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Tombstoning warning

17 September 2012

Jersey Fire and Rescue Service and Jersey Coastguard worked together on Saturday 15 September to rescue a 20 year old man who had broken his ankle while jumping into the water from rocks.

Firefighters from Red Watch were part of a joint response to rescue the man, who had been jumping into the sea from rocks with friends. He misjudged the swell and hit a rock that was previously unseen, resulting in a suspected broken ankle.

Jersey Coastguard deployed both the Fire and Rescue Service’s Inshore Rescue Boat and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) RIB to the area near the desalination plant. A Fire and Rescue Rope Rescue Team were also sent in case the man needed to be rescued by rope rather than boat.

RNLI crew members administered first aid on shore with assistance from Firefighters and the Fire and Rescue boat then transported the man to the waiting RNLI RIB which then took him to the harbour. Ambulance crews took him to hospital.

Station Commander Marc Le Cornu said “This rescue was a great example of all of the emergency services working closely together to get to a successful conclusion.

"I would also like to use this incident as a reminder about the dangers of tombstoning, especially in areas where swell alters the depth of the water and the water is not clear enough to ensure that there are no submerged objects.”

Tombstoning involves jumping from height into the sea and is a high risk activity. It is extremely dangerous because:

  • water depth alters with the tide
  • the water may be shallower than it seems
  • submerged objects like rocks may not be visible and they can cause serious injury if you jump onto them
  • the shock of cold water may make it difficult to swim
  • strong currents can rapidly sweep people away

Because of the tragic accidents that have resulted in the past, the emergency services strongly advise against taking part in this activity. It also important to note that it is illegal in any of Jersey's harbours and punishable by fines of up to £500. 



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