Appledore RNLI involved in multi-agency rescue after a man fell over the cliffs
Just before 10.30pm on the evening of Saturday 22 June 2019, Appledore RNLI were asked by Falmouth Coastguard to launch both lifeboats to an incident below the cliffs at Westward Ho!, the Abbotsham side of Seafield House.
Four men were in the field at the top of the cliff, when one fell over the top. The cliffs are around 100 foot high and he is thought to have tumbled down the first part and then fallen the remaining 30 foot where the rocks are sheer. The tide was high and the casualty was laying at the water’s edge. Police, Ambulance, Fire and Coastguard services were also tasked.
The Appledore’s inshore lifeboat was on scene first whilst the coastguard team were at the top of the cliff setting up for a full rope rescue. The lifeboat got onto the rocky shoreline and two of the lifeboat crew, both with casualty care training, managed to wade over the rocks to the casualty’s aid. His three friends were aiding the casualty after making their way along the beach, scrabbling over rocks and through rock pools to help, having accessed a way down just further along the cliff.
Within five minutes the Coastguard helicopter arrived, the casualty was placed on a stretcher and airlifted to Bideford Rugby Ground where the casualty was transferred to the Devon Air Ambulance and flown straight to Derriford Hospital.
As it was high tide, the smaller Y boat which is housed within the All-weather lifeboat was then used to collect the casualty’s friends, cold and very wet, from the beach and take them back to Appledore Lifeboat station where they were checked over by a waiting ambulance crew and were then able to go home.
Key facts about the RNLI
The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.