Scaling The Heights of A Dangerous New Craze
A news report we came across this week has highlighted a dangerous trend that’s being fuelled by the current craze that’s been sweeping the internet for quite a while now – the “selfie”. It seems that a group of teenagers posed for some selfies at the dizzying height of 6oo ft. The intrepid trio of youngsters posed for selfies at the top of a television tower in Tartu, Estonia’s second largest city! Not only did they pose for the selfies, the fearless three performed some pretty risky stunts like dangling from ledges and balancing on tiny platforms!
The three daredevils spent an hour climbing the Tartu TV mast (built in 1957) equipped with just a selfie stick and a GoPro camera to record their adventure. With no safety equipment whatsoever, one wrong move at any point during the proceedings would have meant certain death for the teenagers.
When interviewed about the incident, 17 year old photographer/filmmaker Ervin Punkar admitted that they had been planning to make the climb for months as they were determined to capture some stunning views of their home city. He reveals that they were driven to perform the climb because “it seemed like a great challenge and an amazing experience”. Luckily, the threesome managed to get themselves back to ground level without mishap. Punkar claims that the most dangerous part of the climb was the first part of the climb where the access ladder was blocked and they had to climb the structure itself.He admitted that he did not feel that he was in danger at any point and puts his confidence down to the fact that he’s been practising parkour since the age of 14.
A couple of years ago a group of Russian extreme climbers hit the headlines performing stunts high above the streets of Moscow, in some cases climbing 1,000 ft. up the sides of buildings! Hundreds of youngsters joined in the craze to put their lives at risk as they scaled dangerous heights “just to admire the view and hang out with friends”. One of the Russian climbers claims that the highest building ever scaled was 74 storeys high and 300 metres tall.
Here in the UK, some of our youngsters are getting in on the act. In July 2013, the Brighton Argus reported on a daredevil group of thrill seekers who’d been risking their lives by scaling the rooftops in the city. The Argus uncovered a series of photos and videos of the antics of ten parkour free runners jumping on rooftops, industrial cranes and freestanding pillars. Andy Reynolds, Director for Prevention and Protection at East Sussex Fire and Rescue dubbed the climbers reckless and irresponsible, saying:
“It's the height of stupidity. We cannot afford to be attending potential callouts to people like this when there are serious emergencies taking place across the county.”
It seems that while the construction industry and health and safety legislation strives to make working at height safer with the development and adoption of all manner of safety equipment, playing at height is a whole different matter – part of the attraction for these youngsters is the risk involved.