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Coastguard helicopter in cliffs rescue at Minster, Sheppey

By KentOnline reporter

A coastguard helicopter helped with a dramatic rescue operation at Minster Cliffs this morning.

Coastguard officers and RNLI crews were called to the cliffs, near Willow Trees Holiday Park, off Oak Lane, since at about 9.30am.

The casualty is winched to safety at Minster Cliffs
The casualty is winched to safety at Minster Cliffs

An officer was lowered from the helicopter, followed by a stretcher.

A teenager, believed to be a 17-year-old boy, was found to be stuck on the cliffs.

VIDEO: A stretcher is lowered from the helicopter. Footage: Mark Holmwood

He was assessed by medics and an ambulance was on stand-by.

The casualty was strapped onto the stretcher and airlifted to safety at about midday.

Coastguard vehicles at the cliffs in Minster. Picture: Mark Holmwood
Coastguard vehicles at the cliffs in Minster. Picture: Mark Holmwood

Sheppey coastguard spokesman, Tim Judge, said: "It was about 9.30am when we were called.

"It was a guy who was stuck half way down the cliff, we weren't sure how he got there.

"We were called by the police and the coastguard helicopter came and rescued him.

"They stabilised him and got him ready for winching before they took him to Ashford hospital.

VIDEO: A coastguard officer is lowered from the helicopter at Minster. Footage: Mark Holmwood

Coastguard and other rescue officials at the top of the cliffs in Minster. Picture: Mark Holmwood
Coastguard and other rescue officials at the top of the cliffs in Minster. Picture: Mark Holmwood

VIDEO: Stick with it for moment casualty reaches helicopter. Footage: Mark Holmwood

"We set up the helicopter landing site, so it could conserve some fuel before taking off again.

"I think he was 17. As far as we know he was by himself.

"I'm sure it was a challenging rescue for the helicopter because it had to fly so close to the cliffs.

"We were there for about two and a half hours."

A Kent Police spokesman said the force received a report of a concern for the welfare of a man in Sheerness at around 8.30am.

They added: "Officers attended the area and the man was located on cliffs near Eastchurch and was rescued the Kent coastguard helicopter. He was taken to a local hospital to be treated for injuries."

RNLI spokesman Vic Booth said: "Sheerness inshore lifeboat launched at 9.57am after a call from the UK Coastguard that a person had fallen down the cliffs at Minster in the area of Oak Lane and was injured.

"The lifeboat was on the scene at 10.17am but the crew were unable to see the casualty from the shore because of the height and dense undergrowth on the cliff face.

"The Sheppey Coastguard Rescue Unit who were on top of the cliffs were also unable to pinpoint the casualty.

"It was the crew of the Coastguard rescue helicopter 163, which had also been scrambled, who eventually located the 17-year-old youth in a gully some 20 to 30 feet down the 100-foot cliff.

"A paramedic was lowered from the helicopter and two crew members from the lifeboat climbed up the cliff to assist him as it was believed the casualty had suspected spinal injuries.

"While this was going on, the helicopter left the scene and landed in a field nearby.

"Because of the suspected injuries, the third member of the lifeboat was called to help lift the casualty onto a stretcher after first anchoring the lifeboat on the shore and then climbing up the cliff.

"When the casualty was safely in the stretcher, the helicopter returned to the scene at 11.48am and flew the youth to William Harvey Hospital at Ashford.

The lifeboat crew were back on station just after noon.

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