Lucky escape as walker rescued from cliff face

A walker has had a lucky escape this week, after HM Coastguard teams rescued him from a cliff face in Scotland.

Coastguard Rescue Teams rushed to his aid at Seaton cliffs in Arbroath with the man clinging on, after his companion called 999. He was approximately 10 metres from the top and in a precarious position 
– and slipping.

It was a race against time to rescue him. Teams from Arbroath, Dundee and Stonehaven were sent to the scene at Dickmont’s Den, alongside the RNLI Arbroath lifeboats and the search and rescue helicopter from Inverness.

They found a cold and tired man in a desperate situation, a finger’s grip away from plunging to almost certain death. A helicopter rescue was quickly deemed too dangerous due to the downdraft, which could have had enough force to dislodge the man from his position, and so the teams geared up to carry out a technical rope rescue.

         đŸ”‡ Video has no sound


David Kerr, Senior Coastal Operations Officer, said: “It was a close call – he was struggling to hold on, and it was a long way to fall. The teams knew they had to get to him and quickly. It was a tough rope rescue in darkness on a steep and crumbling cliff.

“It goes to show how quickly a nice winter walk can turn sour, one decision and suddenly the man found himself gripping on for life. It really can happen that easily and to anyone.

“They were well prepared with the right gear and fully charged mobile phones – they did the right thing in calling for help.

"The cliffs in that area are particularly loose and it can be very easy to end up in a difficult situation. So we do ask people to stay well back, the cliffs around the UK are continually eroding and can become unsteady at any time."

Safety tips from HM Coastguard:
  • Make sure that you are aware of your surroundings.
  • Stay on official paths, whether they are temporary or permanent and take notice of warning signs.
  • If you see a crack in a cliff, don’t be tempted to take a closer look to investigate or take pictures.
  • Make sure that you are properly equipped for walking along coastal paths. In particular remember to wear sturdy shoes or boots and check the weather forecast and tidal times before you set out.
  • Carry a mobile phone, and tell someone where you are going and what time you will be home.
  • Do not attempt to climb up or down cliffs. 
  • Do not attempt to climb cliffs as a short cut back to the top and do not attempt to self-rescue you or your dog if you get into difficulty.
  • If you find yourself in trouble, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard
Rope rescues tend to be used to rescue people from places the helicopter cannot reach            
Picture: Lee Crumpler

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