Tuesday, 26 December 2006

Eastborne cliff rescue

Well, Christmas day may have been quiet for us but it was busy for Eastbourne lifeboats crew and their local Coastguard team:

"Just before 3.30 pm yesterday afternoon, Sussex Police contacted the Dover Coastguard Operations Room to alert them to a woman who was on a ledge at Beachy Head cliff near the Lloyds Watch Tower. She appeared to be stuck there.

Eastbourne Coastguard Rescue Team were called out, and began assembling their cliff gear. The Birling Gap Coastguard Rescue Team were also called out, along with the RNLI all weather and in shore lifeboats also from Eastbourne.

When the various units arrived on scene it became clear that there were two people stuck on the ledge and it was then decided that a Coastguard cliff man should be put over the cliff and their intention was to rope each stranded person and lower them to the bottom of the cliff where they could be taken safely ashore by lifeboat.

In the darkness, the individuals fortunately had torches and were able to shine a light towards their rescuers guiding the cliff man towards their position. An ambulance was also called at this time in case either person required medical attention.

The all weather lifeboat provided some lighting for the cliff man and by 5.00 p.m. this afternoon both people had been lowered to the bottom of the cliff and taken ashore to a place of safety.

Peter Legg, Senior Coastguard Watch manager at Dover Coastguard said:

'This is perhaps a slightly more unusual or energetic way to spend Christmas day afternoon than normal but were are very pleased that both people had been rescued safely without mishap and we thank all those in our teams and the RNLI volunteers for leaving their own families and turning out on this festive day. We are still trying to identify why these two people were stuck on this particular ledge, and how they got there in the first place. We are also advising individuals who may be out for a stroll and working off their festive lunches that the tops of cliffs are very slippery at present, and if walking on the beaches and around the base of cliffs then also to check tide times as it is easy to be cut off at this time of year in the gloomy conditions.'"

It pays tribute to the wonderful generosity of volunteers everywhere that these folk are willing to leave their homes and families on Christmas day to help others. So give three cheers and one cheer more!

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