“Her body is still there.”
A Taiwanese social media star known for scaling mountains in the semi-nude was found dead after falling into a 100-foot-deep gulch on Monday.
The day before, 36-year-old Gigi Wu — known online as “The Bikini Climber” — had tumbled into a ravine in Yushan National Park, where she tried to scale the country’s tallest summit, Taiwan News reported. Her leg injured by the fall, Wu immediately called a friend and reported her location, to the best of her ability. Yet it still took security forces more than 24 hours to locate her, by which time she was already dead from hyperthermia.
“Her body is still there and we will send the helicopter tomorrow again to fetch the body,” said Capt. Chang Ching-piao of the Nantou County Government Fire Station to CNN on Tuesday.
According to the state-run Focus Taiwan, Wu began the hiking trend four years ago after losing a bet with a friend, who demanded that she snaps a picture of herself at a mountaintop wearing nothing but a bikini. Since then, she has drawn over 14,000 followers and completed 100 amateur hikes.
Her followers poured condolences on her final Instagram post as soon as news of the tragedy came out.
While daredevil tragedies are nothing new, the promise of social media exposure has enticed many inexperienced attention mongers into taking on increasingly dangerous — and sometimes deadly — challenges. Examples transcend age and country: from a Romanian teen who caught fire after trying to take a selfie on top of a running train, to a 32-year-old man who got impaled by a bull after trying to take a picture with the animal during Spain’s Running of the Bulls.
Even more tragically, the implicit promise of social media — to make you the hero of your own story — is usually, according to recent studies, only a mirage. Gene Twenge’s devastating study “iGen” shows that the true experience social media is that of isolation and loneliness.
Wu’s Instagram account has been locked by her family and “will be reopened as a memorial […] after the funeral.”