Teen severely injured after jumping off cliff

HAMILTON COUNTY, Tenn. (WDEF)  — A teenager is in the hospital after jumping off a 40-foot cliff into the lake near the Hidden Harbor neighborhood.

News 12 spoke with Cameron Shaffer Tuesday afternoon. He says he’s doing a lot better and that the doctors are planning to move him out of the ICU about a day after the incident.

Shaffer landed on his left side, severely injuring himself

Dallas Bay Fire and Rescue says they get about one or two of these rescue calls like this every year around around May as the weather starts to warm up.

Jumping off the Gray Bluff cliff is a right of passage for many like Shaffer.

“Everyone’s like, ‘Oh, we can go cliff jumping today!’ If they go out on the boat, it’s kinda just like a given,” current Tennessee student Maggie Ingvalson said. “If you go out on the boat with your friends, they’re going to be dumb and go jump off a cliff.”

Ingvalson jumped from a point 60 feet above the water in the same area where Shaffer and his friends jumped.

“I jumped off, and I wasn’t wearing a life vest. And I landed a little bit backwards, like leaning back a little bit, and when I came up out of the water, I knew I had messed up my neck. It was so painful,” Ingvalson said.

She said her neck still hurts now — two years after jumping.

Dallas Bay Fire and Rescue responds to a handful of rescue calls like this a year.

“As soon as it gets warm like this, kids start to get out of school and have more time. And these things start to happen,” Dallas Bay Fire and Rescue Deputh Chief Jack Brellenthin said. “Not only here, but there are a number of other areas around the reservoir where there are bluffs that people jump off.”

The danger is not only hitting the water at the wrong angle, according to the deputy chief. Accessing many of these bluffs requires a short hike through the woods — where poisonous snakes, poison ivy and ticks pose another threat to thrill-seekers.

“It’s just an inherently dangerous operation, and we recommend that the kids think before they jump,” Brellenthin said.

Brellenthin told us it took nine rescuers to get Shaffer through the quarter mile of woods and to the ambulance.

He advises staying away from cliff jumping all together.

Categories: Featured, Hamilton County, Local News

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