Man in serious condition after cliff fall

A rescue helicopter from RAF Boulmer winches the injured man to safety after his cliff fall. Picture by John Tuttiett.
A rescue helicopter from RAF Boulmer winches the injured man to safety after his cliff fall. Picture by John Tuttiett.
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A man suffered serious injuries after falling 30ft down a cliff and onto rocks north of Whitley Bay.

A major rescue was launched just after 7.15pm yesterday (Wednesday) after reports that cries for help could be heard at the bottom of a cliff, around 400 metres north of St Mary’s Island.

Crews from Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade and Cullercoats RNLI Inshore Lifeboat were quickly at the scene to help paramedics try and reach the casualty, believed to be in his 30s.

But due to the man’s location and concerns about his well-being, three crew members on the lifeboat had to swim ashore and then climb over rocks.

They were able to give initial treatment to the man who had suffered injuries to the elbow, pelvis, back, leg and ankle while paramedics from the ambulance service’s Hazardous Area Response Team and TVLB members used rope equipment to reach the scene.

The man was then placed in a vacuum stretcher and winched from the rocks by a rescue helicopter from RAF Boulmer, who took the casualty to the RVI in Newcastle.

The three RNLI crewmen then swam back to the lifeboat and returned to their station.

TVLB captain Peter Lilley said: “The incident demonstrates the strong and close working relationship the brigade has with other emergency services, notably the crew of Cullercoats RNLI, the flight crew of RAF Rescue Helicopter 131 and the paramedics of the North East Ambulance Service’s Hazardous Area Response Team.

“The casualty was in a serious condition when the lifeboat crew first arrived but received high quality first aid care which allowed him to be extricated from the scene in a timely and safe manner.”