The Prime Minister has joined police in urging people to take care when participating in the latest internet craze of “planking”.

The comments follow the weekend death of a Brisbane man who fell while attempting planking.

By Andrew Cook.


Twenty-year-old Acton Beale fell seven stories from his Kangaroo Point apartment after attempting to balance on a five-centimetre-wide balcony railing.

He was “planking”, which involves having your photo taken when lying face-down in dangerous or unusual locations.

The craze has grown rapidly in the past week, the number of visits to Planking Australia’s Facebook page tripled in days.

But police say Beale’s death has realised their worst fears. Even the Prime Minister is telling plankers to be careful.

Julia Gillard, Prime Minister: “Well I guess there’s a difference between a harmless bit of fun done somewhere that’s really safe and taking a risk worth your life.”

Tributes are being posted on Facebook for planking’s first victim but some are using the opportunity to abuse those taking part.

Dr Stephen Harrington, QUT Media Lecturer: “The thing with Facebook and other forms of social media is that they’re a very raw, unmediated, uncontrolled communications environment. So whenever you’ve got that sort of thing happening you’re always going to have people who use it inappropriately.”

Before Beale’s death, few people had even heard of “planking”. Now everyone has an opinion.

Vox 1: “Planking? I’ve got a few friends doing it but I read in the paper that someone died doing it. So if it’s going to be that dangerous why bother?”

Vox 2: “It’s not that funny. It just doesn’t make any sense.”

Vox 3: “If you do it safely: nothing wrong with it. It’s the people that take it to the limit and put themselves at risk.”

Police Say while planking isn’t illegal, they do intend to charge people caught planking in dangerous locations.

Andrew Cook, QUT News.