Two Coastguard Rescue Teams carried out a difficult and complex rescue in a Force 9 gale, after a climber became cragfast on cliffs at Fairhead, near Ballycastle, Northern Ireland.
At about 11.30pm yesterday (Tuesday 28 September) the UK Coastguard received a report from a local Coastguard Rescue Team member that a climber needed rescuing after becoming cragfast whilst climbing the cliff.
Ballycastle and Coleraine Coastguard Rescue Teams and Redbay RNLI All Weather Lifeboat were sent to the scene along with the UK Coastguard search and rescue helicopter based at Prestwick. The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service was also informed of the incident.
Daniel McAuley, Station Officer for Ballycastle Coastguard Rescue Team said: ‘The two climbers had started climbing the cliff at around 5.00pm 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 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 into 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 thirty 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 operational work 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 got caught out by the change in the wind conditions – we’re just glad they’re safe and well now.’