A child pictured plunging off a cliff on Portland could have “easily been left with life-changing injuries or worse,” the coastguard has warned. 

A group of youths were spotted tombstoning near Portland Bill by a shocked onlooker. 

Amateur photographer Carole Zimmerman, from Warminster, was walking on the isle and taking snaps of the coastline when she spotted the group diving from the cliffs near Portland Bill Lighthouse.

Mrs Zimmerman said: “A group of boys were jumping off the cliff there and I stood and watched whilst also taking some photographs. 

“I remember they were shouting ‘jump, jump’, and one of them obviously didn’t have the confidence to do it. He jumped and as he fell he completely belly-flopped. The others were jumping further out but he just jumped straight down. 

“It really did move me; I was completely shocked that they were jumping off. I was mesmerised by what they were doing.”

Only later on, when looking back through the images on her camera, did Mrs Zimmerman realise just how close the young boy came to the rocks. 

“When I got home and looked at the images I saw that one young man had nearly hit the rock with his head,” she said.

“It’s not something I would encourage my children to do and the boy seemed a bit staggered when he got back out. I wish I could have shown him the pictures to show how dangerous it was. “They were all so young and on their own with no adults; it was very, very scary.”

Mrs Zimmerman wants to the photographs to raise awareness of the dangers of tombstoning, particularly as the school summer holidays approach. 

The craze of jumping into water from a height has often been branded ‘dangerous’ by coastguards.

In 2010, a man was injured after jumping off Durdle Door into the sea.

In 2013, a man suffered back, pelvis and wrist injuries after slipping from Weymouth Town Bridge and falling 15ft on to a concrete parapet.
He and two others had been diving from the bridge into the harbour.
Senior coastal operations officer for HM Coastguard Rob Sansom is urging people to have fun but stay safe along the coast.

Mr Sansom said: ”The photo shows children taking part in an activity in which they do not realise that the risks they are taking could easily leave them with life changing injuries or worse.

“We always urge people to have fun but stay safe when out enjoying our beautiful coastlines.  Jumping from piers, cliffs and rocks into the sea can be very dangerous. The depth of the water can dramatically change with the tide and what was a deep pool at lunchtime might be a shallow puddle by tea time. You don’t know what hazards may be lurking under the surface until you are hurt or worse.”

Dorset Echo:

CHILDREN have been ‘risking life and limb’ whilst climbing on part of a ruined castle. 

Weymouth neighbourhood policing team has spoken out about the dangers of climbing on Sandsfoot Castle after spotting children on the top of parts of the building close to the cliff edge. 

The risky activity was spotted early Wednesday evening. 

A spokesman for the team said: “These children are risking life and limb climbing the ramparts of this castle.

“We managed to get them down and have contacted a couple of parents. 

“This has to stop. Parents, do whatever you need to educate and stop your children risking their lives.

“I spoke to a ten-year-old lad who didn’t attempt to climb this time, but could easily be encouraged by the older children’s behaviour.”
Cllr Claudia Moore, chairman of The Friends of Rodwell Trail and Sandsfoot Castle, said: “The most important thing is knowing where your children are. 

“We get a lot of teenagers down there. Various committee members keep an eye out, we don’t want to encourage people to climb.

“We will bring it up in the next committee meeting and see if there is anything more we can do, perhaps there are not enough signs.”

Any passing adults who see children climbing on the castle are urged to call the police. The neighbourhood police team held an online live chat session on Thursday morning to speak to concerned parents.