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MP hits out at ‘immature’ base jumpers who threw themselves off cliff

Eye witnesses claimed the thrill seeker had crashed into the rocks, injuring his hip and then plummeted to the beach below.

An MP has hit out at “immature” base jumpers who flung themselves off a high cliff in East Sussex.

Stephen Lloyd spoke out after a man taking part in the sport was taken to hospital with a suspected broken hip after crashing into the cliff at Beachy Head, East Sussex, on Saturday.

The council has also urged visitors to the area to “use their common sense”.

Emergency services were called to the South Downs beauty spot at about 2.50pm by a member of the public reporting the accident, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said.

Eye witnesses claimed the thrill seeker had crashed into the rocks, injuring his hip and then plummeted to the beach below.

The man was flown to Brighton by helicopter and then driven in an ambulance to hospital but was conscious, according to a coastguard spokeswoman.

A video circulating online on Sunday showed a base jumper leaping over the 531 feet (162m) edge. The footage claims to show a second jumper who went to the aid of his friend who lay injured on the beach below.

Speaking to the Press Association, Liberal Democrat Mr Lloyd, who represents Eastbourne, said: “I’m absolutely disgusted at the immature behaviour of these individuals, particularly around such a site as Beachy Head.

“[The base jumper] has been injured, he could have been killed. It is my earnest hope that this will deter people from continuing.”

Mr Lloyd said there have been several discussions in the past about fencing the area, which is part of the South Downs National Park, but this has not been possible.

Several signs warning of the dangers are displayed.

He said he was keeping an open mind as to whether he would support police or council-imposed fines for those who venture too near the edge.

Eastbourne Borough Council said: “Any activity that brings people into close proximity with the cliff edge or cliff face carries extremely high risk.

“This applies to everyone, whether simply walking in the area or involved in other leisure pursuits and sports.

“People enjoying the downland must use their common sense and adhere to warning signs.”

The coastguard routinely warns against such activities.

A spokeswoman said: “Cliffs are a dangerous place with jagged rock on the cliff face and are often more unstable than they look.

“Although we cannot stop people climbing cliffs or going near the edge, our advice is to stay well clear.

“If you see anyone in trouble call 999 and ask for the coastguard.”

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