RNLI on high alert for Arbroath cliff jumpers

Tombstoners at Arbroath a couple of years ago. 
Photograph by: Wallace Ferrier
Tombstoners at Arbroath a couple of years ago. Photograph by: Wallace Ferrier

A safety warning about the dangers of tombstoning has been issued after five people who were suspected to be jumping from cliffs in Arbroath were rescued.

The RNLI has warned of the risks of cliff diving after the five men were believed to be tombstoning - jumping into the sea from a cliff or other high point - near the Deil’s Heid on Saturday.

The alarm was raised at 3pm and RNLI personel, Coastguard officers and Scottish Fire and Rescue crews attended the scene.

A spokesperson from the RNLI said the five men were all wearing wetsuits and were suspected to be tombstoning.

The RNLI rescued four men at the bottom of the cliff by lifeboat, while the Coastguard and fire service tended to a fifth at the top of the cliff, who was safely removed with the use of line rescue equipment.

Dave Whyte, community safety volunteer for Arbroath, said: “Tombstoning is dangerous because water depth changes with the tide and there might be submerged items, like rocks.

“People jumping can land on rocks and not in the water. In some cases people have been killed.

“The shock of the cold water can take people’s breath away if they are not expecting it.

“The speed of the water around the coast is roughly 5.75 miles per hour, which might not seem like much but an Olympian can’t swim that fast. The record is about five miles per hour for 50 metres under Olympic conditions and not in the sea.

“Check the depth of the water - a jump of 10 metres needs a depth of five metres of water; never jump under the influence of alcohol, drugs or peer pressure; remember conditions can change very quickly; check the access out of the water because people have jumped in and then not been able to get out.”

Dave recommended thrillseekers who want to try jumping from rocks could try coasteering.

He said: “Guides have had training and know where to go and where not to go.

“People can still have a lot of fun.”

Find out more at www.nationalcoasteeringcharter.org.uk