They say to me:
“But I just don’t know how sincere they are in asking for help this time.”
It doesn’t matter how sincere they are. Not all of the time. Certainly not this time.
When they are drowning in boiling hot tar, in the middle of a pit, 30 feet out, their request for help might be both strident and sincere. And that doesn’t matter.
Because no matter how sincere they are, with your current resources, you cannot help them.
You may not be on 100% solid land yourself. You don’t have a helicopter, or a crane. You might not even have a branch to reach out with in vain—It’s a TAR PIT.
They need a professional, perhaps several, with expertise, tools, and resources for saving people from boiling hot, life-consuming tar pits (whether mental or those in La Brea).
And if you ignore that you are not that professional, and you do not have the skills or the equipment (or even a rope), helping them will only likely get you dragged down with them.
Perhaps even faster than they would have gone alone, thereby preventing actual rescue.