A tourist slipped and plunged 120ft off a sheer cliff and was saved by landing in four feet of water, with rescuers saying it’s a ‘miracle’ he survived.
The 28-year-old man had reportedly gotten too close to the edge while taking a selfie at Old Harry Rocks, near Swanage, Dorset, when he lost his footing on Saturday afternoon. The five friends he was with looked on in horror as the unnamed name disappeared over the precipice and plunged towards the bottom. Luckily, a group of kayakers witnessed the incident and paddled towards the man, who had landed in shallow water. They helped him on to the rocky shore at the foot of the chalk cliff and gave him first aid.
The man was conscious and talking and was said to have suffered only cuts and bruises, despite falling from such a great height. The inshore Swanage lifeboat arrived at the scene and placed the man on a stretcher before ferrying him to the all-weather lifeboat. He was taken to the Swanage lifeboat station where an ambulance rushed met rescuers to rush the man to hospital to check for internal injuries.
Ian Brown, of the Swanage lifeboat, said it was a miracle that man was not killed, saying: ‘I honestly don’t know how he is still alive today. ‘It is a sheer drop of anywhere between 90ft to 120ft there. The tide was in at the time and he landed in the water. ‘It wouldn’t have been that deep, probably four feet at most.
‘He is incredibly lucky to have suffered relatively minor injuries. Apparently he was conscious and talking and was fine. His injuries were reported to have been cuts and bruises.’The emergency was attended by both Swanage lifeboats, the Swanage at St Albans coastguard teams, the South Wester Ambulance service and the air ambulance.
‘It was an accident and he must have hit the water which saved him. It is amazing,’ Becky Mack, the Swanage lifeboat helm, said. ‘The kayakers and a boat near to the scene were waving at us to indicate the casualty location. ‘We immediately went ashore and carried out an assessment of the casualty and made plans to evacuate them.
‘He was really fortunate that the kayakers were close by and that they were able to help so quickly,’ Mack said. ‘We think they helped him out of the water and on to the shore. ‘He was alert and conscious. He was talking and was calm. ‘The casualty was handed over to waiting paramedics and we hope they he’ll make a full recovery.’
The man and his five friends from the London area were visiting the beauty spot of Old Harry Rocks between Studland and Swanage on Saturday.
Lisa Andrews, who was nearby when the man fell, said a witness had told her he had been posing for a selfie when he slipped. ‘Apparently people were warning him he was too close. I really hope he is OK,’ she said. ‘We are seeing a lot of people get too close to the edge there to take selfies all the time,’ Mr Brown said.
‘The cliffs there are very crumbly and our advice to anyone is to stand at least five metres back.