At least four people — including a father — have died in recent months for giving in to a new and deadly TikTok trend, Alabama authorities said.
The thrill-seekers jumped or flipped off the backs of speeding boats, only to break their necks on the wake and drown, according to Cpt. Jim Dennis of the Childersburg Rescue Squad.
“Last six months we have had four drownings that were easily avoidable. They were doing a TikTok challenge. It’s where you get in a boat going at a high rate of speed, you jump off the side of the boat, don’t dive, you’re jumping off feet first and you just kinda lean into the water,” Dennis told WBMA.
The trend — dubbed boat jumping — has been an issue for first responders over the last two years, the captain said, but has especially picked up since the beginning of the year.
The first victim died in February after plunging into the Coosa River while his wife and their children watched from inside the boat.
“Unfortunately, she recorded his death,” Dennis said.
Despite the tragic end, three others ignored rescuers’ warnings and succumbed to the same fate.
A TikTok search for “#boatjumping” or any iteration of the two words shows a stream of daredevils filming their potential brushes with what Dennis called “instant death.”
The participants range from all ages.
“I think people, if they’re being filmed on camera, I think they’re more likely to do something stupid because they want to show off in front of their friends for social media,” Dennis told ABC 7.
The high rate of speed of the boat combined with the still water make for a dangerous landing pad that feels similar to concrete.
If an individual who jumps from a moving boat doesn’t protect their neck and head, they could become permanently paralyzed if not more than likely suffer an instant death.
Dennis is urging boaters to avoid the deadly trend and urge their loved ones not to participate.
“Do not do it,” he said. “It’s not worth your life.”