Summersville Lake asks patrons to stop cliff diving after spike in injuries

SUMMERSVILLE, WV (WOAY) – Summersville Lake has recently seen a spike of people cliff diving and being severely injured. 

Cliff jumping at Summersville Lake consistently leads to major injuries, and according to Noah Allen, a member of the Nicholas County Dive Team, they’ve seen a major increase in jumpers in recent weeks. 

“Normally, we’ll have anywhere from three to five cliff jumpers a year. In the month of June, we’ve had three cliff jumpers alone that have resulted in major injuries. So we’re trying to get a message out to the public to say hey, cliff jumping is highly dangerous, please don’t do it,” Allen said. 

Cliff jumping at the lake is extremely frowned upon and is technically illegal if the cliff is more than six feet above the water. According to Hope Adkins, an employee at the lake’s marina, one major issue is that many of those that get injured are tourists who may not know the correct way to even dive into the water correctly. 

“The thing about locals doing it versus people who are out of state is locals grew up jumping off these rocks. We know what’s safe, what’s not safe, how to jump off a rock in the correct manor,” Adkins said.

Some of the cliffs at Summersville Lake range from anywhere between 40 and 60 feet high. Earlier this month two people were injured on the same day after jumping off a 52 foot high cliff. Allen says that although it is into the water, falling at that height is incredibly dangerous and could easily lead to severe injury. 

“So if you jump off a 60 foot cliff, which is very common here unfortunately, it’s like landing on concrete. So if you don’t  land just right in the water, you could break a leg, or worse you could perhaps break your back and be paralyzed the rest of your life, or worst of all you could actually drown if no one’s there to help you immediately,” Allen said.

The staff at Summersville Lake are asking the public to please avoid cliff jumping entirely, especially with the Fourth of July weekend coming up. They’re expecting a huge influx of tourists and potential injuries. 

Just last year on the Fourth of July Weekend, a 24 year old man was killed after jumping into the water from a 52 foot high cliff.