RNLI Whitby lifeguards help injured paraglider

Lifeguards News Release

A team of three lifeguards provided medical care for a paraglider after he crashed into a cliff above Whitby beach.

Yellow RNLI rescue board with the word Lifeguards on it. It is on a sandy beach, situated below some grassy cliffs

RNLI/Derry Salter

RNLI lifeguard board on Whitby beach below the cliffs

After a sunny morning at Whitby beach on Sunday 20 June, a 52-year-old male came into some trouble whilst paragliding. At around 2:15pm, the casualty’s paraglider turned into the wind and forced him into the steep grass cliffs. The cliffs are approximately 50m high, with the lifeguard station situated just below.

Immediately after the crash, Lifeguard Ollie Shore investigated the scene at the cliff’s edge. The casualty, although seriously injured, remained conscious. Because the experienced lifeguard suspected the casualty to be suffering from a spinal injury, the paraglider was left laying down as to not cause any further injury.

Senior Lifeguard Agustin Lanzavecchia also attended the casualty after assessing if there was any immediate danger in the area of the crash. The experienced lifeguard used the team’s ATV to reach the casualty as quickly as possible, bringing with him a crash bag. After giving the paraglider medical care, the team of two concluded that the casualty had broken his collarbone.

The third member of the lifeguard team Ben Garrett remained on the beach to continue to monitor beachgoers. An ambulance was called for the casualty straight away, who was taken to hospital.

The casualty later returned to Whitby beach yesterday (Tuesday 22 June), where he thanked the RNLI lifeguards for their assistance.

Seasonal Lifeguard Supervisor Tom Pratt, who was at the scene, praised his team’s immediate response:

‘Our team are brilliantly trained and provided the best medical care possible whilst waiting for the ambulance to arrive.

The situation involving the paraglider was unfortunate, as the weather is always unpredictable. We advise all beachgoers to check the weather conditions and wind direction when planning a trip to a RNLI lifeguarded beach.’

For more information on beach safety, please visit:


Notes to editors

Whitby Lifeguards have been operating since 2001. To learn more about the lifeguarded beach go to: https://rnli.org/find-my-nearest/lifeguarded-beaches/whitby-beach

Seasonal Lifeguard Supervisor Tom Pratt is available for interview.

Photo Credit

RNLI/Derry Salter

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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.

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