Articles Exmouth RNLI volunteers rescue teenager who fell 60’ down cliff face

Exmouth RNLI volunteers rescue teenager who fell 60’ down cliff face

Exmouth RNLI volunteers rescue teenager who fell 60’ down cliff face

Inshore lifeboat George Bearman II launched at 9.48pm on 29 June to reports that a 16-year-old girl had fallen off a cliff at Orcombe Point.

Crew volunteers were on scene within eight minutes and found the casualty on a ledge, assessed her and administered initial first aid. Meanwhile, the D class lifeboat returned to station to pick up the South West Ambulance HART team and another Crew volunteer (an emergency doctor), to take them to the scene which was only accessible by water.

Back at scene, further emergency pain relief was administered and the casualty was immobilised in order to move her off the ledge. Crew volunteers carried her by stretcher down to the beach and helped winch her up to a Coastguard helicopter from St Athans. She was then transferred to Devon Air Ambulance which had landed at the town’s football pitch and they in turn, transferred her to Derriford hospital. George Bearman II recovered the HART team and Crew volunteers back to Exmouth lifeboat station and was ready for service again at 11.50pm.

Exmouth Coastguard team and Devon and Cornwall police officers were in attendance at Orcombe Point, controlling crowds which had formed and preparing a helicopter landing area on the beach, if needed.

Crew volunteer, Roger Jackson was one of the Crew volunteers first on the scene:

‘We found the girl in extreme agony, in a crumpled mess. She had been joined by a friend who had run down the steps and entered the water in order to reach her. Together they had somehow moved up to a ledge to stay higher than the tide, until help arrived. We would like to thank him for assisting her to a place of safety and saving her from a worse situation with an incoming tide. 

‘When speaking to the casualty’s friends, we understood that they had been sitting on the edge of the cliff looking at the moon over the sea. The cliff edge had crumbled under her and taken her down a vertical drop, feet first. On the way down, she had hit an overhang and then slid down straight to the bottom.

‘With the recent long warm weather, our Jurassic cliffs are very dry and prone to splitting and creating rock falls. It is not only dangerous for walkers at the top, it is also dangerous for people sitting on beaches beneath. We would encourage people not to take the risk of going near the edge – keep to the marked footpaths and enjoy our beautiful coastline from a safe distance.

‘It was a tremendous effort by all emergency services involved. Joined-up lifesaving which we can only learn by training regularly together and understanding each other’s assets.’  

Shore Crew volunteers at station waiting to hear further news of the girl

Author: Exmouth RNLI

Exmouth RNLI

Emma Tarling has been a Lifeboat Press Officer at Exmouth Lifeboat Station since May 2011. She is one of over 250 volunteers who work to raise the profile of the RNLI through the media.