VIDEO: Woman rescued by helicopter as waves smash rocky outcrop

Small video (inset) courtesy of Heidi Westbrook. 
Main video: MCA

Coastguard officers have warned of the deceptive nature of our tides, following a dramatic helicopter rescue that ‘could have spelled tragedy’ on the North Cornish coast.

HM Coastguard was called to Newquay’s Tolcarne Beach on Sunday to urgently help a woman cut off by the tide and stranded on a rocky outcrop.

The Newquay Coastguard Rescue Team and Newquay RNLI lifeboats were sent to help but, as the waves smashed relentlessly into the rocks she was cowering on, it became apparent the search and rescue helicopter from Newquay was needed to get her to safety.

While the lifeboat crew helped from the water, and the coastguard rescue team kept watch from the top of the cliff, the helicopter arrived to help.
The crew were able to winch the woman off the outcrop to the beach, she was checked over by Ambulance and Coastguard paramedics before transferring her to the helicopter.

Coastal Operations Area Commander for Cornwall, Martin Leslie, said the woman had been out for a walk along the coast from holiday accommodation when the tide had started to come in.

The Newquay helicopter winched her from her precarious position on the rocks                       Credit: Friends of Portheras Cove

“It can happen so quickly,” he said. “But the swell was also particularly large so if you get caught out by the tide, it can be very treacherous.

“I’ve seen the video and that large wave that hits them both could have spelled tragedy – the winchman secured her just before that and, if he hadn’t, well...It’s better not to consider the alternative.”

He said that the area had some stunning scenery and rightly drew in crowds to enjoy it, particularly after a period of sunny, dry spring weather, but added that knowledge of what to do if you find yourself in trouble, is key.

“She rang the police, who then called us,” Martin said. “We’re very glad she did - it is a great example of a multi-agency rescue, where we worked with the police to locate her and bring her to safety.

“She did a lot right, but remember, if you’re in trouble at the coasts – call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.”

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