Belfast Telegraph

Wheelchair user rescued after slipping off cliff path

HM Coastguard and Fire and Rescue Service were quickly on scene and were able to secure the man, who was still in his wheelchair, to prevent him sliding further on to rocks below. (stock photo)
HM Coastguard and Fire and Rescue Service were quickly on scene and were able to secure the man, who was still in his wheelchair, to prevent him sliding further on to rocks below. (stock photo)

By Staff Reporter

A disabled man had a "miraculous" escape after his motorised wheelchair slipped off a Co Antrim cliff path.

He had been navigating a narrow lane near the Giant's Causeway when the wheels of his device lost traction, causing him to plummet down a steep embankment on Friday evening.

"Luckily it came to rest after a short distance in thick brambles," a Coastguard spokesperson said.

HM Coastguard and Fire and Rescue Service were quickly on scene and were able to secure the man, who was still in his wheelchair, to prevent him sliding further on to rocks below.

The operation to recover the helpless man was described as "delicate" as rescuers faced the daunting challenge of untangling him from the 140kg wheelchair.

"Moreover, the lack of any suitable hold-fasts meant that Coastguard rope rescue equipment would need to be deployed from the top of the 150ft cliff above the path," the spokesperson added.

"A Coastguard rope rescue technician was lowered from the cliff top, through thick brambles and vegetation, and prepared the trapped man for recovery."

The man escaped uninjured while his wheelchair was found to be in working order when it was recovered, and he steered himself to an ambulance.

Alistair Simpson from Coleraine Coastguard said it is the first time his crew has ever rescued a person in a wheelchair.

"He was in extremely good form after it," he said. "He was very thankful for his rescue, (the fall) wasn't going to stop him."

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