Portsmouth parents warned it is a 'matter of time' until a child dies tombstoning from Hot Walls
PARENTS are being urged to have a ‘very serious conversation’ with their children after reckless youths were spotted tombstoning in Portsmouth.
Youngsters have been risking their lives by hurling themselves from Old Portsmouth’s Hot Walls into the harbour over the weekend.
A video, shared online, shows one boy plunging some 30ft into the water as a passenger ferry passes behind him.
Now one of Portsmouth’s top councillors has warned parents a ‘fatal tragedy’ would be inevitable if stern action wasn’t taken.
Councillor Steve Pitt, deputy leader of Portsmouth City Council, told The News: ‘Sooner or later we’re going to have a fatality because somebody is going to hit their head.
‘If you land badly jumping off those heights then there is every possibility you will end up in a wheelchair for the rest of your life if you’re lucky.
‘I’m not a parent but if I was I think I would probably be having some very serious conversations with my teenage kids to advise them just how dangerous this is.’
The warning comes as the council this week launched a powerful campaign to try and stop tombstoning in the city.
The 'Sorry Mum' campaign posters, which will be displayed at strategic points along the seafront, feature vivid photographs of young people receiving emergency medical care in the aftermath of an accident.
According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), over 80 per cent of those involved in the most serious tombstoning accidents were male and just over half the cases involved teenagers.
Portsmouth City Council has already fitted barriers to try and prevent youngsters climbing over the walls and has employed security officers to patrol known tombstoning hotspots, said Cllr Pitt.
He added the water by the Hot Walls was ‘not as deep’ as people thought and warned there was a real danger of youngsters suffering ‘life-threatening injuries’.
‘We do everything we can to deter this sort of behaviour but some people are determined to indulge in it and we can’t stress strongly enough just how dangerous and potentially life-changing having such a serious accident can be,’ he said.
‘We all think we’re invincible when we’re young. But sadly we know from the evidence that we’re not.
‘It seems to be only when there is another tragedy that people wake up and it stops being an issue for a while.’
This weekend has seen hundreds of sunseeks flocking to coastal stretches across the area as the mercury soared to a sweltering 32 degrees in parts.
The coastguard dealt with 340 individual incidents across the whole of the UK yesterday – the highest amount of call-outs in a single day in more than years.
Richard Hackwell, HM Coastguard’s deputy head of coastal operations, said: ‘We have seen a big rise in incident numbers this weekend as more people visit coastal areas and head to the beach. We understand that people want to have fun at the coast and enjoy the heatwave but we urge everyone to respect the sea and take responsibility in helping to ensure the safety of themselves, friends and family.’