Tombstoning – man dies after cliff jump

Coastguard appeals against new trend

The UK Coastguard has warned of the dangers of tombstoning – jumping into the sea from cliffs – after a man died and another was rushed to hospital in two incidents just hours apart.

The first took place in the early hours of Sunday morning, when Berry Head Coastguard Rescue Team and Torbay RNLI Inshore Lifeboat were requested to attend Berry Head.

Brixham Coastguard had received a report regarding a man who had been injured after jumping between 30ft and 40ft into the sea.

The 45-year-old was recovered from the water by anglers on scene and CPR was administered. The man was pronounced dead on scene by paramedics.

Dave Scullion, Brixham Coastguard says: “We cannot over-emphasise the dangers of jumping into the water at height. This is particularly exacerbated when it is dark and you cannot see where you are jumping. This is a tragic accident which could have been avoided. Those who seek thrills by leaping into the sea from cliffs or other structures should bear in mind that there are often rocks under the surface of the water which can cause severe and at times fatal injuries. In addition tidal conditions can mean that what was a deep pool one day can be a shallow puddle the next.”

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The second incident saw a 29-year-old recovered from the base of cliffs by a lifeboat after he leapt into the sea. The man had reportedly been out all night with friends when he decided to make the leap.

The coastguard said as he hit the water, he became unconscious and one of his friends entered the sea to attempt to save him.

Falmouth Coastguard received a 999 call from the group of friends at 6.45am and St Agnes Coastguard Rescue Team was requested to attend the scene.
When St Agnes lifeboat arrived on scene it picked up the man from the water and took him to shore. He was then transferred to an awaiting ambulance and then on to hospital.

James Instance, Falmouth Coastguard Watch Manager says: “This is the second instance of people jumping off cliffs into water (sometimes known as tombstoning) which Coastguards in the south west have dealt with overnight.

“In the first incident a man lost his life. This incident could just as easily have resulted in a fatality. This man lost consciousness as he hit the water and became severely hypothermic.”


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