unterwegs.

 

„Das war ein großer Fehler“, sagt Dominika Urban, die selbst seit fünf Jahren als Geocacherin in Sachsen unterwegs ist. „Man kommt zwar leicht auf die Brücke, das Terrain ist nicht schwer zu erkunden.“ Von fünf Schwierigkeitsstufen sei die Gottleuba-Brücke eine gute „Drei“ gewesen. Zuvor hatten sich bereits über 25 Schatzsucher in das Büchlein eingetragen. „Aber: Willi war allein unterwegs, und es war schon dunkel.“

 

Ein gefährliches Hobby

 

Auch andere Mitglieder der Szene bekundeten im Internet ihr Beileid. „Ich habe immer gewusst, irgendwann passiert mal ein großes Unglück“, schreibt ein Nutzer. Und weiter: „Der Tod von Willi macht uns alle sehr betroffen. Es lässt mich schaudern und überlegen, welche verrückten Dinge ich schon in meinem Leben und vor allem auch bei dem Hobby getan habe.“

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Google translation (I can add my own later)

 

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

(Saxon newspaper)

 

PIRNA

 

Number 4900 led to his death

Florian Thalmann and Anna Hoben

In the past week fell Willi H. (21) from a bridge in Pirna. He was on his way to find a treasure.

Gallery

I cried the whole weekend, "said Dominika Urban. The 27-year-old radiographer from Dresden kneels on the banks of the Gottleuba in Pirna, lights candles and flowers attached to the bars of a wire mesh fence. Also, there are photographs, pictures of a young man.

 

It is the 21-year-old Dresdner Willi H., who was found dead last Thursday of passers in the Gottleuba. Firefighters hid his body. Now it is: The student was on a treasure hunt. For over six years, worked with the Dresden "geocaching," a sort of modern scavenger hunt. According to present knowledge, the accident happened, would pose as Willi H. at a district near the B172 bridge called a cache, a hidden treasure. He parked his white Opel Corsa to a nearby parking lot and climbed onto the bridge. Wanted to search for the treasure, a small tube with a kind of summit book, which enter into the young man, he fell from the bridge, six meters in depth.

 

No entry sign

 

According to the present state of investigations, the Prosecutor's assume that Willi fell through a hole in the bottom of the bridge because the bridge was missing on a grille. "He probably hit his head on a rock. After that he is still moving a few meters towards the embankment, "said prosecutor Andrew Feron (49). There he succumbed to his injuries. It was not until many hours after the accident, his body was discovered. At the accident site, police found two pens, a flashlight, a cell phone, car keys - and a GPS device, use it as the modern treasure hunters.

 

"Unfortunately, there is no sign at the bridge, to where it says that access is forbidden," says Svetlana Irmscher, spokeswoman for the Stadtwerke Pirna. "The heating pipe is an operating system of the city, for the unauthorized access is prohibited." The bar next to the pipes of the heating cable is intended solely for maintenance and only accessible via a locked door. Probably already have a previous visitor had broken open the hatch.

 

In the Saxon geocaching scene caused much consternation from the case. At an impromptu meeting on Sunday at the Dresden Zwinger conceived around 200 geocachers Willi H., "I knew Willy, have seen him when we met again and again," said Dominika Urban. He was a fixture on the scene was a pro. In recent years, he hid himself over 100 caches for other treasure hunters. He had been found 4899th "In Dresden, he was thus in the first place, second place in the whole of Saxony," says Dominika Urban. "His goal was to reach the 5000th It is quite possible that he has done so much pressure that it was his ambition to doom. "

 

Also, users of the internet forum "geocaching.com" promptly responded to the news of Willis's tragic death. In the forum all the hiding places in Germany for amateur treasure hunters have captured. Only one user on Nov 10, had filed the forum attached to the bridge of treasure with the name "Dance Lesson". On the Internet, he had registered the geographic coordinates so other geocachers could go in search of the tube. "After an accident, we are not morally possible to operate this cache," commented the author of last Friday.

 

Because: Possibly wearing a description of the hiding place in the tragedy. The forum will be pointed out that it was better to seek the treasure of the night. On the day were on their way to the bridge to many people.

