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Old 04-19-2006, 03:07 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Woman unknowingly tapes sister's death

First off, let's start with the story highlighted on fark yesterday-

http://www.firstcoastnews.com/news/f...?storyid=55973
Quote:
MIAMI BEACH, FL -- In an odd twist of fate, a sister caught her sister's last minutes alive - without even knowing.

Maria Ramoutar and her sister were in separate cars on their way back from Miami Beach when Maria saw a fiery car crash. She decided to videotape it with her cell phone.

Four people inside that burning car died, including Maria's sister.

Maria didn't find out it was her sister till the next day. Now she says she wishes she would have done something to save her.
Basic question for folks out there-

1. In that situation, or others, would you do whatever you could to help someone in immediate mortal danger? Would you if that meant risking your own life?

2. How do you feel about people whipping out their cell phones and videotaping such events, rather then possibly helping?

Personally, I would make every effort to help someone in grave need to a point for sure. I've been one of the first at the scene, of what turned out to be a fatal accident, before police had arrived. While not being able to do anything to help the crash victims physically, due to the critical nature of their injuries, I did what I could, like making sure the engine was off, diverting traffic until help arrived, etc.

Would I run towards a burning car and attempt to pull out people inside? I can't say for sure, since I've never faced the situation. I do know I feel like I should, and with the adrenaline factored in I do believe I would act. Is that the most responsible thing to do in everyone's situation? I don't have any children for example; I imagine that could change someone's perspective.

I do know under very few circumstances would I start filming. It's hard to know exactly how the above event went down, so there is a lot of speculation into what she could/did do. The way the story is written, certainly portrays that she could have done something, but didn't (under the belief it wasn't anyone she knew).

I should hope at the very least if she was a witness of the actual crash when it happened, that she used her phone to call 911 first before flipping it over and rolling the camera. Though frankly, I don't have any nice things to say about someone filming a tragedy like this (capturing planes flying into buildings is a completely different story) for the likely purpose of cashing the video in to the local news, even if there couldn't be something done to help.

Last edited by Topper; 04-20-2006 at 10:50 AM.. Reason: modifying the title to highlight the story reported
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Old 04-19-2006, 03:44 PM   #2 (permalink)
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The story didn't give enough information to tell what the circumstances where of the situation. That being said, I believe I would rush in to try and save people, but until that happens to me, it's all just talk I suppose.
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Old 04-19-2006, 04:05 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Absolutely. In that situation I would stop my car grab my fire extinguisher and knife from my trunk and do what I could to help. Iím not sure how bad the fire was, as the extinguisher is only for small engine fires, at the very least I may have been able to get close enough to cut some seatbelts and try to pull someone out. But there is no way in hell I would just sit back and tape people burning. I donít see how people can sit by and watch people getting hurt, when there could be something they could do, at least call the fucking authorities instead of video taping it, I mean FUCK, call some help if you canít help your self.
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Old 04-19-2006, 06:15 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I say at the very least call.

But if you can't help, don't. Don't turn 4 victims into 5.
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Old 04-19-2006, 09:18 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I'd like to think that if I was able to do something to help, I would, even if it put my own life in danger. But as I've never been in that situation, I can't say what would really happen. I'd certainly call 911, at least.

It bothers me when there's a car accident or a fire, and people just stand there and watch, or videotape, or whatever, especially if nobody bothers to call 911. It's not a show for entertainment.
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Old 04-20-2006, 05:43 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Recording it is plain silly. I'd slap anyone doing that. Even watching alone is silly.

About whether I would help out, it really depends on how much risk I have to take. I wouldn't want to end up dying and not having to save a life. I'd end up in the front page as a shame of a hero-wannabe. I'd only go in if I'm quite sure I can do something about the situation, in this case, the condition would be a fire extinguisher.

/me seconds Siege's comments
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Old 04-20-2006, 05:52 AM   #7 (permalink)
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From the news description, it sounds like she did not know, or could not, have known their were people in the car. Of course we don't know the details.

I've never been put in a situation where I could possibly save someone's life, but my convictions tell me I would act. Let's just hope I don't have to save someone from drowning because I can't swim to save my own life.
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Old 04-20-2006, 05:55 AM   #8 (permalink)
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^^ Exactly my feelings, only replace "silly" with "asinine, irresponsible, and proof of being an awful human being".

