Megan Scraper, Ryker Gamble, and Alexey Lyakh were enjoying an afternoon with friends Tuesday at Shannon Falls, near Squamish, British Columbia, when Scraper slipped and fell into the water. Witnesses who spoke to CBC say that Gamble and Lyakh jumped in to try and save her, but all three were swept over the falls. They fell about 100 feet to a pool below the top of the falls, and their bodies were recovered Wednesday, per the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Shannon Falls is the third-highest waterfall in British Columbia, and its cold temperatures and high flow make this a particularly dangerous time of year. Rescue and recovery crews had to drop down from helicopters to access the steep terrain. “It is a very strong current, it is not a place anyone should ever go close to, even if there’s a trail going right down to it,” Squamish SAR Commander Landon James said.
Gamble and Lyakh grew up in BC and were members of the popular travel and adventure collective High On Life, which has amassed over 1 million followers on Instagram and over 502,000 subscribers on YouTube since the group was founded in 2012. Along with high school friend Parker Heuser and others, the collective has made a living for years by traveling the world and documenting their exploits. Scraper and Lyakh had been partners for over five years, and she frequently traveled as part of the collective.
A fundraiser has been started to cover funeral expenses. In a tribute video, Heuser said Scraper, Gamble, and Lyakh were “three of the warmest, kindest, most driven and outgoing people that you could ever meet, and the world has lost a great deal of light with their passing.”
Gamble and Lyakh were briefly jailed last year after trespassing at Yellowstone National Park and posting photos and videos next to Grand Prismatic Spring. A judge sentenced both men to a week in jail and banned them from United States public land until 2022. That incident happened months after they got in trouble for wakeboarding at the Bonneville Salt Flats.
“Even in his final act on this Earth he was trying to save the life of his very best friend,” Gamble’s cousin Rob Mangelsdorf told the Vancouver Sun. “He’d known (his friend) his whole life, since they were little, little kids. They were inseparable, absolutely inseparable their whole lives.”