 

"That was a big mistake," said Dominika Urban, who is himself in five years than in Saxony Geocacherin go. "It is indeed easy on the bridge, the terrain is not difficult to discover." Of the five levels of difficulty is the Gottleuba Bridge a good "three" was. Previously had been over 25 treasure hunters registered in the booklet. "But Willy was traveling alone, and it was already dark."

 

A dangerous hobby

 

Other members of the scene expressed their condolences on the Internet. "I always knew someday happened a great misfortune," writes one user. And further: "The death of Willi makes us all very concerned. It makes me shudder and think, what crazy things I've done that in my life and especially in the hobby. "

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"Unfortunately, there is no sign at the bridge, to where it says that access is forbidden," says Svetlana Irmscher, spokeswoman for the Stadtwerke Pirna. "The heating pipe is an operating system of the city, for the unauthorized access is prohibited." The bar next to the pipes of the heating cable is intended solely for maintenance and only accessible via a locked door. Probably already have a previous visitor had broken open the hatch.

 

That will open up a lawsuit against the CO. :unsure::ph34r:

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veit, can I assume that this cache was attempted at night?

 

If so I have to think that was a huge factor in not seeing the missing grille.

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If I am walking along the street and fall through an open manhole cover, I would only have myself to blame (although there are lawyers that would be glad to help me blame someone else). I watch where I'm walking, generally. If I'm staring at my GPS and fall down that same hole, it is still my fault. I need to pay attention to where I'm walking, even if I am on a nice, normally safe street. How much more important it would be for me to watch where I'm going when I'm on a catwalk like that!

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The images:

 

note the missing grille:

 

gr_2941863_3.jpg

 

 

The missing grille and caching at night is an accident waiting to happen. Knowing myself, I would done it, but I wonder if I would see the missing grille on time in the dark.

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veit, can I assume that this cache was attempted at night?

 

If so I have to think that was a huge factor in not seeing the missing grille.

 

Wasn't this cache recommended at night to avoid muggles??

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So I'm gonna state this now:

 

This death could have been avoided if Willi had seen/read/known about the missing piece of grille in the middle of the bridge.

 

I'm assuming he did not read the logs beforehand, I guess most of us don't do so, at least not all of them.

 

Personally, I do not think that it would have made a difference whether or not he has read the logs. Without knowing about the accident, not even myself would have concluded something from the logs which is not evident right from the beginning. Slipping or stumbling is quite risky at such locations, and this can easily happen in Winter time even when one is attentive. I cannot judge from the photo how large the length of the missing part is. Even if one sees it one time, one might slip by trying to reach the other side of the hole when it is icy and the ice is very thin and not visible.

 

In any case, I still think that it would be important for many cachers to think about what might happen if not everything goes well.

 

 

Cezanne

Edited by cezanne

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"Unfortunately, there is no sign at the bridge, to where it says that access is forbidden," says Svetlana Irmscher, spokeswoman for the Stadtwerke Pirna. "The heating pipe is an operating system of the city, for the unauthorized access is prohibited." The bar next to the pipes of the heating cable is intended solely for maintenance and only accessible via a locked door. Probably already have a previous visitor had broken open the hatch.

 

That will open up a lawsuit against the CO. :unsure::ph34r:

How does the civil system work in Germany? Do you know? Are they as lawsuit happy over there? :mellow:

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veit, can I assume that this cache was attempted at night?

 

If so I have to think that was a huge factor in not seeing the missing grille.

 

Wasn't this cache recommended at night to avoid muggles??

 

Yes, it was. Such recommendations are common at locations where the hiders know that no one is supposed to go there.

 

Cezanne

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Yes, at night.

 

Actually, the CO suggested to do it at night because of the muggle danger (how I hate this crazy fear of geocachers, now even more than before)...:

 

"Ich empfehle euch allerdings ihn in der Nacht zu machen, weil die Muggel am Tag sehr aktiv sind." - "I recommend to do this one at night because the muggles are very active during the day."

 

And I actually just now noticed the hint...this really gets worse every time I look at it:

 

"Befestigung rechtes Rohr, vor der Lücke" - "attached to the right pipe, before the gap"

 

We have now seen the picture and know what the gap is. When going there in the dark I wouldn't have had a clue.

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P.S.: I would really, really appreciate if we could put the discussion about lawsuits, liability, legal issues into another thread. I'm really most interested in getting ideas how to make sure this doesn't happen again, less cachers get hurt or killed in the future. I know that it's a cultural thing (I was about to ask the first commenter after the pictures above if he/she was American...I love the States, have lived there as an exchange student, so no disrespect), so no offense on either side please.

