Teenager dies in “ice bucket” quarry pool plunge

Police officers at Prestonhill Quarry in Inverkeithing, Fife. Picture: hemediaPolice officers at Prestonhill Quarry in Inverkeithing, Fife. Picture: hemedia
Police officers at Prestonhill Quarry in Inverkeithing, Fife. Picture: hemedia
A TEENAGER has died following a tombstoning accident at a Scottish quarry amid speculation he was attempting a version of the ice water challenge.

Cameron Lancaster, 18, from Burntisland, Fife, died at the scene on Sunday night at Preston Hill Quarry in Inverkeithing after it is suspected he jumped from the rocks.

Officers were called to the scene shortly before 5pm after receiving a report that a youth had disappeared under the water.

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Following a multi-agency operation also involving the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and the Scottish Ambulance Service, his body was finally recovered at around 9pm.

With the quarry a popular spot for tombstoning - where participants leap into deep water from great heights - speculation was rife that the tragedy had been related to a take on the new ice water challenge craze, although this remains unconfirmed.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Inquiries are under way to establish the full circumstances of what happened and Police Scotland’s thoughts are with the family at this very difficult time.”

And a source said: “He hit the water and dropped like a brick.”

Householders became aware of a major incident when they heard sirens and saw a Police Scotland helicopter circling low near the quarry.

Local resident Wilma Sutherland, 41, said: “I saw the police, ambulance and the fire brigade go past up the road towards the quarry.

“I asked my son who’s 15 if he had heard anything and he told me that a young guy had taken part in the ice bucket challenge and then jumped in the quarry and didn’t come up.

“It’s a popular spot for swimming and I’ve seen lots of teenagers jumping in.

“This is a really tragic set of circumstances.

“I feel so sorry for the family.”

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SNP Fife councillor Alice McGarry, who lives just 150 yards from the quarry, said there had been a number of new tombstoning videos from the quarry posted online earlier this week where youngsters plummeted some 80 feet into the water.

She had also seen a lot of young people in the area.

The tragedy comes two years after the coastguard condemned tombstoning activity at the quarry, warning that it was reckless and could result in serious injury or death.

Mrs McGarry said: “Because we live so close to the quarry we were aware of what was going on.

“In fact my husband and daughters had just been picking brambles nearby before it all kicked off.

“There were fire tenders, ambulances, the police helicopter.

“At first we heard someone had broken their back and someone had jumped in to save him.

“But then we just heard it was a teenager.

“There have been one or two incidents.

“It’s 30-plus years since there was a fatality at the quarry.

“Whatever happened, it’s really awful. Really upsetting.”

Mrs McGarry’s daughter Natalie McGarry was among the many people who took to social media last night to pay tribute to the youngster as news of the tragedy spread.

She said: “Terrible news from Inverkeithing tonight. Sad.”

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Euan Donaldson tweeted: “Tragic to hear a boy died inverkeithing quarry today.

“Apparently he was trying to do the ice bucket challenge.

“Thoughts are with his family.”

Callum Campbell said: “Thoughts out to the family and friends of the guy that died at the quarry, rest in peace.”

In a statement released by Police Scotland, his family said: “Cameron died in a tragic accident. His death is such a great loss.

“During his short life, he touched so many people with his friendliness, kindness and thoughtful generosity of spirit. He will be hugely missed by his family and friends.

“The family are finding it hard to come to terms with this sudden loss and would ask for privacy at this sad time.”

Two years ago there were warnings of a serious accident when a video, titled “Inverkeithing Quarry Big Jump” was posted on YouTube during the hot weather at Preston Hill quarry.

The jumper is given a countdown before taking the plunge into the water.

Fred Caygill, of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), said then: “Jumping from height into unknown depths of water from cliffs, from a quarry face, bridge or harbour wall is foolhardy and dangerous.

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“In past years we have seen people killed and seriously injured from undertaking such activity.

“If people want to jump from height into water, I would advise them to go to their local swimming pool, where there is a diving board.

“Thrill-seeking is not such a thrill when you are taken to hospital, seriously injured or your family hears a knock on the door from the police.”

According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, tombstoning led to 139 emergency call-outs across the UK from 2004 to 2008, of which 12 ended in a fatality.

Danger occurs where the water is not deep enough to cushion the dive, where there are submerged objects such as rocks, where the coldness makes swimming difficult or where there are strong current.