Tuesday 20 August 2019

WATCH: 'You're at the mercy of the wild Atlantic'- rescuer warns teens jumping off 80ft cliff

The shocking video showed teenagers jumping from a cliff of around 80ft
The shocking video showed teenagers jumping from a cliff of around 80ft

Mícheál Ó Scannáil

Cliff-jumpers have been warned they are at the mercy of the unpredictable Atlantic Ocean, after a video emerged of teens leaping from 80ft heights in Kilkee, Co. Clare

Volunteer rescuer for the RNLI, Charlie Glynn, said that the real danger in the craze is that the ground under the Atlantic, into which the teenagers were jumping, is ever-changing and swells and tide changes on our West Coast make it impossible to know what you are jumping into.

"It's really unknown how dangerous a particular jump is," he said.

"The tidal changes and Atlantic swells vary so much so you are really jumping into the unknown.

"Somebody could jump in two minutes before you and then you could jump in but the ground underneath could be totally different. That's ultimately the danger of it. You're at the mercy of the wild Atlantic."

Mr Glynn said that while there are not aware of other incidents at this particular cliff, cliff diving along the Wild Atlantic Way is not uncommon. Jumping from heights like that in the video however, is putting yourself at risk of death, he said.

"It's an isolated incident there," he said.

"Some of the comments online being that 'kids will be kids' but we just see the danger of it from a search and rescue perspective and also from people that could potentially have to rescue you because time is of the essences if you were to fall in terms of spinal injuries or neck injuries, landing a little bit difficultly on the water and we're just looking at it from a rescue perspective.

"It has happened in different locations down through the years. I wouldn't say it's a common occurrence but when we see videos like that cropping up we just see the danger of it because one slip or trip could end up having catastrophic consequences."

Read More Here: 'It's only a matter of time before a fatality' as teenagers jump from 80ft sea cliff

The reality of a fatality or sever injury resulting from further "tombstoning" from the cliffs at Kilkee is so realistic that the RNLI are already putting in place a strategy if the situation arises.

The danger, he says of the craze is not on those who put their own safety at rick, but also those who would be needed to rescue them so close to the cliffs in the notoriously unpredictable ocean.

"It's ultimately dangerous," he said.

"When we see kids jumping off the cliffs like that, we always look forward and think how will we recover an injured person from there, how do we actually carry out a rescue scenario.

"It's dangerous, first of all for the individuals jumping off the cliff, and then it will be dangerous for the volunteers in the RNLI or Coast Guard crews.

"We want people to enjoy the water but we want them to do it safely. In Kilkee, there's a lovely beach and there are a number of little swimming locations and there is actually a diving board but it's the height and the unpredictability of these cliffs that we're dealing with."

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