A teenager has died in the first tombstoning death of the summer after he plunged 30ft into a disused quarry and failed to resurface.
Tragic Dean Mason, 19, was diving into the deep water to cool off with friends during hot weather on Saturday when it is believed he became trapped in underwater debris.
Friends watched in horror as Dean, who had recently been accepted into the Army, leapt off a ledge and disappeared beneath the water at Holcombe Quarry near Midsomer Norton, Somerset.
One friend is thought to have dived in after Dean, but called the police when they failed to find him and officers from Avon and Somerset Police retrieved his body the following day.
Hundreds of family and friends yesterday paid tribute to Dean, of Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, on social networking site Facebook.
Friend Ole Suktem said: ”Dean i hope your somewhere amazing brov your a sound person always game for fun and adrenalile i tryed my best to save you my hart goes out to your family ill see ya soon mate but for now rest in peace…..”
Sam Walkey wrote: ”i love you dean. this is tradgic and i do not know how i am going to come to terms with your death. so so sad. i am sorry i did not answer my phone to you and i just keep wondering if i did whether you would have just been out with me instead of up there. i hope where ever you have gone is a lovely place. my tears have… not stoped rolling. you were like a brother to me. im sorry this had to happen to you, you were just dorting out your life, got a job, a flat and accepted in to the army, why did it have to happen babe. all my love goes out to you and mel and your mum and dad. i will never forget you. xx x.”
The site has become a popular spot with youngsters who use the disused quarry to tombstone – jumping off cliffs or rocks.
A 16-year-old from Bath drowned when he plunged 30ft (9m) into the same quarry seven years ago.
Avon and Somerset Police Inspector Jo Ross said: ”Although it is tempting to jump into cool water in the hot weather, I would urge people not to jump into the unknown.
”Submerged objects like rocks may not be visible, and can cause serious injury or death if you jump on to them.
”Equally the shock of the cold water can be just as harmful and make it difficult to swim. Don’t let alcohol, drugs or peer pressure affect your judgement.”
Quarry owner Rick Massey said his security staff had removed or turned away up to 20 people on Saturday before the tragedy but others had slipped through.
He said: ”What happened on Saturday is tragic. Whatever we do to make the site safer, people still get in.”
* Eight people died in tombstoning incidents over the last three years and 106 were killed and more than 1,225 injured between 1997 and 2004.