A RECENT growth in people 'tombstoning' off Penarth Pier has led to a multi-agency training exercise involving the RNLI and HM Coastguard Penarth Rescue Team.

'Tombstoning' is the act of jumping upright from a height into water.

This can be extremely dangerous if someone jumps into shallow water from a distance, or if there are objects underneath the surface of the water.

Jason Dunlop, lifeboat operations manager at RNLI Penarth, said: "Recently we have seen a massive growth in people jumping from Penarth Pier.

"While jumping into water from a height can seem like a fun activity, submerged items and unpredictable water depth can lead to serious injury.

"We have seen people injured in the past, so it is important to be aware of how dangerous this activity is.

"If you see somebody who appears to be in difficulty, remember to call 999 and ask for the Coastguard."

The Coastguard and RNLI Penarth took part in an exercise on Tuesday, July 26, that simulated dealing with a casualty who had spinal injuries.

The exercise came about as a result of meetings between South Wales Police, South Wales Fire and Rescue, Vale of Glamorgan Council, HM Coastguard and the RNLI.

Authorities wanted to ensure that emergency services could respond to and deal with an incident of someone falling or jumping from the pier and becoming seriously injured.