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Armed Forces Covenant

Dangers Of Tombstoning - Don't Jump Into The Unknown

02/Jun/2017

Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service is warning people of the dangers associated with tombstoning into open water following recent sightings of groups of teenagers at a quarry in Derbyshire.

Tombstoning is an activity which has occurred around the coast for generations, but unfortunately, over recent years it has gained attention for the wrong reasons, with a number of people killed or seriously injured.

With the warmer weather, it can be tempting to jump into water and whilst Derbyshire doesn’t have any coastal waters, there are plenty of reservoirs and quarries that provide such temptation, but they come with just the same level of risk. In 2009, tragically a 15 year old boy drowned whilst swimming in a disused quarry near Ashover.

Station Manager John Cooke said: “Tombstoning can appear fun and whilst there are many clubs that organise events across the UK where lifeguards are present, we are aware that there are groups of teenagers visiting quarries, specifically one in the Buxton area and carrying out this dangerous and life threatening activity.

“If you’re jumping from 20 feet above the water, you could be falling at about 25 mph as you hit the water - the consequences of hitting rocks, or hidden debris head or feet first, at such speed, doesn’t bear thinking about.

“Water doesn’t offer a soft landing either – if your body isn’t perfectly positioned as you hit the water, you can suffer compression fractures, as well as spinal injuries and concussion. The water in quarries is also very cold, it doesn’t warm up like coastal water, meaning your body can quickly go into shock, causing your muscles to cramp and your breathing to become difficult, this can quickly lead to tragedy as you are unable to stay afloat and swim to safety.

“I’d encourage anyone tempted to jump into unknown waters to think again, no matter how egged on by your friends you may be. A moment of recklessness could lead to life changing injuries or even death.” 

For further information about the dangers of tombstoning, and general water safety visit www.rospa.com alternatively for general outdoor safety advice visit www.derbys-fire.gov.uk

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