Belfast Telegraph

Rescue drama as ill man is airlifted from Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge

By Nevin Farrell

A rescue helicopter airlifted a 63-year-old from the island at Carrick-a-Rede yesterday after ambulance personnel decided not to attempt to carry the ill man on a stretcher across the world famous rope bridge.

The drama unfolded early in the afternoon, when the man who's thought to be from the north Antrim area, "collapsed and was being sick" after he crossed the vertigo-inducing bridge which links the Northern Ireland mainland to the small island.

It was unclear how the man fell ill but in the past people have been known to take sick at the thought of having to make their way back across the bridge.

A rescue helicopter was tasked from the HMS Gannet base in Prestwick in Scotland and after crossing the North Channel it was able to take the man to the Causeway Hospital in Coleraine, where a spokeswoman said last night he had been "treated and discharged".

It is understood the rope bridge was closed for a period yesterday afternoon and other visitors to the island were evacuated to facilitate the arrival of the helicopter.

Jake Hill, a Watch Officer at the Bangor-based Belfast Maritime Rescue Co-Ordination Centre, said: "We received a request from the National Trust warden who takes care of the bridge for the Coastguard to attend after a man had gone over to the island and was being sick.

"Northern Ireland Ambulance Service was requested and once they got to the scene they decided it would be more prudent to take the man off the island by helicopter rather than by a stretcher across the bridge.

"We had a Coastguard team from Ballycastle on the island to assist and Rescue Helicopter 177 from Prestwick came over and took the casualty to Causeway Hospital where Coleraine Coastguard team had prepared the landing area."

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