I would do whatever I could that would not cause maiming or death of my own self. If I had an extinguisher, I would definitely have attempted to lessen the flames. If it was really a huge fireball, I would have called 911 and just waited... there's only so much you can do.
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Old 04-20-2006, 06:00 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Mojo and I travel a lot - back and forth across the US on road trips around a dozen times now. We've seen some really horrible wrecks and I can say that I know for a fact I would help in any feasible way. Yes, it changes your perspective to have kids. But the desire to help is still over-powering. Both Mojo and I have saved lives in the past, even if simply by calling 911, but with kids it's usually one OR the other of us that's approaches a potentially dangerous scene. (He actually saved his grandmother's life when she was choking back when he was in grade school - so it's a long standing "problem" we have!) It does worry me that it will result in the loss of one of us, but what else can we do? If you can help, by all means DO! I don't think that it would even cross my mind that my phone _can_ tape at a time like that. If Mojo approached the car to see what he could do then I would be on the phone with 911. (As happened with a flipped over truck on an abandoned Florida interstate in the middle of the night - which turned out to have had a fatality.) I didn't record anything...
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Old 04-20-2006, 06:05 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I would like to think that I would do anything and everything I could to save someone. And as stated above, taking pictures/filming, I feel, is irresponsible.
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Old 04-20-2006, 06:22 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Why the fuck would someone flip out their cellphone and record a burning wreck in progress? "Oh yeah, this is totally gonna score me points on www.ogrish.com" Even if it was a total stranger?

But it's hard to tell from the article whether or not she could've done something to help the victims, there may have been enough people trying to do something, somebody must've obviously already called 911 if she didn't.

In my case, it's hard to decide I mean, I want to help the victim but realistically, I can't tell if I would actually try, especially endangering my life.
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Old 04-20-2006, 06:31 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Two years ago I saw a painter fall from the roof of a building as I was at a red light. I was working for the cable company at the time and without thinking I ran the red light and crossed three lanes of traffic to give im CPR until the ambulances arrived, thank the Goddess I had the forethought to call in the accident on my CB radio before I got there. He lived with only a broken ankle and collerbone (SP?) but the head trauma had stopped him from breathing, the hospital said that I saved him from serious brain damage. I am not tooting my own horn, but I am glad that when I DID face the situation I jumped in and helped, I would never just watch someone suffer and film it thinking "woah, how cool". Nor could I have lived with myself had I done nothing to help that poor man.

Granted, this wasn't a life threatening situation for ME, but I would like to think that I would have done the same had there been other circumstances, (Gas main ruptured or something along those lines.)

If we can't help each other in times of crisis, then what good are we as a social species?
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Old 04-20-2006, 07:30 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by feelgood
But it's hard to tell from the article whether or not she could've done something to help the victims, there may have been enough people trying to do something, somebody must've obviously already called 911 if she didn't.
When there are accidents in heavily traveled areas I think many times everyone assumes the authorities have been contacted, when in fact no one has called the authorities for exactly this reason. It's similiar to the story I was told as a child regarding people bringing wine to a party...

As for helping.. I would, to an extent yes. I would not try to help someone if they needed help beyond my capabilities/knowledge. I'd certainly contact the authorities immediately so that trained help would arrive, but I don't think I would meddle in things over my head. Unless I am able to properly help someone, I'd rather not be responsible for their death.

Spur of the moment is an entirely different story though. It is easy to sit her in a comfortable environment and say what I would and wouldn't do. Reality is not like that though.

As for flipping out the phone and taking pictures.. It's inappropriate, however rubber necking is nothing new, and viewing tragic situations live is a huge draw for 24 hour news shows and news in general. People love watching others in distress, as there is a grim fascination with it. If the girl filming had been a news reporter there would have been nothing negative said about her filming. Since she isn't, suddenly she is this evil person that is a cold heartless bastard without feelings?

If the girl isn't going to help regardless, why is she judged for whether she continues on uncaringly, or watches, even records the footage? Is everyone that sees an accident obligated to risk their life to help in a situation that is beyond helping? I am not sure. I certainly would hope she would call 911 before starting to record footage of the accident, but if she, like others had assumed it was already called, and doesn't, then in a sense I guess they all could be held partially responsible for the lack of a quick response, if there in fact was one.

Lastly, the cynical side of me worries distantly about lawsuits. If you get in over your head trying to help someone, ultimately fail, and cause them further pain, or even death, I think it is very realistic (especially in America) to expect a lawsuit to arise in the aftermath. It's sad that such consideration must be made, but I'm reminded of the story where a robber entered a home, only to be shot, injured, but not killed, and then suing the homeowner. Another case involved a storeowner being sued by a gunman that had just held up his store, after he shot at him when he turned to flee. It's unfortunate such considerations must be made, but it's also the world we live in lately.
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Old 04-20-2006, 07:41 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Lastly, the cynical side of me worries distantly about lawsuits. If you get in over your head trying to help someone, ultimately fail, and cause them further pain, or even death, I think it is very realistic (especially in America) to expect a lawsuit to arise in the aftermath.
Unfortunately true, but fortunately we have laws in most states that will protect you in most cases from these kind of frivoulous lawsuits.

