LYING face down on railings on the Wearmouth Bridge, this young daredevil puts his life on the line.
His dangerous antics, pictured on a Sunderland website, are part of a craze called “planking” – and were today blasted by safety groups.
Planking involves people posting photographs of themselves lying down in a public place. A Facebook group called “The Lying Down Game – Sunderland” has more than 2,000 members.
But those taking part in the craze were today warned about the potentially fatal consequences and urged not to put their lives at risk.
Anthony Jobling, helmsman at Sunderland Lifeboat Station, said: “The dangers speak for themselves.
“We’ve seen with tombstoning this kind of daredevil thing before.
“We would strongly discourage individuals taking part in this activity due to the obvious danger associated with slipping and falling from one of our town’s bridges.
“As proven on numerous occasions, a fall from one of the city’s bridges can be fatal or result in serious injury with long-term disabilities.”
Mr Jobling said that the organisation hadn’t had any experience of dealing with planking incidents, but that the picture indicated a worrying trend.
Warnings about planking have been reinforced after an Australian man reportedly died after falling seven storeys to his death.
Other pictures posted on the Facebook page “The Lying Down Game –Sunderland” include people lying down in bowling alleys and next to a roundabout in the city.
The information section of the group says that “Participants take part at their own risk”.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (Rospa) said the growing number of people putting themselves in precarious positions was cause for concern and people needed to be educated about the dangers.
Peter Cornall, Rospa’s head of leisure safety, said: “You can’t stop people doing what they want to do – nor can you impose restrictions in every place where people might decide to lie down and have their photo taken. Instead, those who take part need to stop and think about the potential consequences.
“In some circumstances, a simple mistake could lead to the devastation of family and friends. It might also lead to rescue workers risking their own neck to save those who’ve come unstuck.”