Rock jump warning after man knocked out in sea

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The man, who had been jumping off Grosse Tête to the east of Beauport, was rescued by a passing private boat, whose crew handed him over to paramedics in St Brelade’s Bay.

The St Helier lifeboat station had been paged to launch both of their lifeboats due to the seriousness of the case.

However, they were stood down before leaving the Harbour after the man was picked up by the passing boat.

Following the incident, which took place on Sunday at around 2.30 pm, Jersey Coastguard is now calling on Islanders to only go rock jumping – also known as coasteering or tombstoning – with accredited guides. Jason Dollimore, Coastguard operations manager, explained how the incident unfolded: ‘There was a group of young guys and girls jumping off Grosse Tête – a big rock to the east of Beauport. Apparently they were jumping from quite a height.

‘One of the men jumped in, was knocked unconscious and also bit his tongue. When he resurfaced he thankfully regained consciousness, or there could have been a different outcome.’

Mr Dollimore added that a member of the group had called the Coastguard by mobile phone and the decision was then taken to launch the St Helier inshore and all-weather lifeboats.

‘During the call, details were still coming in and all we knew was that there was an unconscious person in the water, so we immediately paged both St Helier lifeboats to launch as there was a risk to life,’ he added.

‘I do not know how high he was jumping from, but it was enough to fling his head back on impact and knock him unconscious.

‘If he had not regained consciousness there could have been a risk of secondary drowning from inhaling seawater.’

The man was taken by ambulance to hospital, where he spent around two hours before being discharged.

Although they are infrequent, a number of incidents involving people rock jumping have occurred over the years.

In June 2010 a 15-year-old was knocked unconscious and broke his back after jumping from Bouley Bay’s pier. The boy was reported to have hurdled the pier railings before falling 12 feet onto a boat moored below. He had to have metal bars inserted into his spine and it took him many months to recover.

And in 2012 a major rescue operation was launched after a 20-year-old man broke his ankle while jumping from rocks near the desalination plant at La Moye. At the time it was reported that he landed on a rock that as covered by around three metres of water.

In 2011 Jersey Tourism was forced to remove an invitation to potential tourists on their website to try illegal pier jumping into harbours – an act which is punishable by a fine of up to £500.

Mr Dollimore added that the Island had a number of accredited companies that could ensure that coasteering – an activity that does not include jumping into the sea from a pier – was carried out in a safe manner.

He also warned Islanders that some popular jumping spots could become unsafe with certain states of tide.

‘The seriousness of this incident illustrates how quickly something can go wrong,’ he said.

‘There are a few recognised providers who are signed up to the National Coasteering Charter and have trained instructors with a great local knowledge of the places where you can and cannot jump.

‘They can also provide you with the correct safety equipment such as a buoyancy aid and helmet and make sure you are wearing appropriate footwear.’

He added: ‘If you do go without an instructor, make sure you take a means of communication, let people know you are going, tell them when you hope to return to shore and do not go alone.’

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