Quote:
The good samaritan doctrine as it is legally known, is a legal principle that prevents a rescuer who has voluntarily helped a victim in distress from being successfully sued for 'wrongdoing.'
Frankly I think it's despicable to stand and record rather than help -- I get so much adrenaline in ordinary situations that I know I'd do something in a crisis like the above -- what, I don't know.. but something.
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Old 04-20-2006, 12:41 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimellow
If the girl filming had been a news reporter there would have been nothing negative said about her filming. Since she isn't, suddenly she is this evil person that is a cold heartless bastard without feelings?
I don't particularly like it when news reporters/camera crews film such things, either...
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Old 04-20-2006, 12:56 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I would if I thought I had a chance at saving someone. If it came down to me dying and saving a bunch of kids, i'd still do it.
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Old 04-20-2006, 01:00 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Every opportunity I get to help my fellow man I have to whatever care I can give without causing harm or placing myself in danger.

It has happened too many times in my life to list. I do what's needed, and move on. I don't stay for kudos or commendation.
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Old 04-20-2006, 01:07 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Absolutely, I try to help unless there's a crowd. Then it just gets the mandatory 911 call.
Quote:
Originally Posted by rhaevyn
I don't particularly like it when news reporters/camera crews film such things, either...
Agreed. It's always distracting to think of what the person could be doing to help vs. filming the event. I put it down to some professional credo but still disagree with it if their participation could help the situation.

This woman gets the Karma award. Doesn't help her sister, but her idle voyeurism will probably serve as a lesson to many.
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Old 04-20-2006, 01:19 PM   #19 (permalink)
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If there's a remote chance I can help, I will do anything I can, and have been called stupid for some things I've done in the past. Other people stand and stare, some freeze up when there's a problem, I try to figure out how I can help since I know most people won't do a damn thing. I don't really look at risks when people are in danger; if my help can lessen the potential harm to someone, I'll dive in and help until someone more qualified comes along.

This reminds me, I've been meaning to put a fire extinguisher in my car for a while.
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Old 04-20-2006, 01:43 PM   #20 (permalink)
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In Canada (Except Quebec) there is no law requiring you to aid another person unless you have a legal duty to do so; ie: dependent children, or if a peace officer asks for your assistance.

I see no need to risk my life for the sake of someone else. I'll call the cops, or go get help, but I'm not jumping in on someone else's fight. That's how innocent bystanders who try to help end up getting killed. Happens all the time.

I like living, and I plan on living until I die. Unlike guccilvr, I like to take measures to prolong life

[edit]

call me crass if you want.

I WOULD attempt to extract someone from a burning car if they were trapped inside. Chicks dig scars and that story lasts forever.

And I just realized my new sig is strangely appropriate
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Old 04-20-2006, 04:01 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ace_O_Spades
In Canada (Except Quebec) there is no law requiring you to aid another person unless you have a legal duty to do so; ie: dependent children, or if a peace officer asks for your assistance.

I see no need to risk my life for the sake of someone else. I'll call the cops, or go get help, but I'm not jumping in on someone else's fight. That's how innocent bystanders who try to help end up getting killed. Happens all the time.

I like living, and I plan on living until I die. Unlike guccilvr, I like to take measures to prolong life

[edit]

call me crass if you want.

I WOULD attempt to extract someone from a burning car if they were trapped inside. Chicks dig scars and that story lasts forever.

