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article imageMan distracted by electronic device walks off a cliff and dies

By Megan Hamilton     Dec 28, 2015 in Odd News
San Diego - The man who was distracted by the electronic device he was holding and fell 60 feet to his death at San Diego's Sunset Cliffs has been identified, lifeguards say.
The incident happened around 4:50 p.m. on Christmas day.
The victim, who tumbled down the side of the cliff, has been identified as Joshua M. Burwell, 33, of Sheridan, Indiana, NBC San Diego reports.
Lifeguard Bill Bender told NBC that witnesses said they saw someone distracted by an electronic device who wasn't watching where he was walking and fell over the edge.
Burwell's mother, Sharyle Burwell, said in a Facebook post that he was taking photos when he died. She added that he leaves behind a son.
"Hug your kids and always tell them you love them," she wrote in the post, The Daily Mail reports. "Glad my last words to Josh were 'love you!'"
He had apparently driven to the area with a passenger, in the hopes of watching the sunset. He searched for parking and finally got out of the vehicle to search for a spot, USA Today reports. This is when he was looking at the device and fell, witnesses said.
Authorities say it isn't completely clear what Burwell was doing with the device, but several witnesses say he may have been trying to take a selfie, Laist reports. Lifeguards haven't found the device yet, but they believe it was either a camera or a phone.
Authorities say that three witnesses raced down the cliffs in the aftermath and attempted to administer CPR.
Thor Wilink, 13, was one of the witnesses, and he said he came out of his house when he heard someone yelling, "help, please God, save me."
Then he heard someone ask "'does anyone have rope and a lapel,' and I know because I go to Yosemite, so I grabbed that, went down to the cliffs and started to untangle the rope." Then the fire crews arrived, NBC News reports. Wilink remembers seeing a woman coach two surfers, yelling instructions down to them as they performed CPR on the man.
The witnesses acted quickly, finding a way to get down the cliff, but then placed themselves in jeopardy, Bender said, according to The New York Daily News. He noted that they administered CPR in an attempt to save the man's life.
Despite their best efforts, medics pronounced Burwell dead at the scene.
Bender cautioned that people need to take notice of their surroundings, and remember that just as in driving and using a cell phone, walking and being distracted while using a cell phone can be hazardous as well.
More about electronic device, Cell phone, Camera, selfie, San Diego
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