Men injured in Encinitas fall were playing Pokemon Go, Sheriff’s Department confirms

Smartphone game based on animation franchise is leading to accidents, authorities report

North Coast Current

Two men had to be rescued July 13 from the coastal bluffs of Encinitas after falling while playing the popular smartphone game Pokemon Go, the San Diego County Sheriff’s North Coastal Station has confirmed.

Encinitas Fire and Marine Safety responded to a cliff rescue on E Street at about 1:10 p.m. July 13 when Encinitas lifeguards found one of the men on the beach and a second man about 50 feet below the bluffs, according to an Encinitas city news release.

While the city news release did not state the nature of the men’s activity at the time of their fall, sheriff’s Sgt. Rich Eaton confirmed to the North Coast Current a day after the incident that the men had been playing Pokemon Go at the time.

The men were rescued and transported to Scripps La Jolla Trauma Center with moderate injuries, according to the city announcement.

Pokemon Go is a smartphone game in which players find and capture animated characters through live interaction with a phone’s camera. Based on the long-running animated franchise Pokemon, the game was released this month for Apple iOS and Android devices.

The game is garnering controversy, however, for accidents reportedly caused during engagement with the application (commonly known as an app). Before the July 13 incident in Encinitas, the Auburn Police Department in Auburn, New York, issued an advisory after a driver admitted to playing the Pokemon Go game while driving, resulting in a collision with a tree. The driver was not injured, according to the department’s report.

The Auburn Police Department issued guidelines in light of recent incidents, stating that players should not use the app when driving or trespass on private property. The department also advised players to be aware of their surroundings, including drop-offs, waterways and roadways.