Planking teen regrets railway stunt

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Planking on a railway line was a
Planking on a railway line was a

A Tauranga Boys' College student who was pictured on Facebook planking on a railway track has spoken of his regret over the incident.

The picture of Reid Moodie, 15, was posted online after the planking incident on The Strand on Friday.

Today, Reid told the Bay of Plenty Times he would not be planking again after having "a bit of a talking to" by his step-mother after she learned of the stunt, part of a worldwide craze which has caused at least one death.

He said the stunt had been a "calculated risk".

"We were just hanging out and then we thought we would take the mickey out of it."

The stunt has been branded as "inconceivable" by Tauranga city councillor Tony Christiansen, who lost both legs in a shunting accident on railway tracks at Te Maunga at the age of 9.

"Just the mere fact of someone going on a railway line is crazy. It's inconceivable why people think they are invincible.

"It's not the mere fact of doing it, it's what if you got trapped, what if you got your foot stuck?

"Why would you even bother?"

Mr Christiansen believed planking was a craze which had got out of hand, and feared there could be a death in New Zealand.

"I was fortunate to survive, I'm one of the lucky ones should you have a horrific accident in your life, to survive it. Things like these people are doing are not accidents, they are on purpose.

"That's the bit I have a problem with, because they have a choice. Life's got enough risks as it is without having to do things like that, all for what?"

Reid's step-mother Vanessa Moodie told the Bay of Plenty Times she was shocked to learn of the planking incident and couldn't believe it when she saw the photo.

"It's a bit of a cliche but I would never have expected him to be doing that, even though you see it on the news. I was completely shocked, I honestly was."

Mrs Moodie said she had spoken to Reid about the death of an Australian man while planking.

"He thought that was terrible but I don't think he realises that relationship [that the same thing could have happened to him]. I'm not really sure that he realises the extent of the whole situation. Accidents do happen."

Mrs Moodie said the incident had attracted plenty of attention on Facebook.

"I think some of it is teenage boys showing off. He had a lot of people 'liking' it on his status, and lots of people commenting which is always encouraging for them."

She was not sure if the photo was still up on Facebook.

Tauranga Boys' College principal Robert Mangan said his school had tried to play down the planking craze so as not to escalate the competition.

However, he would look into the issue further at school today and would have a discussion with Reid and his parents about his actions.

"I am concerned about the behaviour and the danger the young man may have placed himself in."

The photograph was the latest in a series of planking stunts - and not the first to involve children lying on a railway line. A school pupil was filmed stretched across Middlemore Station in South Auckland while a train was approaching.

Secondary Principals Association president Patrick Walsh said the principal of a school near the station had told him about the incident.

"It was captured on a cellphone by another student and reported to the principal, who brought the student in and spoke to the parents."

The student had been disciplined.

Mr Walsh said at least four principals had contacted him about dangerous planking by pupils, including on the crossbar of rugby goalposts.

He had advised schools of the dangers of the fad and although he was not aware of anyone suffering injuries yet, he said: "I'm really concerned it's going to happen.

Mr Walsh said principals were not opposed to planking per se but the more dangerous the planking episode, the more kudos the students gained.

Students caught performing dangerous acts could face suspension.

Rail safety campaigner and former cricket star Chris Cairns, whose sister Louise died in 1993 when a truck drove into a train she was travelling on, has added his warning.

"I am just speechless to hear about such utter stupidity. These kids need to get real and understand that the rail corridor is no place to be."

The planking trend came into the spotlight last week after an Australian man fell from the verandah of a high-rise apartment in Brisbane while planking.

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