Chicago Graduate Student Backs Up For Picture And Falls Off San Diego’s Sunset Cliff

chi-sandiego-bachman-20140113We have seen prior cases of inopportune or dangerous pictures that result in tragedy on vacations or special occasions (here and here). We now have the tragic case of Anna Bachman, 25, a Chicago graduate student studying for a master’s degree in urban planning and policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Bachman was killed when she lost her balance and fell from the Sunset Cliffs in San Diego.

Bachman was visiting her sister and taking a picture at sunset when she stepped back and back until she went over a cliff and fell 100 to 150 feet onto massive sandstone rocks. She was clearly an intelligent and compassionate person. She graduated from the University of California Berkeley and had volunteered with Habitat for Humanity for three years.

People tried to assist her but it was to no avail. There is no liability issue in such cases with open and dangerous natural conditions. At the cliffs, there are signs reading “Beware of cliffs,” “Warning” and “Unstable cliffs.” If you back off a cliff, most courts treat it as a matter of plaintiffs’ conduct from comparative negligence to assumption of the risk.

Source: Chicago Tribune

11 thoughts on “Chicago Graduate Student Backs Up For Picture And Falls Off San Diego’s Sunset Cliff”

  1. News reports I heard on the radio suggested that it was that the cliffs are very unstable and occassionally overhung such that it was more likely that the cliff edge collapsed under her rather than her stepping too far back.

  2. Terrible. I lived there for five years. The ground could get unstable close to the cliffs, but she must have been pretty distracted to get that close and continue to back up. Again, we have no idea what actually happened. Terrain can be slick over there as well. What a waste.

  3. Turley writes: “Bachman was visiting her sister and taking a picture at sunset when she stepped back and back until she went over a cliff and fell 100 to 150 feet onto massive sandstone rocks.”

    This is your characterization and there’s no evidence it’s accurate. You make it seem as though the accident were strictly her own fault by not paying attention to where the edge of the cliffs were. But the fact is that we don’t know exactly what happened in this terrible, tragic case. I have visited those cliffs in San Diego and another possibility is that the ground may have given way to a degree that caused her to lose her balance and then to have fallen backwards over the cliffs. The cliffs along Sunsett Cliffs have been continually eroding, adding to the danger. True, there are many signs along the various pathways there, and they specifically warn that the cliffs are “unstable.” But people walk along there all of the time, without incident.

  4. My prayers for her family and friends. Sunset Cliffs is one of the more popular spots in the San Diego area. I’ve taken visitors there many times. However, there are many cliffs and stuff like this happens all too often, causing death and crippling injuries. The signs are ubiquitous. My regular walk through LaJolla has many cliffs like Sunset Cliffs and I see people ignoring them all the time.

  5. Warnings are difficult to heed in some societies more so than in others.

    Even for the bright folks.

    Well, especially for them:

    (NaturalNews) The Pacific Ocean appears to be dying, according to a new study recently published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Scientists from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) in California recently discovered that the number of dead sea creatures blanketing the floor of the Pacific is higher than it has ever been in the 24 years that monitoring has taken place …

    (Ocean Bottom Covered With Dead Creatures). The tragedy of a young bright woman failing to heed the warnings of danger, then falling into a dying ocean’s beach, is a striking metaphor and/or analogy.

    Look around. The signs are everywhere.

    Most people want to heed them, but somehow, someway, someone in power finds a way to ignore them.

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