Coastguard warns against ‘tombstoning’ after river callout

River-side drama turned out to be a false alarm as rescuers turn out in force.

THE Coastguard has issued a warning against ‘tombstoning’ after being scrambled to reports of a young person struggling in the River Torridge.

The Westward Ho! and Instow rescue teams assembled on Bideford Bridge along with the Appledore RNLI Lifeboat on Friday evening just before 7pm.

Niki Tait, of the RNLI, said: “Swansea Coast Guard requested the launch of the inshore rescue boat following a report of someone in difficulty after jumping off Bideford Old Bridge despite the large and fast flowing tides.

“The rescue helicopter from Chivenor, our own smaller boarding boat, and coastguards were also called to help but it soon became apparent that it had been children jumping and luckily all were safe and accounted for.”

A spokesman from the Coast Guard said: “We were called to reports of a person struggling in the water in the River Torridge.

“It turned out to be a group of children ‘tombstoning’ and jumping into the river for fun, though the call was made with good intent.

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“Tombstoning is very dangerous and can lead to serious injury or even death as you are jumping into unfamiliar water with no knowledge of the depth.”

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