VIDEO: Police footage of dramatic cliff rescue near Plymouth involving two helicopters
POLICE have just released footage of a dramatic cliff-top rescue involving a man reported missing from his home near Plymouth.
Just after 7:30pm on April 10 police received a call stating that a 48 year old male had been reported missing from his home near Bigbury, South Devon after setting out to walk the cliff path between Wonwell Beach and Challaborough.
Police have just released footage of the rescue.
The man was quickly classed as a ‘high risk’ missing person given he had been absent for approximately four hours, the very poor weather conditions and the high tide. A large scale search involving numerous local police officers and members of the Coastguard was quickly underway and the crew of the police helicopter joined in from their base in Exeter.
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In addition to the police helicopter the Coastguard tasked the Royal Navy Sea King helicopter from Culdrose with both aircraft arriving on scene at roughly the same time. Both the pilots were able to coordinate their search of the cliff via radio with the police helicopter hovering at 1000ft and the Navy aircraft at 500ft. The officers in the police helicopter used their night vision goggles and thermal imaging camera to scour the cliffs and the path with the lower Sea King searching visually using their powerful spotlights.
After quarter of an hour's searching the police officers found the missing man on the thermal camera, he was trapped at the bottom of the cliff by the high tide and rough sea taking shelter in a crevice. It was clear from his position that he was completely cut off, positioned at the bottom of a steep cliff with water all around him. Using the direct link afforded by the radio systems on board the helicopter the police officers were able to guide in the Navy aircraft to the man.
The rescue was further complicated by the confined location at the bottom of the cliffs and the high wind which made the area initally unstable for the Sea King to hover. Whilst they went out to sea to dump fuel and reduce their weight the crew of the police helicopter were able to remain and keep an eye on the man and ensure he could be easily found again.
A short time later, at 9:30pm, the now lighter Navy aircraft returned and the man was winched off the rock and flown to Derriford Hospital. He was found to be cold, with minor cuts and bruises but otherwise unhurt.
A spokesman said: "This was an excellent multi agency rescue utilising the skills and equipment of both the police helicopter and the Royal Navy Rescue helicopter, their crews as well as the numerous officers on the ground and volunteer Coastguard personnel."