'Tombstoning teenager' dies after leaping off Brighton Pier

‘Tombstoning teenager’ dies in hospital after jumping off Brighton Palace Pier into three feet of water on Bank Holiday Sunday

  • A young man has died after allegedly leaping off Brighton Palace Pier with friend
  • Witnesses claimed he dove head first off the historic pier at low tide
  • Two lifeguards swam out to sea and pulled the duo back to shore on August 28
  • An inquest is set to be held and a file has been passed to the East Sussex coroner

A young man who was critically injured after allegedly ‘tombstoning’ into the sea by diving off Brighton Palace Pier has tragically died in hospital.

Doctors are understood to have switched off the man’s life support system after he spent a week unconscious in hospital following the fateful incident on Sunday, August 28.

An inquest is now set to be held and a file has been passed to the East Sussex coroner.

The deceased, who was believed to be in his teens, and another young man were said to have jumped off the pier head-first while the tide was at low water during the bank holiday weekend. 

The other man survived and has since been allowed home from the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton.

Police and other emergency services were called to Brighton Palace Pier on August 28

Tombstoning is the activity of jumping from a high cliff or ledge while maintaining a vertical, upright position.

An eyewitness named Daniel said one of the pair was floating in the water unconscious for around 15 to 20 minutes before emergency services arrived.

He said: ‘We were just out in Brighton enjoying the day, it was very busy, really packed on the beach.

‘When we were on the street next to the pier, looking out at the sea, I could hear lots of screaming and shouting and people started crowding round.

‘There was lots of screaming and onlookers crowding round watching. I’d say hundreds of people were watching from the street.

‘The first person that jumped in – I’ve never seen anything like it.  I couldn’t see the second person at the time.’

Two council lifeguards swam around 300 yards to find one man unconscious and lying face-down in the water, while the other was shaking and clinging to a life-belt under the pier.

The two males made the leap during low tide while the popular beach was packed with holidaymakers 

The eyewitness added: ‘After 15 to 20 minutes a lifeguard came out with just a surfboard, no boat or anything. He finds [the first man] and and swims away and takes him on the board to the beachfront.

‘It was like something from a movie, it was so surreal, so shocking.

‘Whilst this was going on, a lifeguard found the second person and brought him to the shore.’

Another witness said that CPR was performed on one of the men for ’30 minutes’ while a large crowd gathered. Another person was reported as describing the aftermath of the incident as like something out of a ‘horror movie.’

Brighton and Hove City Council has since warned of the dangers of jumping off the pier.

The man who died has not yet been named by police. His identity was expected to be released when an inquest is opened.

A spokesman for Sussex Police said today: ‘Two men were taken to hospital having reportedly jumped into the sea from Brighton Palace Pier. One man has now sadly died from his injuries.

‘His next of kin have been informed and a report will be prepared for HM Coroner. The second man has been discharged from hospital.’

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