Winched to safety... dramatic moment woman rescued after falling 50ft from north coast cliff
This is the dramatic moment a young woman was rescued after plummeting 50 feet off a cliff.
The images capture the massive operation involved after the woman fell as she walked along the top of cliffs between Ballycastle and Ballintoy at a Causeway Coast beauty spot known as Portaneevy Viewpoint picnic area. The incident happened at around 2.30am yesterday.
The alarm was raised hours later when a woman noticed a car parked close to Carrick-a-rede rope bridge.
A man helped in the hunt for the driver and soon spotted a woman, thought to be in her 20s, at the bottom of a nearby cliff. He called out to her before alerting the Coastguard at around 9.04am.
Coastguard watch manager for Northern Ireland and the west coast of Scotland, Ian Murdock, revealed that a massive rescue operation ensued that involved Ballycastle and Coleraine Coastguard, Portrush all-weather lifeboat, police, the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service and a Royal Navy rescue helicopter from Scotland.
He said: "When we got to her she had been there for hours at the bottom of the cliff and, despite being in shock, she was conscious and stable.
"A cliff technician made his way down the cliff and tended to her until a paramedic and rescue helicopter arrived. She has broken bones and injuries to her arm, elbow, pelvis and legs. She is also suffering the effects of hypothermia. She is a very lucky girl to have survived a fall like that."
The woman was airlifted to the Causeway Hospital in Coleraine, where she arrived shortly before 11am and is now said to be "stable".
"It was a very difficult, tense and precarious operation because the rock face was unstable and inaccessible but it was also a very successful one because we saved a life. Unfortunately our colleague, Gordon Monroe, who was overseeing the operation also injured himself when he fell over a fence. It's just a sprained ankle though and he is OK... this sort of thing comes with the job," he added.
Mr Murdock stressed how important it is that people are aware of the dangers of walking along the cliff-tops, particularly in the dark and during bad weather.