Concerns over people 'tombstoning' into river from bridges in Shrewsbury

Concerns have been raised about people jumping off some of the bridges in Shrewsbury into the River Severn as part of this week's report into safety around the river.

The Pengwern Boat Club pontoon
The Pengwern Boat Club pontoon

Tombstoning - the act of jumping straight into the water - has been reported as taking place at the Porthill and Kingsland bridges although there have been no reports of injuries.

The report by WSP on behalf of Shropshire Council has also picked up concerns about mainly young people using the pontoon at Pengwern Boat Club to jump into the river.

"Whilst there is signage and CCTV on the premises, this does not appear to discourage the public from using the area for recreational purposes," the report says.

They also say that there is evidence that pedestrians and cyclists have been seen scaling closed gates to access towpaths when they don't look flooded.

The report says: "Anecdotal evidence reveals that pedestrians and cyclists have been observed scaling the gates to access the towpaths at times when the towpaths do not appear flooded. However, closing the gates at the levels specified provides a factor of safety to protect the public prior to anticipated rises and potential surges in river levels."

The review into safety around the Severn in Shrewsbury was commissioned after a number of tragedies in the town earlier this year.

Two men, Nathan Fleetwood and Toby Jones, died in the river in the space of a few days in March and April, and another man, Dan Walker, was left with serious injuries after being rescued from the water.

Among the recommendations in this week's report are Amsterdam-style riverside urinals to try and prevent intoxicated men falling into the Severn, more ladders out of the water to provide an escape route for when people do fall in, and public safety campaigns.

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