13-year-old boy rescued from perilous cliff face in Langdon today (with footage)

This is the moment that our HM Coastguard Lydd helicopter swooped in to save a 13 year old boy, who was desperately clinging on by his fingernails to a perilous 300ft sheer cliff face in Langdon earlier today.

The young boy had started climbing the 300ft high cliff from a terrace cut into the middle of the cliff and was some 175ft from the bottom of the cliff when he became stuck, unable to move up or down.   

The incident unfolded just after 11.10am today (11 May) when HM Coastguard was alerted to the boy’s desperate plight.  They immediately sprung into action by sending the Deal, Folkestone and Langdon Bay Coastguard Rescue Teams and the HM Coastguard search and rescue helicopter based at Lydd to the scene.

In an operation that took only minutes Winchman, Rob Chambers was lowered to the young boy on a 200ft wire, and they were then both lowered to the base of cliff to safety. 

HM Coastguard helicopter Captain James Lorraine said:  ‘Today’s rescue was particularly difficult in view of the extremely perilous position the young boy was in.  We knew he couldn’t hold on for much longer as he’d already been there for around 30 minutes.  Coastguard Rescue Teams on scene were unable to reach him safely due to the dense shrubbery so we knew then that it was down to us and we only had minutes to spare.  Our Winchman Rob Chambers was winched down to the casualty, whilst we stayed at an increased height to avoid endangering the young boy with the helicopter’s intense downwash.  Thankfully, the rescue went smoothly and the boy was reunited with his family at the base of the cliff.  Despite the youngster’s ordeal he thankfully escaped with only minor scrapes and bruises.  Our grateful thanks go out to the Coastguard Rescue Teams for their support during this tense operation.’

Matt Pavitt, Coastal Operations Area Commander who was on scene said it was a miracle that the boy had escaped without injury.  ‘He was very, very lucky,’ said Matt.  ‘The boy had been clinging on by his fingernails to stop himself from falling from the sheer rock face for just over 30 minutes and if he had let go this would have been a very different outcome.   It only took minutes once the helicopter arrived and in those few minutes we all held our breath that the boy would hold on for a few more minutes.  This rescue has had a very happy ending which we are all extremely thankful for. We would like take this opportunity to remind people to be cliff aware when visiting the coast.  If you see anyone in danger, or witness someone who has fallen, call 999 immediately and ask for the Coastguard.  Do not attempt to rescue them yourself.’

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