Ollie Daniel: Cairngorms climber tells how he fell 800ft and survived

Mr Daniel was leading a party of three in a white-out when he stepped over the edge of a cliff

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The Independent Online

A climber who survived a 800ft fall from a Scottish mountain after he stepped over the edge of a cliff has told how he feels lucky to be alive.

Ollie Daniel, 25, was walking in the Coire Sputan Dearg area of the Southern Cairngorms in a white-out when the accident happened at around 3.30pm on Sunday.

He was with two other men, including his father, when he fell. They raised the alarm and a major rescue operation was launched.

Mr Daniel, from Cambridge, was found three hours later by mountain rescue at around 6.30pm and airlifted to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.

He suffered nine broken ribs, a broken wrist, liver and lung injuries, as well as cuts and bruises.

“We were navigating in near zero visibility in a white-out,” he told BBC Scotland.

“As I was navigating I put my foot out and onto nothing, and fell down about 800ft of sheer cliff. You figure you have had it.

“You could not reasonably expect to fall down that cliff and survive, then mountain rescue to find me and rescue me. It's credit to them.”

He said that he slid part of the way while at other times he was free falling.

“There was one really big hit, that seems to have done most of the damage,” he said. “It felt like I was falling for quite a long time before it stopped.”

When he finally did, Mr Daniel was able to find a more sheltered spot and take cover in his sleeping bag while he waited for help to arrive.

His father James Daniel added: “We were walking in a three, Ollie was at the front and I was at the back. He put his foot down, let out a shout, and disappeared.”

The rescue operation involved Braemar, Police Scotland and Aberdeen Mountain Rescue Teams.

Police Scotland said Mr Daniel was evacuated by stretcher in “challenging conditions”, then airlifted to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary by a Royal Air Force rescue helicopter.

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