Warning over bridge jumps

Police say teenagers are risking their lives by jumping into the Clutha River from the Clyde...
Police say teenagers are risking their lives by jumping into the Clutha River from the Clyde bridge 'for fun'. Photo by Lynda van Kempen.
Police are warning of the dangers of jumping off bridges into rivers after a 14-year-old boy leapt from the top metal span of the Clyde bridge and fell about 30m into the swift-flowing Clutha River.

''This practice is dangerous and will no doubt cost someone their life should it continue,'' Sergeant Derek Ealson, of Alexandra, said.

The Clyde boy was ''joking around'' with friends at the bridge on Monday afternoon when he jumped into the river from the bridge's highest point.

The distance was later estimated to be about 30m.

A concerned member of the public contacted police.

Officers went to the site but the boy was fine and did not require any medical treatment, Sgt Ealson said.

Sgt Derek Ealson
Sgt Derek Ealson
''However, the boy's lucky to be alive and we'd discourage any others from following suit. There's a number of people who have lost their lives in the Clutha River and we don't want to add to that number.

''There were several dangerous elements - the distance he fell, the swiftness of the river and the potential to hit his head on rocks under the surface, or be injured on impact with the water.

''It's an inherently dangerous river, in parts, and the police and Coastguard have been involved in a number of rescues of people who have got into trouble after entering the water.''

Climbing up the bridge was also dangerous and placed motorists at risk as well. Teenagers had also been seen recently jumping into the Clutha River from the Alexandra bridge and Deadman's Point bridge at Cromwell. Those activities were also dangerous, Sgt Ealson said.

- lynda.van.kempen@odt.co.nz

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