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Cliff rescue after man falls near golf club in Northern Ireland

By Allan Preston

A man who slipped off a cliff at Ardglass Golf Club and had to be airlifted to safety is in a stable condition.

It's understood the 57-year-old was out walking with his family yesterday afternoon when he fell from a height on to rocks below, suffering head, neck and back injuries.

In a statement Ardglass Golf Club confirmed the man was one of its members, Sheamus Agnew, who "fell down the canyon at the second hole."

Yesterday afternoon the club sent its good wishes.

It added that Mr Agnew was "talking and moving, but has back injuries".

Last night the Belfast Health Trust confirmed Mr Agnew's injuries were not life-threatening.

A specialist team from the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service was dispatched after the alert was raised around 1.30pm.

Victor Spence, group commander, said two fire engines were mobilised from Downpatrick and Newcastle, along with a special rescue team from Belfast.

Initially he estimated the fall to have been up to 90 feet, although the Coastguard later reported a height of 40-50ft.

"They scaled down the face of the cliff," Mr Spence said.

"A male was put into a stretcher and then raised up by the rescue team.

"We worked closely with the Coastguard after he was assessed by paramedics and then airlifted to hospital."

Mr Spence added that conditions along the cliff at the time were windy.

Dawn Petrie, senior maritime operations officer for the Coastguard, said it was alerted yesterday afternoon at 2.20pm.

"We tasked Coastguard teams from Newcastle, Kilkeel and Portaferry, along with Portaferry lifeboat," she said. "Once they were on scene and assessed the man's condition along with the paramedics, they deemed that the quickest and safest way to transport him to hospital was by helicopter."

She added that by 5.30pm the helicopter - sent from Caernarvon in Wales - had landed at George Best Belfast City Airport, with an ambulance ready to take him to the Royal Victoria Hospital.

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