Police investigation as car plunges 400ft over Beachy Head

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Police are expected to name later today the man who after driving his car over cliffs at Beachy Head on Friday evening.

The man was thrown clear of the car wreckage and initially survived with serious injuries following the dramatic plunge at around 6.30pm. However, after being airlifted to hospital, the man later died of his injuries.

Police have indicated there are no plans to recover the vehicle, which lies on rocks at the foot of the cliffs. They are now investigating how and why the car went over the cliff.

Both Eastbourne RNLI lifeboats hurried to the scene on Friday evening to rescue the driver in what were described as dreadful conditions in the face of choppy seas.

The crew, including a lifeboat doctor, were transferred to the beach below the cliffs to administer first aid.

As the tide was rising, coxswain Mark Sawyer called for the help of the Coastguard rescue helicopter.

Under the supervision of lifeboat doctor Stephen Lytton, and with the scene illuminated with flares and searchlights from the all-weather lifeboat, the casualty was moved up the beach as the tide advanced until the rescue helicopter arrived on scene.

He was transferred to the helicopter along with the lifeboat doctor and taken directly to the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton.

Mark Sawyer said he was extremely proud of the response and professionalism of his volunteer crew in what were extremely difficult conditions.

Eastbourne RNLI spokesman Bob Jeffery said: ‘The man was thrown from the vehicle and when we got there we were expecting the worst but we found he was alive and luckily we had the doctor onboard.

‘It was dreadful conditions in the dark and with a heavy surf and one crewman had to swim ashore as we could not get the inshore lifeboat in.

‘The operation took around three-and-a-half hours as the coastguard helicopter had to come back to pick up the crew who went ashore.’