Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 20 August 2014

SDLP man in warning over tombstoning craze

Deaths could occur in the scenic seaside town of Ballycastle because of the controversial practice of ‘tombstoning', a councillor has warned.

Tombstoning is jumping from a height into water — usually from cliffs or rocks, but sometimes from structures such as bridges and piers.

SDLP representative Dónal Cunningham has raised concerns about pier jumping which he witnessed taking place in the vicinity of the town’s harbour.

Mr Cunningham said: “While this activity may have occurred around the coast for generations, I am concerned that many of the young people taking part have little or no knowledge of the dangers involved.

“On a recent return visit from Rathlin I spoke to a number of the teenagers involved — none of whom were local to the area — and was concerned at their relative swimming inexperience and their lack of knowledge of the area.

“Tombstoning is a high-risk, high-impact experience, but it can have severe and life-threatening consequences.

“This is because water depths alter with the tide, the shock of cold water can make it difficult to swim, getting out of the water is often more difficult than people realise and strong currents can rapidly sweep people away.

“I urge parents to beware of the whereabouts of their children and to educate them about the dangers of pier jumping.”

Back in April police warned young people of the potential dangers of jumping off Ballycastle pier. A PSNI spokesperson said: “We would appeal for parents to be aware of the dangers of this practice, especially at the mouth of this very busy harbour with limited vision at this area.”

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