Swimmers warned over ‘tombstoning’ at Felixstowe

PUBLISHED: 12:05 06 September 2016 | UPDATED: 12:05 06 September 2016

Concerns over people tombstoning at Felixstowe

Concerns over people tombstoning at Felixstowe

Young men are putting themselves at risk by “tombstoning” from structures along Felixstowe seafront.

Coastal rescuers say they have attended three incidents this summer of people jumping off Felixstowe Pier and an old jetty at Landguard Point and have received reports of others leaping from the rock groynes along the resort’s main holiday beaches.

Members of HM Coastguard, Felixstowe Volunteer Coast Patrol Rescue Service (FVCPRS) and the police have had to warn young men about the dangers of tombstoning into the sea because of obstacles hidden beneath the waves.

FVCPRS chairman John Cresswell said there had been an increase in incidents this summer.

He said: “It’s a dangerous game known as tombstoning for obvious reasons.

“It has become national problem and there have been many initiatives launched to discourage it following many hundreds of accidents requiring hospital treatment and well over a dozen fatalities.

“Injuries from tombstoning are mainly head, back, spinal, broken lower limbs and puncture injuries caused when the victim has jumped onto hidden underwater obstructions.

“Some of these injuries have been life-changing and resulted in the victim being confined to a wheelchair for life.”

The rescue team’s most recent call-out to tombstoning happened over the Bank Holiday weekend and was the second in a week. It involved a group of five men from Bedfordshire jumping off the Landguard Point jetty.

Mr Cresswell said: “The jetty is in a poor condition, let alone these men having no consideration of the dangerous strong tides, eddies and unpredictable waves or indeed the presence of underwater obstructions in this hazardous location.”

Team members on the service’s Volunteer craft went close in to shore to warn the tombstoners and also asked Coastguard officers to attend to give them further advice on the dangers.

Felixstowe’s near-shore area is littered with scattered rocks and debris from sea defence projects, as well as items lost or dumped at sea – including large pieces of wood – and which wash up on the beaches.

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