In devastating news out of Canada, three travel YouTubers have died after falling off of a waterfall in British Colombia. Ryker Gamble, Alexey Lyakh, and Megan Scraper were part of the YouTube channel High On Life, where members of the collective posted videos of their travels. Gamble and Lyakh were co-founders of the group with another friend, Parker Heuser; Scraper was Lyakh's girlfriend of five years, according to the Vancouver Sun. The group confirmed the deaths via a video posted to the channel on Friday, July 6 titled "To Our Friends and Family".
In the video, a group of Gamble, Lyakh, and Scraper's friends face the camera while Heuser shares the information about their deaths and speaks in honor of the lives they lived.
"On July 3, 2018 we lost three very dear friends of ours, Ryker Gamble, Alexey Lyakh, and Megan Scraper," Heuser says. "There are truly no words that can be said to ease the pain and the devastation that we are all going through right now. They were three of the warmest, kindest, most driven and outgoing people you could ever meet, and the world has lost a great deal of light from the passing of our friends." He also describes them as people who stood for "positivity, courage, and living the best life you can."
Through tears, Heuser also reads a passage written by Gamble and Lyakh about feeling free in your life and recognizing the power of living on your own terms.
According to the BBC, police said that the group were swimming at the top of Shannon Falls when they "slipped and fell into a pool 30m (98ft) below." The Vancouver Sun reports that Scraper first fell, and that Gamble and Lyakh were attempting to save her, but they were all swept into the below pool system. Cpl. Sascha Banks told the newspaper in a statement, "It looks beautiful, it’s a sunny day, but given the extensive water flow that comes off the mountains, and the number of incidents that we’ve had in the Squamish area lately, people just need to be prepared." She continued, "Unless you have the knowledge of that area, the expertise and the right equipment you should not be up there."
This particular area of the falls has reportedly become more popular since the Sea to Sky Gondola opened in 2014, which helps hikers get to the trails. That said, John Wilcox of the Squamish, B.C. Search and Rescue told the Vancouver Sun that while there have been accidents, including dogs and people falling into the water, he's never responded to a fatality.
Lyakh and Gamble previously made headlines when they violated U.S. national park rules at Yellowstone in 2016 and served a week in jail after being sentenced in January 2017. According to the CBC — which called the group's activity a "tour of environmental disrespect through various U.S. national parks" — a third friend, Justis Price-Brown was also involved, but they only had to pay fines. In additional, Lyakh, Gamble, and Price-Brown were all banned from public U.S. lands for five years. The group pleaded guilty to various charges, including walking off of the boardwalk and creating a "hazardous or physically offensive condition."
While some of their adventures may have been not only controversial but illegal, it's clear that the group had quite the influence. In addition to over half a million subscribers on YouTube, High on Life has 1.1 million followers on Instagram. As noted in the YouTube video about the trio's passing, fans can honor the way the vloggers affected their lives by using the hashtag #HOLInspired. A description under the video also notes that a GoFundMe page has been set up to help with the memorial costs.