Quarry jump claims another victim

Two thrill seekers have recently been seriously injured after jumping off these cliffs at Island Quarry, some of which are up to 25m high.
Two thrill seekers have recently been seriously injured after jumping off these cliffs at Island Quarry, some of which are up to 25m high. Kate O’Neill

OPERATORS of the Island Quarry Reserve trust are pleading with the public to stop jumping into the quarry after a Swedish backpacker broke her back last week.

Emma Weisglas, 20, smashed her vertebrae when she jumped from a 25m cliff into the quarry.

Ms Weisglas told the media she saw the "no diving sign," but thought it was okay to jump.

The incident occurred just weeks after a 15-year-old Pottsville boy broke his back doing the same thing.

Shocked by the public's continual disregard for its own safety, Island Quarry Reserve Trust president Shane Rennie has pleaded with people to stop jumping into the quarry.

"It doesn't take much to get injured there," he said.

"Don't jump off a cliff that's endangering you."

On-site signage warned people of dangers but Mr Rennie said it was actively disobeyed.

He said he had talked people out of jumping on several occasions.

"I stopped about three or four groups yesterday (Saturday). I told them it was members only, so they said, 'how do we become members?' Eventually they asked just to come in and have a look. Next thing you know, they've all got their cossie's on ready to jump.

"You can't teach commonsense to those who know no limits," he said.

About 30 YouTube videos of people jumping into the quarry have been posted online.

Mr Rennie said social media and the internet gave tourists the information they needed to find and jump into the quarry.

"One of the backpacker hostels was even advertising it for a while," he said.

Island Quarry Arts and Eco Centre is a non-profit organisation and is struggling to regulate the site due to a lack of resources.

"We've got a presence, but it's a limited presence," Mr Rennie said.

"It's impossible to police; we can't have someone there 24-7."

The centre has lobbied for adequate roads in the area for several years.

Mr Rennie said such infrastructure would increase activity on the island and subsequently deter jumpers.

However, his main concern was that the centre would be shut down due to so many people injuring themselves there.

"We're a voluntary organisation and we've given years of our lives to this. If someone was to hold us responsible, the land would go back to the Crown, even though they can't do any better with it. There were people jumping off it back when they had the land," Mr Rennie said.

Yesterday Crown Land erected official warning signs at the quarry but Mr Rennie said it was unlikely they would be effective.

Topics:  backpacker dive hospital quarry

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