Practised around coastal areas for generations, the terrifying ‘sport’ of tombstoning has hit new heights of popularity thanks to the internet. Rapidly growing, the craze involves people, leaping into the sea or other bodies of water from cliffs, piers, bridges and other structures. Offering high-impact, high-risk experiences, tombstoning can have potentially life-threatening consequences.
There are several reasons why tombstoning is so dangerous, including:
- Tides alter the depths of water, which is often shallower than it appears to be
- Submerged rocks and other objects cannot be seen from the surface and may cause severe impact injuries
- The shock of hitting cold water can make swimming difficult
- Strong currents can quickly sweep people away
Getting back out can also be more difficult than expected.
It appears that 85 per cent of tombstoning participants are male. Kids and teenagers make up 55 per cent, while 25 per cent of jumpers are in their 20s. The remaining 20 per cent of participants were 30 or older. All reported alcohol-related tombstoning accidents, three of which were fatal, involved men over the age of 40.
Over the past ten years, the craze has claimed 20 lives. Hundreds of incidents required responses by emergency and rescue services, with 76 cases involving severe, life-changing personal injuries. The most commonly reported non-fatal tombstoning related accidents involved limb and spinal injuries.
Rescue and emergency service personnel are shocked by people insisting on participating in this dangerous activity. It is bad enough to deal with the consequences of genuine accidental slips, trips and falls of cliffs without having to witness kids deliberately jumping to their deaths.
Pleading with teenagers not to do this, RNLI lifeguard supervisor Rogan Wheeldon stated in August 2014 that ‘tombstoning is incredibly dangerous anywhere’. Continuing to say that people jumping 35 feet or more into potentially shallow water hiding jagged rocks undoubtedly risk their lives, Wheeldon added that risking breaking limbs, paralysis and even death for quick thrills is simply not worth it. His advice to would-be participants is simple: ‘Please don’t tombstone’.
Not all injuries by falling, slipping or tripping are sustained in the pursuit of adrenaline-pumping, dangerous activities. If you suffered a slip, trip or fall injury through no fault of your own, you may be entitled to personal injury compensation. Enlist the assistance of experienced no win no fee* injury lawyers by contacting Accident Advice Helpline today.
Date Published: September 30, 2014
Author: Accident Advice