1. ITV Report

Warning to 'tombstoning' teenagers on Tyneside coast

Cullercoats Bay is popular with sun-seekers in the summertime Credit: PA (library image)

The RNLI has issued a warning after teenagers were spotted tombstoning from a pier into shallow water on the North Tyneside coast in the warm sunny weather.

Adrian Don, from Tynemouth RNLI Lifeboat Station, has been explaining the problem at Cullercoats Bay.

It comes just 18 months after 15-year-old Caitlin Ruddy was swept from the pier opposite and to her death by a wave while playing with her friends.

Caitlin Ruddy was swept out to sea while playing on the north pier at Cullercoats Bay in January of last year.

She died despite huge efforts by rescue teams after she was dragged into the freezing water.

The teenager from Newbiggin Hall, Newcastle, was with a group of friends when a wave crashed over them.

What is tombstoning?

  • Tombstoning is the act of jumping in a straight vertical position into the sea, lake or reservoir from a high jumping platform, such as a cliff or pier
  • It is understood that between 2005 and 2015 the Coastguard dealt with more than 200 incidents of tombstoning, with 83 injuries and 20 deaths.

"Jumping off piers is always dangerous unless the conditions are really controlled and it is supervised by someone experienced.

"There are all sorts of hidden threats under the water, such as rocks.

"It might be a sunny day, but the water can be freezing.

"People should only be swimming in the sea if a lifeguard is on duty, the water is not a playground.

"It is not too long since we had a tragedy at Cullercoats, a girl drowned.

The conditions were very different but her mum said she thought the beach was safe.

"The sunny weather encourages people to get into the water. We do not want to be like Big Brother, but we do urge people to be careful."

– Adrian Don, of Tynemouth RNLI