And I just realized my new sig is strangely appropriate

Itís your prerogative not to endanger your self for the sake of others, thatís fine, I donít think anyone here would jump into a fire fight and try to help. At least you would call 911. it worries me how many here said if there was already a crowed they would not call 911, unless I see authorities at the scene, Iíll call, even if I hear the sirens, just incase there was a second accident a few blocks away, you never know if everyone there thought the same as you, some one else will do it; it never hurts to call, the emergency lines are designed to handle a decent amount of traffic, worst thing that can happen is the operator says your the 50'th caller and you donít get a prize.
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Old 04-20-2006, 06:18 PM   #22 (permalink)
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I would say that in a car fire so bad that 4 people were trapped and killed by it, the flames and smoke would have obscured any hint of occupants inside of it. At best, you might hear screaming- but likely only for a few moments- and there's nothing the bystander can do. You can't approach a car engulfed in flames, and you have nothing with which to douse it. The best bet is call the police in case no one else has (you'd be surprised how many people figure "someone else will call"). Don't put yourself in danger. They're already dead, anyway. A horrible way to go, for sure, but in a case like this, there's nothing to be done about it. There must have been a small explosion, to have trapped them inside.
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Old 04-20-2006, 06:27 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cyrnel
Absolutely, I try to help unless there's a crowd. Then it just gets the mandatory 911 call.
Actually, that's not a good idea if you really want to help. It's a well-documented phenomena in social psychology called the "bystander effect" that the more people around, the less likely anyone will do anything about it. So the more people you see, the more likely it is no one is going to do anything to help. It happens because the more people there, the more likely each person is to think "someone else will do something".
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Old 04-20-2006, 06:48 PM   #24 (permalink)
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No kidding. The crowd stuff is weird that way.

I didn't mean rubberneckers, but rather a working crowd around the event. It's usually easy to tell if people are spectating or participating.

I have noticed herd behavior also works in other ways. Get out and ask for hands of people who've called emergency services, then suggest moving in to assist. You can gather a team of help in short order. Sure, many hang back to speculate about liability or which professionals might already be on the way but it can bump others off the fence.

Anyway, I'm not exactly mr. rescue. I haven't done more than call or pull people from ditches for a number of years, probably due to reduced leisure miles. Knocking on wood.
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Old 04-21-2006, 05:01 AM   #25 (permalink)
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Once I was on the highway and passed what appeared to be a parked car on the hard shoulder in flames. There was no-one around and it was night time, and except for other passing cars there was no-one. So I called "911" (it's 112 here) and they said someone had already called it in and it was just a broken down car that had either been set on fire or it had started on its own somehow.

I have a rule never to stop on a busy road if I can help it. I have a friend whose young cousin got out of a car with friends to help an old lady whose car had broken down, on a pretty normal local road. It was night time. Some asshole speeding and drunk came down that road while they were pushing the car to try and start it and slammed into them. My friend's cousin went into a coma with several injuries, but since he was young his body survived. He's in a coma several years later with no real hope of ever waking again, but his body still keeps him alive, even with no machines hooked up.

My mom also has a friend who got out of her car to help someone on the side of a road and another car whose driver was obviously not paying attention came and hit the other car and crushed her between the two. She lost the use of her legs.

I will only stop if I think I can make a real difference, or won't get killed or injured in the process. You never know what could happen, you could get hurt or killed too, in the process of saving someone, or by others like the case of my friend's cousin, or it could even just be a hoax to get you to stop.

Call me selfish...but life is pretty fragile and I like being alive - and complete.
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Old 04-21-2006, 02:28 PM   #26 (permalink)
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I don't know about you guys... but...

running into a burning car sounds dangerous, scary, and deadly.
I doubt she was standing there laughing as she recorded a car crash.

Gut reaction would be to help if it was something she could help with.
going with the gut... she did what she could. i hope that she doesn't beat herself up over it.
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Old 04-22-2006, 07:08 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Reading the thread again, I think I should clarify what I said. I'm not going to rush in and try to pull people out of a burning car that's about to explode, action-hero style, but there's no way in hell I'm going to stand by and do nothing while people are in danger. Sometimes all a person can do is call 911 and hope the police/fire/EMT professionals show up in time, but if I don't do at least that much, it's entirely possible that someone could die or sustain further injuries, and it would be my fault.
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Old 04-22-2006, 10:09 PM   #28 (permalink)
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what is interesting in the story is that they report she filmed the "last few minutes" of her sister's life. Now that may just be dramatic journalism, or it could very well mean the car was on fire (not yet engulfed though) for a period of time with perhaps the passengers incapable of helping themselves, etc...

Also that she "wished she would have done something to help"... if you pick that apart, it means something very different than "wished she could have done something to help". Would implies she had the opportunity, could implies she was unable to do anything...

woulda..shoulda.. coulda...

i guess...

Either way i can't imagine how terrible i would feel if i were her.
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Old 04-22-2006, 10:59 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Yeah there is way to much that is unknown about this to really make a decision whether she could have helped or not, but filming it is still sick.
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Old 04-22-2006, 11:44 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Topper
Also that she "wished she would have done something to help"... if you pick that apart, it means something very different than "wished she could have done something to help". Would implies she had the opportunity, could implies she was unable to do anything...
.

Exactly. The story seems to imply that choose not to help.
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