Climber escapes serious injury after fall in Wales (with footage)

A woman has been rescued by the UK Coastguard search and rescue helicopter from a 30 metre cliff face, near Penmorfa after falling and sustaining head and shoulder injuries.

On Sunday 28 August, a 999 call was made by climbers nearby who saw the woman fall about 10 metres whilst attempting to climb the Goth route, Craig y Gessail at Tremadoc cliffs in North Wales.

North Wales Police contacted the Aeronautical Rescue Coordination Centre (ARCC) requesting UK Coastguard helicopter assistance after receiving the 999 call which had alerted them that she was unconscious and had possibly sustained serious injuries. Abergaslyn Mountain Rescue Team were sent to the scene along with the UK Coastguard helicopter based at Caernarfon.

It appeared that the woman had lost her footing on some wet rock about 15 metres into the climb, and her first piece of protection had failed, which resulted in her falling further down the cliff.  She hit her head and shoulder on the rock face during the fall and was unconscious and dangling from the rope for a short time.

Her climbing partner/husband, who was lower down than her, was able to lower her to a ledge, tie off their ropes and then scramble up to the ledge and attend to her. By this time, she was starting to regain consciousness.

He was able to communicate with other climbers nearby who were in a position to phone the emergency services. As a result, Aberglaslyn Mountain Rescue Team arrived quickly on the scene and abseiled a crew member down to the couple. He was able to assess her condition and coordinate with the U.K. Coastguard helicopter which had already arrived.  She was then winched to safety.

The lady was taken to Bangor Hospital where she was found to have escaped serious injury. She stayed for one night for observation and was released the following morning.  

The climbing couple have passed on their sincere thanks to the Mountain Rescue Team, the helicopter crew and hospital staff.  She said of the helicopter rescue: ‘Without doubt, to reach me took incredible flying skill and dedication to fly so close to rocks and I cannot thank the crews enough for bringing me to safety.’

Captain Duncan Clarke, Search and Rescue Pilot for the UK Coastguard helicopter based at Caernarfon said:  ‘This was quite a challenging rescue, given the location of the casualty on a rock ledge and the risks of operating a helicopter close to the rock face above those involved. The skills of the Aberglaslyn Mountain Rescue team were key in the success of the operation and it was  a great example of the close working relationship between ourselves and the Mountain Rescue Teams; we’re delighted she’s made a fully recovery.’

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