Man winched to safety in dramatic rescue at Beachy Head

A MAJOR operation was launched to rescue a man who became trapped after his car went over the edge of a cliff at Beachy Head.

The Fire Service’s Technical Rescue Units were sent, along with four fire engines and an Aerial Ladder Platform, after the emergency call came in to East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service’s Mobilising and Communication Centre at 9.55pm last night, June 18.

Crew Commander David Nichols explained that crews had to act quickly at this fast-paced incident. Factors which had to be considered at the scene included a rapidly rising tide and the safety of both the casualty and the emergency services, who worked closely together from the moment they arrived at the scene.

He said: “We checked the tide times en route and knew that it was coming in and were told that it would be high tide at 11.30pm. When we arrived at the scene we went to the cliff’s edge and could see the car on the beach on its roof.

“The ambulance crew were treating the casualty and the water line was around three metres behind the vehicle, which put pressure on us to get the casualty out fast. When we arrived on the shoreline we were told by the paramedics that they wanted the casualty out quickly. He was on oxygen and conscious as we dug away some of the pebble next to one of the side windows. We were speaking to the gentleman all the time and managed to get him out via the side window.

“Ambulance crews stabilised him on the beach where a coastguard team set-up a recovery stretcher. The casualty was then winched up the cliff and taken away to hospital by ambulance.”

Once the casualty had been safely removed from the beach the Technical Rescue Unit crew from Lewes were tasked with job of moving the vehicle further up the beach, away from the rising tide, so that it could then be recovered by the police.

Crew Commander Nichols added: “All the emergency services worked extremely well together in this dynamic situation. Everyone got heavily involved with the rescue and recovery, resulting in the successful conclusion of the casualty being airlifted to hospital.”