Helicopter called in to rescue man from face of cliff

LIFEBOAT crews and the coastguard helicopter were involved in a rescue at the weekend after a man was heard crying for help on a ledge down Beachy Head.

The 33-year-old was found halfway down the 500ft cliffs at around 9.30am on Sunday (February 27).

It is thought he had been on the ledge for several hours before lifeboat volunteers heard his shouts and saw him waving.

The alarm was raised earlier that morning after police and Dover Coastguard received reports that a Range Rover had left the road and turned over at Beachy Head on the slopes leading down to Cow Gap.

No-one was in the severely damaged vehicle, which appeared to have rolled down the hill.

Eastbourne’s RNLI crew undertook a shoreline search of the cliffs and heard ‘frantic’ cries for help to the west of the vehicle’s location.

Crew members saw a man, later found to be the driver of the over-turned car, on the cliffs around 200ft up from the beach, opposite the Beachy Head Pub.

The lifeboat crew then directed the coastguards to the casualty.

Coastguard cliffman Tony Brinnand was lowered down the cliff to the casualty where he secured him and provided medical assistance.

The man was conscious with no obvious major injuries,but was very cold.

The coastguard helicopter was also called to the scene from its base at Lee-on-Solent and local coastguard cliff rescue teams were mobilised.

The casualty was winched from the cliffs into the helicopter and transferred to Eastbourne DGH.

Stuart McNab, Eastbourne coastguard officer, said, “While it is unclear exactly how the man ended up on the cliff some distance from the vehicle, the apparent extent of his injuries suggest that he may have climbed up the cliff to that position rather than have fallen in that location.”

Inspector Lee Lyons, divisional duty inspector for East Sussex, said, “This is an extremely unusual incident.

“We need to speak to him to establish exactly what happened as the details are not clear at the moment.

“We are keen to hear from any witnesses who saw what happened.”

Anyone with information is asked to call Sussex Police on 0845 60 70 999, quoting serial 0347 of February 27.