Girl, 6, survives with 'bumps and bruises' after falling 150ft down cliff

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The Independent Online

Demi-Leigh Tweddle was playing with her three-year-old sister Ellie when she slipped down the cliff at Filey, North Yorkshire. The younger daughter ran to get her parents in a nearby caravan park, and her father Lee scrambled down to his unconscious daughter while her distraught mother Susan, 32, dialled 999.

Lee, a 28-year-old builder, said: "How I got down that cliff I genuinely don't know. No one could believe that she was all right after a fall like that, even the doctors were astonished."

"This girl is a miracle child. She must be made of rubber to have survived a fall of this height," said Mark Clark of the Maritime & Coastguard Agency. "We understand the girl suffered just bumps and bruises."

Humber coastguards were the first to respond to the call, arriving to find Demi-Leigh suffering from head injuries at the bottom of the cliff next to the Blue Dolphin Caravan Park, where the family from Middlesbrough were staying.

They called for a helicopter from RAF Leconfield as well as the Scarborough Coastguard Rescue Team to attend the incident just after 5.30pm on Thursday.

RAF squadron leader Dirk Ransome said that the youngster, who soon regained consciousness, had plummeted half way down 300ft cliffs. They lowered down a paramedic-trained winchman and lifted up the youngster in a stretcher.

He added: "Four minutes later she was in Scarborough hospital A&E. It was a difficult rescue because of the sheer distance we had to winch her. She has done very well to have sustained such minor injuries. That is a dangerous stretch of cliffs. We are called out there half-a-dozen times a year."

Demi-Leigh regained consciousness in hospital, where doctors said she suffered cuts and bruises, and was discharged yesterday.

A North Yorks police spokesman said: "She is now sitting up in bed and recovering well."

Mike Puplett, watch manager at Humber Coastguard, said: "This accident demonstrates the need for constant vigilance when near to cliff edges.

"While the views in this location are magnificent, they are better viewed from a safe distance. Unfortunately, the family will remember their holiday for all the wrong reasons.

"The father's actions to go down the cliff were entirely understandable but we would caution against taking such risks."