YOUTHS are flooding the Lake District to show off their boozy stunts on TikTok in a dangerous new craze.
Shocking videos are being shared on social media of young Brits throwing themselves off cliffs into picturesque, isolated lakes and rivers.
The daredevils have left authorities desperately urging them to stay safe after seeing an increase in the number of tourists flocking to the area – unable to head overseas for the summer holidays.
Typically Brits would jet off to a beach destination on group holidays during the summer to down cheap cocktails, but the pandemic has increased a spike in British holidays.
Videos show groups of people throwing themselves from the top of mountains into plunge pools after the Lake District became a staycation hotspot.
Other footage shows Brits taking dozens of bottles of spirits and beers with them to drink while on holiday.
According to the National Water Safety Forum an estimated 40 people have drowned during the heatwave in the UK and is triple the normal rate of water deaths.
The head of visitor services and communications at the Lake District national park, Tony Watson, warned that TikTok and Instagram were part of the problem.
Mr Watson said that the social media sites had been showing visitors how to access isolated locations and turn them into party destinations – where there have never previously been issues.
Speaking to The Guardian, Mr Watson said: “What we are seeing is a massive desire to be near the water, and what used to be lake shores are now beaches, and there’s a lot of booze consumed.
Booze really reduces people’s common sense and fear factor.
“That booze really reduces people’s common sense and fear factor. We might be having Mediterranean air temperatures but we’ve still got traditionally cold northern English waters.
“Obviously, international travel is very complex so we’re seeing a lot of people trying to replicate foreign holiday holidays in domestic locations.
“The middle aisle of Lidl is often on our lakes. We see Lidl selling paddleboards but we don’t see them selling buoyancy aids.
“A lot of people are behaving really well until the booze makes them slightly braver and they go swimming.
“There’s the amplification on social media, where a waterfall or a little water pool will appear on Instagram or TikTok and it will become an attraction that we’ve never had a problem with before.”
On Friday three Cumbrian fire and rescue teams were dispatched to Ullswater to reports of a male in distress.
Owen McCarney, station manager for Keswick, Frizington, Cockermouth and Whitehaven, tweeted his frustration at the incident.
He said: “The intoxicated male managed to get out as teams arrived. Resources were unnecessarily tied up when they may be needed elsewhere. ALCOHOL AND SWIMMING DO NOT MIX.”
DANGERS OF SWIMMING
Dawn Whittaker, chair of the National Water Safety Forum and the National Fire Chiefs Council lead for water safety and drowning prevention, added: “Drunk swimming is a problem every year.
“Last year we had 242 accidental drownings, and out of that 69 people, 29 per cent, were recorded as as having alcohol or drugs in their blood.
“They’re not going abroad and going to their nice swimming pools and so the reality is that the days since the heatwave began on 14 July have been awful, really awful.
“I stopped counting the deaths after 30 because it’s just too painful.”
In a normal year there is a water death every 20 hours in the UK, but Whittaker expected the death numbers to be “nearing the doors of 40 as of the end of this weekend”.
Kevin Rahill, a water safety expert from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, said: “Alcohol will cause the blood vessels to dilate, so there’s a lot more heat lost more quickly, and it can really affect survival times in the water. Our advice is: if you’re going to have alcohol, don’t go in the water.”
The warnings come after a string of tragic drownings during the recent heatwave.
A dad was left heartbroken after he watched his wife, son and best friend drown at a Loch Lomond beauty spot as he desperately tried to save them.
An 11-year-old schoolboy drowned at a park in Lanarkshire, Scotland after getting into difficulty in the water.
On the same day a 19-year-old man was rescued from the sea in St Anne’s near Blackpool but later died and a 16-year-old drowned in Loch Lomond.