Night-time rescue for climber stuck on clifftop amid gale-force winds

The Coastguard has released footage of a night-time clifftop rescue of a climber during a force nine gale.

The helicopter video captured the efforts of two Coastguard teams as they helped a climber stuck on a rocky crag on a cliff face at Fair Head, near Ballycastle on Tuesday night.

Ballycastle and Coleraine Coastguard rescue teams and Red Bay RNLI's all-weather lifeboat attended the scene along with the UK Coastguard search and rescue helicopter based at Prestwick.

Daniel McAuley, station officer for Ballycastle Coastguard Rescue Team, said: "Two climbers had started climbing the cliff at around 5pm and when the winds started to pick up, the position of the ropes they were using for support moved.

"Luckily, one of the climbers managed to get to the top and raise the alarm at a local farmhouse nearby.

"The occupants of the farmhouse quickly alerted one of the local Coastguard team members who called the job in to the Belfast Coastguard Operations Centre.

"A combination of working in darkness, the instability of the cliff edge and the 44 knot winds meant that we had to set up 30 metres away from the edge of the cliff to make sure the equipment was secure.

"We were very grateful to the Belfast Coastguard Operations Centre for co-ordinating the response and for the Coastguard helicopter and the RNLI lifeboat, who shone their lights on the climber and our operations so we could work safely.

"Without their vital support, our jobs would have been made all the more difficult.

"This is a great example of how these teams worked brilliantly together under challenging circumstances to rescue the climber.

"Thankfully, he did not require any medical attention or treatment after being rescued.

"The climbers did the right thing by calling the Coastguard as soon as they got into difficulty.

"Unfortunately, they just got caught out by the change in the wind conditions - we're just glad they're safe and well now."


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