THE wife of a doctor who cheated death after falling 200ft from cliffs near Scarborough while trying to rescue his dog has told of his amazing escape.
Father-of-two Chris Babbs, 53, had only been on holiday in the area with partner Sue for an hour when their beloved golden labrador Oscar fell from a narrow path at Cloughton Wyke.
As Dr Babbs tried to recover the six-year-old family pet he also disappeared from view after being knocked out in the horror fall.
Sue, 52, said: “It’s a very narrow path and Oscar just slipped on the grass and fell. Chris went further down the coastline, saw him and thought he could get to him.”
She stayed at the top of the cliff with their other two dogs waiting for Chris to return with Oscar, but after 15 minutes of shouting for him she feared the worst and dialled 999.
“Chris shouldn’t really be alive. I think Oscar saved his life by guiding the coastguards to him with his barking,” she said.
“After I lost sight of Chris I just assumed he’d had gone further along the coastline to climb back up. I didn’t hear anything, I was shouting and there was no response from Chris, only Oscar.
“It was really windy and stormy – I could hear Oscar barking. The other two dogs were distraught because they could hear Oscar.
“It was a bit surreal, it seemed like ages before the coastguards got there. I was on a narrow path on a cliff – I can’t explain what was going through my head.
“If I could hear the dog Chris should have been able to hear me, so that’s when I called the emergency services.”
Coastguards and an RAF helicopter crew were called and found Dr Babbs unconscious but breathing. He was airlifted to Scarborough Hospital while his wife and their other two dogs, Ellie and Poppy, were given a lift there by coastguards.
Crews used special children’s safety equipment to lift Oscar, who was treated at Alma Vet Surgery in Alma Square for a broken femur, black eye and broken tooth.
Dr Babbs, of Rochdale, Greater Manchester, is now in a serious but stable condition in intensive care in Hope Hospital in Salford - where he is a consultant in gastroenterology, after suffering a broken wrist and leg. He has already undergone two operations.
Police have called the rescue “remarkable” and Scarborough Coastguard station officer Mark Appleby told the Evening News: “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.”
Sue added: “The coastguards were so brilliant with me.”
Flight Sgt Rick Jones, who was part of the five-man Sea King helicopter rescue crew, said: “We did fear the worst, knowing the location. We were amazed when we saw signs of life – they had fallen 200ft so it’s pretty amazing that they survived