A body was retrieved from the bottom of cliffs at Birling Gap yesterday evening (Wednesday, August 13).
Newhaven’s Severn Class lifeboat ‘RNLB David and Elizabeth Acland’ was on a training exercise when it received the call at 7.15pm. Initial reports suggested the person was still alive, albeit suffering from serious injuries.
As Newhaven lifeboat headed to the location at speed, three lifeboat crew were readied in dry suits and the inflatable Y-boat was prepared ready for launch. First aid equipment was double-checked and readied.
On route, further reports were received that a second person had also gone over the cliffs near where the first person had fallen but the condition of this person was unknown.
As soon as the lifeboat arrived at the scene, the Y-boat was immediately launched complete with three crew and full First Aid equipment. The Y-boat made its way close to shore through the choppy conditions.
At this time, the Police Helicopter and Coastguard Rescue Helicopter 104 arrived along with land ambulances. The Y-boat was then asked to hold a position off shore.
Shortly afterwards, at approximately 8:00pm, it was confirmed that land-based paramedics were with the casualty and the Y-boat returned to the main lifeboat, which was then stood down and returned to station. Sadly, the casualty at this time was confirmed as deceased.
Although there were reports of a second person going over the cliffs, only one body was found and recovered.
Newhaven lifeboat was then washed down, refuelled and was ready for service at 9:20pm.