Watch: 70ft mud cliff rescue at Stair Hole, Dorset

A man was rescued by HM Coastguard on Saturday afternoon after he became stuck while trying to climb a cliff.

The man and a friend attempted to climb the cliff, but it soon became clear that it was far too dangerous and they were not capable or prepared. One of the men was able to clamber back down, the other found himself in a seriously perilous position. He was completely stuck, 70ft up on an extremely slippery and muddy slope, with no safe way of getting back down or to the top of the cliff.

HM Coastguard was called by Dorset & Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service who received the initial 999 call.

Lulworth and Kimmeridge coastguard rescue teams, who are cliff rescue specialists, were sent and joined fire units from Weymouth, Wareham and Poole.

It was quickly established that the safest option would be for the man to be winched off the cliff by helicopter.

The St Athan coastguard helicopter was training in North Devon and sent to the man’s aid. When they arrived, the helicopter’s winch paramedic was carefully lowered to the man. He was secured in a harness before they were winched a short distance to the top of the cliff, says the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

Although cold and visibly shocked, he was checked over by the winch paramedic and otherwise well, so he was able to make his own way home.

“The man was extremely lucky, one wrong footing and this could have had a very different outcome,” says Matt West, duty controller for HM Coastguard. “We are fortunate to have really beautiful coastlines all around the UK, but we want people to enjoy them and then make it home safely. Please don’t take unnecessary risks and know your limits while visiting the coast.

“Remember, if you see someone in difficulty along the coast or at sea call 999 and ask for the Coastguard to save valuable time.”

Social media commentators have suggested that the man pay for his rescue, calling the actions ‘lockdown lunacy’. One says: ‘I guess he couldn’t read the big signs there saying not to climb the cliffs’ while others have called him a ‘fool’, ‘prat’ and ‘muppet’.

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