Jumpin' Jack's not flash
A 15-YEAR-OLD boy who broke his back after jumping off a 25m high cliff at Byron Bay has warned other young people to learn from his mistake.
Pottsville teenager Jack Pollock broke two vertebrae and came within 3mm of severing his spinal cord when he jumped from the highest ledge of the popular Island Quarry swimming hole last month.
He now has eight pins and two rods in his back and endures ongoing pain.
He had jumped in after his mates, who assured him the water was deep enough.
"I didn't think about the impact, that's what did the damage," he said.
Jack said there were plenty of other people jumping on the day.
"When we were up there, there were a whole bunch of Americans drinking and jumping," he said.
Jack's was the first of two serious injuries in as many months at the site. Last week, a 21-year-old American backpacker reportedly broke two vertebrae.
There are at least one or two injuries each year at the swimming hole, a former quarry that stopped operating more than 30 years ago.
It is on Crown land leased to the Island Quarry Trust, a not-for-profit organisation that is working to create an arts and eco community park on the site.
Trust chairman Shane Rennie said there were up to 100 visitors per day to the waterhole over summer and it was impossible to stop thrill seekers.
"You could put up a fence and they'd cut a hole in it," he said.
"There's only so much you can do."
Mr Rennie said the waterhole had always been used by locals, but "word had got out".
He said he had asked a local backpacker hostel to remove a website that promoted quarry cliff jumping to tourists, but social media continued to spread the word.
There are now clips on YouTube of people leaping from the cliffs.
Mr Rennie said similar problems were faced at other old quarry sites, including the popular Blue Pool, where jumpers are regularly injured.
"We're constantly warning people not to jump from the cliffs," he said.
"If I ever see people there I tell them not to jump but we can't be there 24/7 with security."
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