Coastguards detail cliff-hanger rescue

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Coastguards have described a cliff-hanger rescue when they saved a man from falling as he held on to a 60ft overhang in Dorset by his fingertips.

The man had climbed up from the beach with a friend but got stuck near the top of the cliff at Osmington Mills.

The Coastguard helicopter winched him to safety because rescuers felt they didn't have time to use their usual technique of abseiling to the man.

A Portland Coastguard spokesman said: "This gentleman really was hanging by his fingertips.

"Had the Coastguard helicopter not arrived on scene so quickly, the outcome could have been very different - a very lucky man."

He was lifted unhurt on to the coast path to be checked over by Wyke Coastguard rescue officers and a paramedic from South Western Ambulance Service. The fire service was also on the scene.

The spokesman added: "It's not a normal climbing area so we would assume they had been walking along the beach and decided to free climb up instead of going along the beach to get back up.

"His friend made it but he couldn't get up from the top. He got at least 50ft up but when he got nearer the top it's probably quite crumbly with an overhang that he couldn't get over and his friend couldn't reach him to help.

"The helicopter was minutes away. They felt time was of the essence because it was pretty precarious - he could have done some damage if he had gone down. It's pretty steep.

"They would normally use stakes and ropes and abseil down but they didn't feel they had time to do that."