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"Unfortunately, there is no sign at the bridge, to where it says that access is forbidden," says Svetlana Irmscher, spokeswoman for the Stadtwerke Pirna. "The heating pipe is an operating system of the city, for the unauthorized access is prohibited." The bar next to the pipes of the heating cable is intended solely for maintenance and only accessible via a locked door. Probably already have a previous visitor had broken open the hatch.

 

That will open up a lawsuit against the CO. :unsure::ph34r:

How does the civil system work in Germany? Do you know? Are they as lawsuit happy over there? :mellow:

 

Not sure. I was more thinking of USA ways of doing it. Yes I understand it happens in Germany but my mindset say....DOLLAR SIGNS!!!! Sad we are a sue happy country.

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P.S.: I would really, really appreciate if we could put the discussion about lawsuits, liability, legal issues into another thread. I'm really most interested in getting ideas how to make sure this doesn't happen again, less cachers get hurt or killed in the future. I know that it's a cultural thing (I was about to ask the first commenter after the pictures above if he/she was American...I love the States, have lived there as an exchange student, so no disrespect), so no offense on either side please.

 

I know here in America, that cache will never be there in the first place. Its an accident waiting to happpen when the CO say to do it at night because they arent allow to be on the catwalk. So to answer your OP, to aviod this to happen again, that cache shouldnt be there in the first place. If anyone place a cache like that here, I will be fast to report it to the reviewer.

Edited by SwineFlew

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I'm really most interested in getting ideas how to make sure this doesn't happen again, less cachers get hurt or killed in the future.

 

It might sound heartless, but I need to admit that it was clear to me that accidents like the one in Pirna were just a matter of time.

When I come across caches like this one

http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.aspx?guid=8fde285f-5cb6-408b-a285-e7b32993b867

(I chose on purpose one that is archived anyway)

that are quite popular it is evident to me that sooner or later something serious will happen.

Of course, any such accident is awfully tragic for those involved in some way, but still it is no surprise.

 

It is however not that easy to take action. Sure there are no permissions for such caches, but I do not have permission for my caches in forest areas either.

Sure such caches are dangerous, but there are dangerous climbing routes and many other dangerous things on world as well.

What might make a difference is that for climbing it is typically possible to come along with safety equipment while for bridge caches like the one mentioned

above there is no reasonable security measure available.

 

 

Cezanne

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P.S.: I would really, really appreciate if we could put the discussion about lawsuits, liability, legal issues into another thread. I'm really most interested in getting ideas how to make sure this doesn't happen again, less cachers get hurt or killed in the future. I know that it's a cultural thing (I was about to ask the first commenter after the pictures above if he/she was American...I love the States, have lived there as an exchange student, so no disrespect), so no offense on either side please.

 

I'm not really sure that it is possible to separate liability issues from your quetion of "what needs to change" question, though, Veit.

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P.S.: I would really, really appreciate if we could put the discussion about lawsuits, liability, legal issues into another thread. I'm really most interested in getting ideas how to make sure this doesn't happen again, less cachers get hurt or killed in the future. I know that it's a cultural thing (I was about to ask the first commenter after the pictures above if he/she was American...I love the States, have lived there as an exchange student, so no disrespect), so no offense on either side please.

 

I agree. I think you are doing a great job moderating this thread.

 

Thanks very much for the pictures. They help a lot.

 

Let's look at the facts together and see how this type of accident can be prevented in the future without laying blame.

 

#1 The accident appears to have happened at night.

#2 The structure where the cache was placed was off limits, but signage was missing.

#3 The lock to the catwalk was broken.

#4 The cache was placed near a gap in the walkway.

#5 Fatal injuries (to the head) were caused by a fall from the height above the (appears to be) drainage canal or urban river. (Man made looking.)

#6 The water level was very low offering no cushion to the fall.

 

Do I have that much right?

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#2 The structure where the cache was placed was off limits, but signage was missing.

 

Yes, but of course everyone knows that the access to unauthorized people is forbidden and certainly the cache owners have been aware of it as well. There are also no signs around that we are not allowed to steal someone else's property since that's well known as well.

 

Cezanne

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