RESCUERS have been praised after saving a man who survived a 200ft horror cliff fall near Scarborough.
Coastguard crews and a team from RAF Leconfield winched the man to safety from Cloughton Wyke. He had fallen while trying to recover his dog. The 53-year-old holidaymaker suffered a broken wrist and leg.
He was today in a serious but stable condition at Scarborough Hospital Intensive Care Unit. The dog, a Golden Retriever, suffered a black eye and broken legs, and was being cared for at Alma Veterinary Surgery.
Police have called the rescue “remarkable” with Scarborough Coastguard Station Officer Mark Appleby adding it provided a stern warning that dog owners should never attempt a cliff rescue.
Insp Bruce Prendergast, of North Yorkshire Police, said: “It is absolutely remarkable that this man has survived a 200ft fall down the cliff face and escaped with injuries that are not life-threatening.
“It is testament to the hard work and bravery of the coastguard and RAF crew – who managed to extract the man from the bottom of the cliff in difficult circumstances – that he and his dog survived.”
During the ordeal, rescuers took the injured man to hospital with a member of the coastguard staying on the cliff edge with the dog to wait for the helicopter to return and pull it to safety.
However, Mr Appleby said the incident again highlighted the dangers of walking near the cliff edge and the need for owners to be extremely vigilant.
He said: “The message is clear – keep your dog on a lead.
“It is so easy for one to spot a bird or an animal on the cliff top and chase after it and go over.
“I can understand that people are very attached to their pets but I cannot stress highly enough that they are risking their own lives by going after them.
“If it does happen I urge anyone to contact emergency services and let the coastguard deal with the situation.”
Mr Appleby said he had visited the man in hospital and was amazed at his good fortune.
He added: “It is a miracle he has survived when you look what he has fallen on.
“He was unconscious when he arrived at hospital, he is a very lucky bloke.”
The man’s dog, a golden Labrador called Oscar, is recovering in Alma Vet Surgery, in Alma Square, nursing a broken femur, black eye and broken tooth.
Vet Heather Westron raced to the scene of the incident and said the animal had been incredibly fortunate to survive the massive impact of the fall.
She said: “With the distance of the fall he is lucky to be alive, I’ve never known a dog to survive a fall like that.”
She added Oscar would need an operation on his leg but expected him to make a full recovery.