Teens risk lives by jumping into sea from Knightstone
PUBLISHED: 07:00 29 July 2016
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Teenagers have been putting their lives at risk by jumping from Weston-super-Mare's Knightstone jetty into the sea.
The RNLI launched two lifeboats on Friday night after youngsters began ‘tombstoning’ from the railings.
Tombstoning, which involves jumping into the sea from a high platform such as a cliff, has become a craze among some young people around the country – though it has not been seen in Weston in recent years.
But some people have died from it, and the RNLI has issued a warning of the risks against doing it.
Jacqueline Skinner said she watched about 10 teenagers gather on Knightstone on Friday night, with four of them jumping into the sea in pairs.
Weston RNLI spokesman Glyn Hayes told the Mercury: “Tombstoning, or any jumping into deep water, is dangerous.
“One reason is nobody knows how much water there is, so when you jump in it may look deep but it may only be inches deep.”
Mr Hayes said people can break their legs or injure their spines by tombstoning.
He said: “There can be some quite serious injuries from jumping from a height into water.
“When you land on water, it is like landing on concrete. Water does not give way easily.
“You can also get cold water shock. When you get in, the body suddenly has a drop in temperature because the water is so cold. It is immediately difficult to breathe and their heart rate goes out of control.
“Cold water shock is extremely dangerous and another risk of going into cold water.”
Drew Parkinson, senior coastal operations officer for the Coastguard in Weston, said the town’s tidal range provided added risks.
He said: “There is the added risk of being swept away.
“You are jumping into the unknown.”