Warning over 'copycat' cliff diving
A WEST coast doctor has expressed concerns about the risk of copycat incidents occurring after an international cliff diving event takes place on the Aran island of Inis Mór early next month.
Dr Marion Broderick, general practitioner for the Aran Islands, said she had “no worries” about the professional divers involved in the extreme sports event, but was concerned untrained people might sustain serious injuries in similar attempts at a later date.
The Red Bull cliff diving championships at Poll na bPéist (The Worm Hole) is part of a world series planned by the company, and will involve dives from a ledge 27m above the naturally formed rectangular pool or blowhole.
A similar event held at the same location in 2009 was posted on YouTube and later resulted in copycat attempts when there was no safety or rescue plan in place.
One of the cases involved a “very serious” spinal injury, Dr Broderick said.
Dr Broderick was aware Red Bull had a “very well staffed emergency and rescue plan” in place, which would involve ensuring the safety of some 700 spectators at the top of the cliff.
“We need the message to go out, loud and clear, from Red Bull, that this extreme sport is for very highly trained, skilled professionals only,”she said. “Otherwise Poll na bPéist will become famous for the wrong reasons,” she said.
The Health Service Executive West said as the event did not involve crowds of more than 5,000 people, it did not require a “large crowd event licence”, so there was “no obligation on the organisers or the HSE to have a specific emergency plan in place”.