By Rashleigh MacFarlane
Police and council officials have renewed their warning to young people about the dangers of “tombstoning” off Cornish coasts.
Cornwall Council, Devon and Cornwall Police and other Safer Cornwall partners are highlighting the numbers of people killed or seriously injured by jumping off cliffs and seawalls into deep water.
They have issued tombstoning danger signs to look out for including submerged objects that can cause serious impact injuries. The safety campaign is an annual event.
In 2003 a 24-year-old man died after leaping 100 feet into a water-filled quarry at Kit Hill, Callington. In 2008 a 25-year-old man was paralysed when he jumped from cliffs at Whitsand Bay – into water which was only 36 inches deep.
Nationally, it is thought that about a dozen people have died since 2004.
The Safer Cornwall partnership is reminding parents to keep track of their children’s activities and the risks they undertake with tombstoning.
Councillor Rob Nolan, Cabinet Member for the Environment and Public Protection, said: “Tombstoning is a popular activity but it can have severe and life-threatening consequences. Unfortunately over recent years it has gained attention for the wrong reasons, with a number of people killed or seriously injured.
“We’re urging everyone to consider the risks to yourself and others and consider the dangers. Look out for warning signs and don’t jump into the unknown.”
Here are the tombstoning warning signs Safer Cornwall is reminding people to look out for:
- Check for hazards in the water. Rocks or other objects may be submerged and difficult to see.
- Check the depth of the water. Remember tides can rise and fall very quickly.
- As a rule of thumb, a jump of ten metres requires a water depth of at least five metres, but this cannot be relied upon.
- Never jump while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Check for access - it may be impossible to get out of the water and strong currents can rapidly sweep people away.
- Consider the risks to yourself and others. Conditions can change rapidly – young people could be watching and may attempt to mimic the activity.
If the threat is causing immediate danger call 999. Safer Cornwall has also highlighted reports of anti-social behaviour associated with tombstoning including people being threatening or abusive, alcohol consumption and criminal damage.
To report anti-social behaviour ring the police on the non-emergency number 101 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also report anti-social behaviour to Cornwall Council’s Anti-social Behaviour Team on 0300 1234 232 or at email@example.com