Planker promises to be safe
IT SEEMS the internet craze ‘planking' has more fans than ever despite the death of a Brisbane man on the weekend.
Police say Acton Beale, 20, had been drinking before he tried to plank on a seven-storey high balcony railing and plunged to his death early Sunday morning.
But more than 111,000 people have liked (endorsed) a community planking page on Facebook and more Gympie youths are keen to try the so-called activity.
As police warned about the dangers of laying on heights, local fans said it was just a bit of fun.
Nick Powell said he planked as recently as Sunday night. Yesterday was the first he had heard of someone dying from planking and, while Mr Powell thought it was tragic, he said it wouldn't stop him and his friends from having a go.
Instead Mr Powell said he would be more responsible and took Mr Beale's death as a warning.
On Sunday he and a few friends did some planking in local public places, but “nothing dangerous”.
“I've done some high ones, but nothing stupid,” he said.
“It's common sense to do it safely.”
The 18-year-old said one the best places he had planked in Gympie was at McDonald's.
“It's a bit of fun in a country town,” Mr Powell said.
“We're not drinking and we're not breaking stuff.”
But Officer in Charge of the Gympie Police station Acting Senior Sergeant Andrew Holding said planking was foolhardy in light of the recent planking-related death.
He encouraged people to think twice about trying the new craze even if where they intended to plank was not in a dangerous position.
“There's been no reports of planking in Gympie,” he said.
“It hasn't come to police attention, which is a very good thing.”
Snr Sgt Holding said people were open to injury if they planked.
“Don't do it at all,” he said.
“In a lot of cases it's breaking the law. Anyone caught breaking the law will be prosecuted.”
Plankers putting themselves in harm's way can be charged with unauthorised high-risk activity or if entering private property to plank, can be charged with trespassing.
Following Australia's first planking death Deputy Police Commissioner Ross Barnett has urged plankers to re-think their actions.
“Police fear that as planking gains popularity there may be more injuries and potentially further deaths,” he said.
Planking involves people lying flat on their stomach in different and often difficult locations, and photos of the most dangerous positions are the most applauded.
Deputy Commissioner Barnett said people were trying to out-do each other by planking in precarious positions that put them at risk.
Police would not tolerate people putting their own or others' lives at risk.
“But no penalty will ever return this young man to his family and friends,” he said.
“This is a tragedy and our condolences go to the family.”
Last week, a man was charged after he trespassed on police property in order to plank across the back of a police car.
“If other people break the law during this activity they will be charged as well,” Deputy Commissioner Barnett said.
“Accepting a risk of injury for yourself is one thing, but the potential is there for others to be injured as a result of your behaviour.”
A debate about planking has started on the internet since Mr Beale's death and internet trolls have defaced Mr Beale's memorial Facebook site with comments both for and against planking.