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Daredevil teens risk their lives on West Dorset coast
TEENAGERS risked their lives by ignoring raging seas and gale force winds to play daredevil games on the pier at West Bay.
Coastguards and police called a halt to the antics which saw youngsters braving the towering waves on the extreme end of the harbour wall.
One group of youths seemingly oblivious to the danger posed by the churning water were even trying to jump on to the floating pontoon in the harbour when the tide was at its highest.
They were among 60 people on the pier, harbour wall and around the Mound as the worst of the ‘June Monsoon’ struck.
Now a warning has gone out to people not to risk their lives and of those who may have to rescue them.
West Bay Coastguard Station Officer Mark Collins said that people were putting themselves in danger by ignoring the risk of being tossed into the heaving sea by the huge waves and by being hit with shingle and sizeable stones thrown into the air by the sea.
He said: “One group of lads decided they were going to get onto the floating pontoon, which could have had potentially fatal consequences if they had gone in and under.
“We and the police had to warn them off for their own safety and we stayed there to keep an eye on things until after the high tide.
“West Bay is spectacular in weather like that and a number of people were doing the right thing and watching the waves from the promenade, but people do not realise just how dangerous it can be in weather like that.”
Dorset Police on routine patrol came across some members of the public who had parked on the slipway and tried to walk along the harbour wall in Thursday night’s gale conditions.
Bridport section commander Insp Mike Darby said: “Naturally the conditions were extremely hazardous and the people were foolishly putting themselves in great danger of being washed off the walls and into the sea where their chances of survival would have been highly unlikely.
“Due to the clear danger police called the coastguard and harbourmaster to try and convince the people to leave and stop their activities.
“We urge everyone to be aware of the extreme danger of attempting to get too close to the sea in rough conditions and not to risk their lives and other people’s by not thinking about their actions.
“Luckily on this occasion no lives were lost due to stupidity.
“We urge anyone to contact us and the coastguard should they see anyone putting themselves in obvious danger along our coast.”
Maria Lee, who works in the Helmet City shop at West Bay, was watching the scene from one of the flats above.
“It was just ridiculous.
“I couldn’t believe the stupidity of some people.
“It was quite a spectacle and I was watching the sea, then I saw some kids run right along to the end of the pier.
“Some had bottles of alcohol and they were running down the steps to the pier and back trying not to get wet, but a huge wave came over and left them absolutely drenched.
“It was fantastic to watch but I was shocked at how many people were out there.”
Jaki Mills, assistant manager of the Ellipse Cafe on the Esplanade, said that at high tide on Friday waves had come right over the road outside.
“We watched people run down right to the end of the pier.
“The consequences could be massive in relation to the coastguard and police.
“I was surprised they hadn’t closed off the pier.”
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