East Devon: Tombstoning teenager jumps off a harbour wall and is saved from fast-flowing water by a fisherman

A tombstoning teenage girl who jumped off a harbour in East Devon was saved thanks to a fisherman holding her out of the fast-flowing water.

The 14-year-old girl suffered cold water shock and ‘got into trouble’ in the sea after tombstoning off the harbour at the mouth of the River Axe, in East Devon.

When rescuers from Beer Coastguard arrived, they found the girl being pushed against the harbour wall by a powerful river, and was being held out of the water by a fisherman standing on the harbour wall above her.

She was plucked from the water and taken to safety after a local skipper launched their boat.

She returned home after being checked over by ambulance paramedics.

The youngster’s ‘dangerous’ actions has prompted Beer Coastguard Rescue Team to warn against jumping from height into water below – known as tombstoning.

The teenager swallowed ‘a lot’ of water and was ‘very cold’ prompting the rescuers to call an ambulance.

The Beer Coastguard rescuers were heading home after training on Monday (May 22) when they were tasked with Lyme Coastguard and Lyme RNLI lifeboat to Axe Harbour, where a 14-year-old female was reported to be in the water at the mouth of the river Axe

A Beer Coastguard Rescue Team spokesperson said: “On arrival she was being pushed onto the harbour wall by the flow of river.

“She had one foot on a piece of concrete and was being held above the water by a local fisherman who was on top of the harbour wall.

“The first two team members on scene assisted and held on to the girl while Lyme lifeboat was on route.

“A local boat launched and with the boat skipper and one coastguard onboard the girl was hauled onto the boat and returned to a pontoon and then ashore to be checked over.”

The spokesperson said an ambulance was called because the girl ‘had swallowed a lot of sea water and was very cold’.

“Tombstoning is dangerous especially at the mouth of a busy harbour,” said the Beer Coastguard spokesperson. “This casualty got into trouble firstly from cold water shock and then the power of the river.”

The casualty was taken to Axe Yacht Club until the ambulance arrived.

The Coastguard team thanked Axmouth Harbour Master and the Axe Yacht Club for the use of their premises.

The Beer Coastguard spokesperson said: “Axe Yacht Club kindly opened the club house to allow us to warm the casualty while waiting for the ambulance.

“The casualty was monitored by team members and when the ambulance arrived she was given the all clear to return home.”

The coastguard and police regularly warn of the dangers tombstoning. Stock picture: Devon and Cornwall Police.

The Coastguard and police regularly warn of the dangers tombstoning. Stock picture: Devon and Cornwall Police.


British Gas U-turn leaves an East Devon wellbeing charity £29,000 out of pocket after the energy giant fails to honour a payment agreement

About Author