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Influencer criticised for swimming in cave where six people have died

‘DO NOT GET IN. People die here every year,’ review of cave’s location reads

Brittany Miller
New York
Wednesday 06 September 2023 16:26 BST
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An influencer has sparked backlash for posting photos of herself in a cave in Tenerife, part of Spain’s Canary Islands, due to the unsafe conditions of the area.

Marina Rivera Saldaña is a Spanish influencer with almost two million followers on her Instagram page. On 31 August, she posted a carousel of photos in the cave of El Tancón at Santiago del Teide. However, because of the unpredictable currents of the cave, multiple tourists who have visited have died in the waters, according to Tenerife Weekly, which reports there have been five deaths in the cave in the last four years and six total.

In Saldaña’s photos, the caption reads, “Soy una sirenita de makoo,” which translates to “I am a little mermaid from Makoo.”

Acccording to Tenerife Weekly, a 33-year-old Swiss woman named Jasmine Ben Ali and a 27-year-old Italian man named Giovanni Rodríguez were among the six individuals who have died at the cave. The level of danger has gotten high enough that the location is listed as “permanently closed” on TripAdvisor.

Reviews on the site advise visitors to avoid going into the water unless they are native to the area. “DO NOT GET IN. People die here every year,” one review began.

“Although it may seem that the sea is calm, in a matter of seconds a range of waves can come in, leading you to the grave. Once you are in the water, the cave fills up with the waves, hitting your head to the ceiling of the cave and leaving you unconscious. Your only way out would be to dive as deep as possible and wait there for a couple minutes. This is impossible for most of us. Please do not attempt to swim here. THERE IS NO WAY OUT,” the review continued.

“Sadly, people don’t realise the strength of the waves and the undercurrents or how quickly the cave fills up,” another review of the area read. “You must only go here if you have local knowledge.”

“Do not go in the water unless you know what you are doing and know how this cave works,” a third review advised.

After seeing Saldaña’s social media post, locals spoke out, criticising her for using her platform to show her in the cave. “You should consider removing the post for your influencer position,” one comment began. “You probably haven’t thought about the risks involved, but that place could have literally swallowed you or punched you to the extreme without being able to control the situation. I don’t judge you for not knowing the consequences, but it is not okay to influence or badly recommend people with this mistake.”

“I don’t understand why they skip all the security measures for a photo,” another commenter wrote.

“Bathing is forbidden there. We are sick of tourists that don’t respect our land,” a local commenter pointed out.

The comments continued, with some hopeful sure influencer gets fined for not reading the “no swimming sign” that are reportedly placed around the location.

“Nothing miraculous happened to you…let’s see if you get the fine,” a comment read. “I hope you’re a little mermaid with a fine,” another commenter agreed.

The Independent has contacted Saldaña for comment.

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