Coastguard teams stretcher crashed paraglider to safety


Newhaven and Birling Gap Coastguards were tasked with rescuing a paraglider who had crashed on Peacehaven beach last weekend.

A call was received at 9.37am on Sunday, May 24 to say a paraglider had crashed on the beach approximately 150 metres east of the eastern end of the promenade.

Police and paramedics were already on scene when the coastguard teams arrived, and an air ambulance was just preparing to land.

Newhaven Lifeboat, which had just launched for its Sunday morning exercise, was also requested to attend but was soon stood down as it appeared it was not needed.

The paraglider was loaded onto the Newhaven Coastguards’ cliff rescue stretcher and carried across the rocks by members of the coastguard teams and paramedics.

By this time, the Ambulance Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) had arrived and rigged a basic rope system to prevent the stretcher falling as the coastguard and ambulance teams used a technique called the Caterpillar to get the paraglider up the steep steps to where an ambulance was waiting.

The coastguard teams stood down and doctors from the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) returned to their air ambulance, which had not been used as it was not thought the paraglider’s injuries were serious.

In light of the incident, a spokesperson for the Newhaven Coastguard said: “Members of the public increased the risk to our teams, the paraglider and themselves by standing on the cliff edge, directly above the incident, to try and see what was going on.

“By doing so, they increased the risk of knocking stones and dirt from the cliff onto the rescue teams below.”