Friends of three hikers who died in an accident at Shannon Falls near Vancouver have posted an emotional online video honouring the trio they say inspired others by following their dreams.
Seven members of the High on Life group appear in the video on their verified YouTube channel as one of them remembered the two men and one woman as the warmest, kindest, most driven, outgoing people that you could ever meet.
The message delivered by an unidentified member of the group says it’s High on Life’s responsibility to spread a message written by Ryker Gamble and Alexey Lyakh, who he says died on Tuesday with Megan Scraper.
It says Gamble and Lyakh wrote about living in the present, being free of the past or whatever is to come, and giving of one’s time and energy to what really matters.
The message asks people to respect the privacy of the grieving families, who want people to share messages online about how they were inspired by the trio that shared their globe-trekking experiences with thousands of social media followers through videos, photos and articles.
Gamble’s cousin Rob Mangelsdorf said Thursday the 30-year-old volunteered as a boxing coach for youth, raised money and worked with orphans in Uganda after his mother set up a school there.
Mangelsdorf said Gamble died trying to help Lyakh.
“Even in his final act on this earth he was trying to save the life of his very best friend,” Mangelsdorf said, adding he was speaking on behalf of Gamble’s parents, who did not wish to make any public statements.
“He’d known Alexey his whole life, since they were little, little kids. They were inseparable, absolutely inseparable their whole lives.”
Mangelsdorf said the family understands Scraper slipped and fell and that her boyfriend, Lyakh, tried to save her before Gamble attempted to help his childhood friend.
Earlier this week, John Willcox of Squamish Search and Rescue said witnesses reported the same sequence of events. Police have not released their names based on the wishes of their families.
Gamble had thousands of people following him online as he vlogged about his global treks. High on Life has about 500,000 YouTube subscribers.
The bodies of the three victims were recovered Wednesday after RCMP rappelled to a waterfall pool via helicopter because the area is otherwise inaccessible.
In January 2017, Gamble and two other men involved in the High on Life blog pleaded guilty to walking on a sensitive hot spot in Yellowstone National Park and breaking other rules at parks in the western United States. Two other men in the group pleaded guilty in November 2016.
After the incident in May 2016, the men said in a posting on their website that they were “overzealous” in their enthusiasm while visiting the natural wonder and went off the laid-out path to take photos of the Grand Prismatic Spring, adding they were unaware of the ecological ramifications and safety precautions. They also offered a $5,000 donation.