Brave man climbs cliff to help car fall victim

Harriet and David Pacey SUS-150611-114756001
Harriet and David Pacey SUS-150611-114756001

An ex-army commando who witnessed the car cliff plunge last week has spoken about the moment he climbed 400ft down the cliff edge to help save the man who was trapped inside.

David Pacey, who spent 14 years in the armed forces, was walking his dog with his wife Harriet on Beachy Head when the car came hurtling over the Downs and over the cliff.

Harriet told the Gazette, “At first I thought someone was off-roading and then we realised what was happening.”

David wasted no time and climbed down the cliff as his terrified wife called the emergency services.

David, who is first aid trained, said, “I guess I was the right person at the right time.

“My initial thoughts were, if that was my wife or one of my family members in that car I would want someone to help them.

“I knew that I had a ten minute window to get there and administer first aid – in case he had stopped breathing or was bleeding. I knew I needed to stop that within ten minutes at the most.

“The quickest way, was down the cliff, so I quickly planned out a route and was down to the beach within about five minutes.”

David bravely climbed down on the cliff ledges to reach the car.

He added, “I approached with care because I knew there was a chance the car could explode. “

David quickly realised the man was alive and called up to his wife so she could inform the emergency services. The man spoke to David as he stayed with him until the emergency service reached him.

He said, “I made a conscious decision not to move him to reduce the risk of spinal injury. If the car had caught fire I would have had no option but to get him out of the car as quickly as possible.”

Harriet added, “When the emergency services arrived they were shocked he had climbed down the cliff.”

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