Donate now

Tombstoner at Flamborough cliffs

Would you jump off a cliff if your friends told you to? That’s exactly what one man did in October at a notorious part of the East Yorkshire coast.

Flamborough tombstoner in trouble

After a dare from his mates, a man jumped from the cliff top into the sea at North Landing, near Flamborough. He cleared the rocks at the base of the cliff. He landed in deep water, thanks to the high tide.

It turned out that getting down was the easy part; getting back out proved trickier.

In a mass of confused seas at the bottom of the cliff, and in a swell of 1.5m, he couldn’t swim to the shore. He struggled to reach the cliff to climb out. Undercurrents and backwash hampered his progress.

Time to call 999 and ask for the Coastguard

Thankfully, one of the group at the top of the cliff did have the sense to call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.

Helm Stuart Cross had been planning a surfing session that afternoon, to make the most of the big surf. When he got paged and heard there was a man in the water at North Landing, he knew it was serious: ‘An urgency came to us all. North Landing was facing into the swell coming from the north. We needed to get to him as quick as we could.’

Crew Member Tom Moate was already at the station, kitted up and getting the inshore lifeboat Elizabeth Jane Palmer ready to go. The Lifeboat Operations Manager Captain David Freeman gave Stuart a briefing as the helm got changed. They decided to just go with the next two crew members who turned up, without delay – Rob Mitchell and Andria Donnison.