Man injured in 'tombstoning' accident

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The Independent Online

A man was rushed to hospital after tombstoning from a rocky outcrop on a stag weekend, coastguards said today.

The man, from Exeter, who is understood to be in his 30s, was with a group of friends when he leapt into the sea this afternoon.

He had to be pulled from the water at Redgate Beach, in Babbacombe, Devon, before being airlifted to Torbay hospital, a spokesman for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said.

The piece of coastline where he jumped is a renowned tombstoning spot. It is relatively inaccessible with no road access.

Rescue workers from the West Country Ambulance service had to call Brixham Coastguard for assistance just before 1pm and a helicopter was scrambled from Portland, in Dorset.

Fiona Iris, Watch Officer at Brixham Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre, warned would-be jumpers against leaping into unknown waters.

"I would like to remind the public tombstoning is a high risk activity as water depth alters with the tide and it can often be shallower than it seems," she said.

"There may also be submerged objects like rocks which can cause serious injury."

The man was said to have hit the water at a "funny angle" before he surfaced.

He immediately complained of neck and back pain before he was dragged from the sea by friends.

The coast guard later confirmed his age to be 37.

A coastguard spokeswoman said the man jumped at a spot between Redgate Beach and Devil's Point but the height of the drop was not known.

The man jumped at a point midway between high and low tide, she said.