Three adventurous YouTube stars have fallen to their death while visiting a Canadian waterfall earlier this week.
The trio, consisting of Ryker Gamble, Alexey Lyakh and Megan Scraper, were swimming at Shannon Falls in British Columbia, Canada before Scraper climbed to a ledge along the falls. From the ledge, she reportedly slipped and fell more than 100 feet down the rocky terrain. Gamble and Lyakh were then swept away when they rushed to assist her.
According to authorities, the treacherous terrain at the falls slowed the efforts to recover their bodies.
— Metro Entertainment (@Metro_Ents) July 6, 2018
Gamble, Lyakh and Scraper have gained their share of fame—and notoriety—as members of a daredevil YouTube video channel, High on Life, which posts videos to YouTube to “inspire our viewers to get out and explore the world.”
While the mission itself is seemingly benign, the channel features a significant amount of daredevil content with such titles as “Epic Cliff Jumping and Waterfall Slide (EXTREME DANGER)” and “World’s SCARIEST Rope Swing!!”
In 2016, Gamble and Lyakh and another “High on Life” member found themselves in trouble after they posted footage on social media of them wandering off the boardwalk at Yellowstone National Park. After an investigation, which was supported by High on Life’s own social media posts, the group was found guilty of violating the regulations at four national parks and they were banned from federal lands for five years.
After their death, High on Life posted a video memorializing their friends on their social media channels. On YouTube alone, the video has already garnered more than 1 million views.
Comments to the video have raised their own controversy. While most of the comments are from well-wishers or friends, a growing number are also questioning the senselessness of the trio’s death and the group’s daredevil antics.
“‘Get out of your comfort zone’ ..seriously, that’s your message after your three friends die?? How about ‘don’t take unnecessary risk‘s because life is precious?’ And how about your group disband and stop breaking the law and putting your lives in danger??!,” wrote Cathrine Ann Joncas on a Facebook comment.
High on Life has started a $50,000 GoFundMe campaign, although it is unclear how exactly the funds will be used. The GoFundMe page says they will “cover the costs of the Celebration of Life that will commemorate all three of these beautiful lives.”
Funds raised will also go towards a “Legacy Fund” which “will be established to support causes that align with the values and aspirations of Ryker, Alexey and Megan—empowering others to pursue their passions and dreams, and to live life to the fullest.” As of press time, the GoFundMe page has raised $9,826 of its $50,000 goal.
Although it has not yet been determined whether Scraper was filming at the time of her death, there has been a global uptick in ultra-adventurous travelers losing their life when attempting high-risk poses in search of the perfect selfie.
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Travel Industry Lauds Passage of Paycheck Protection Program Reform Bill
The U.S. Senate passed the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Flexibility Act on Wednesday, sending it to President Donald Trump’s desk for final approval.
The reform bill provides business owners with additional flexibility and more time to utilize loan money and still be forgiven under the PPP established to provide economic relief in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The travel industry has been quick to commend lawmakers. The American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) is in full support having advocated for the improvements behind the scenes.
“We commend the Senate for passing the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act (H.R. 7010), which would change PPP loan terms—in some cases retroactively—in a number of ways ASTA has advocated for, including five-year loan terms, reducing the requirement that 75 percent of the loan must go to payroll to get forgiveness, allowing forgivable expense over 24 weeks (as opposed to the current eight) and allowing companies to restore headcount without jeopardizing forgiveness by the end of the year (versus the current June 30),” Eben Peck, EVP Advocacy, ASTA, said in a statement.
“While the PPP will remain complex, this bill gives more flexibility to PPP recipients and increases the chances that loans can be fully forgiven,” Peck concluded.
The U.S. Travel Association also wasted no time praising the decision, calling it an “important step.”
“The PPP changes passed by both chambers are another important step in providing relief to small businesses that otherwise will not survive until the economic recovery phase,” added U.S. Travel’s Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Policy Tori Emerson Barnes. “The modification to the portion of funds that can be used for non-payroll expenses is especially crucial to travel-related small businesses, which have comparatively high capital overhead but virtually zero incoming revenue because of the necessary measures in place to stem the spread of the pandemic.”
U.S. Travel still believes that there’s more work to be done to ensure a successful recovery. The organization is encouraging officials to extend PPP eligibility to non-profit and quasi-governmental entities responsible for driving local and regional economic development.
“Like the businesses they serve, the finances of these non-profits have been devastated by the standstill in travel and tourism, and the moment of recovery will be moot unless they can keep their lights on to take advantage of the return in travel demand,” Barnes stated. “We urge leaders to move urgently to enact the next phase of coronavirus response legislation, which is absolutely vital to the future of the travel and tourism industry, and to prioritize expanding eligibility to those most hard hit by this pandemic such as destination marketing organizations.”
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