Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Old Portsmouth tombstoning video prompts RNLI warning

Media captionThe mobile phone footage, taken by James Bennett, was shared with a lifeguard

A charity has warned that tombstoners are risking their lives after video footage showed people jumping into shallow water.

The mobile phone video shows two people leaping from the battlements at Old Portsmouth, which the RNLI says is a notorious tombstoning spot.

Low tide reveals jagged rocks where the pair had jumped.

Rogan Wheeldon, RNLI lifeguard supervisor, said the footage was some of the most dangerous he had seen.

Image copyright james bennett
Image caption Low tide reveals jagged rocks where the pair had jumped

He said: "These people are jumping from about 35ft into shallow water which hides jagged rocks on the sea bed. They are risking their lives, there is no doubt about it.

"Our advice is simple. Please don't tombstone.

"You will be risking broken limbs, paralysis or death, for a quick thrill. It's not worth it. In this spot in Portsmouth, there are also very strong water currents of six to eight knots which can sweep you out to sea."

Tombstoning - an activity which involves jumping off cliffs or other high points into water - has led to a number of injuries and even deaths across the UK.

According to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, there have been 20 deaths and 70 injuries in the UK since 2004.

In 2008, Sonny Wells, who was 20 at the time, jumped 30ft (9m) from a Hampshire pier into 3ft (90cm) of water.

Mr Wells, of Waterlooville was left paralysed and will never walk again.

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