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VIDEO: Man was ‘a finger’s grip away from death’ after Arbroath cliffs fall

The rescue on Sunday. Images: Wallace Ferrier and HM Coastguard.
The rescue on Sunday. Images: Wallace Ferrier and HM Coastguard.

The coastguard has revealed how a man was a “finger’s grip away from plunging to almost certain death” after a fall at Arbroath cliffs.

Emergency services, including lifeboats and a helicopter, went to the scene at Seaton on Sunday evening after receiving reports of a man being injured.

The Courier previously reported how the casualty was eventually helped to safety and taken to hospital for treatment.

But now the coastguard has released a video of the rescue – and revealed just how perilous the man’s position was as he clung to the cliffs before being saved.

In a blog post, the emergency service shared a video of the incident and said: “It was a race against time to rescue him.

“Teams from Arbroath, Dundee and Stonehaven were sent to the scene at Dickmont’s Den, alongside the RNLI Arbroath lifeboats and the search and rescue helicopter from Inverness.

“They found a cold and tired man in a desperate situation, a finger’s grip away from plunging to almost certain death.

“A helicopter rescue was quickly deemed too dangerous due to the downdraft, which could have had enough force to dislodge the man from his position, and so the teams geared up to carry out a technical rope rescue.”

The man was struggling to hold on, and it was a long way to fall… the teams knew they had to get to him and quickly

Coastguard officer David Kerr

David Kerr, senior coastal operations officer, says it was a “close call” for the man – whose identity and age has not been confirmed.

He said: “[The man] was struggling to hold on, and it was a long way to fall. The teams knew they had to get to him and quickly. It was a tough rope rescue in darkness on a steep and crumbling cliff.

“It goes to show how quickly a nice winter walk can turn sour, one decision and suddenly the man found himself gripping on for life. It really can happen that easily and to anyone.”

He says the casualty and his companion were well prepared by wearing the right winter gear and having mobile phones that were fully charged.

Coastguard rescue teams at Arbroath cliffs on Sunday. Image: Wallace Ferrier.

But he added: “The cliffs in that area are particularly loose and it can be very easy to end up in a difficult situation.

“So we do ask people to stay well back, the cliffs around the UK are continually eroding and can become unsteady at any time.”

HM Coastguard is encouraging members of the public to familiarise themselves with safety advice for when visiting coastal areas.

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