22nd September 2018
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Teenager rescued after trying to scale up cliff at Fethaland

A teenager had to be rescued by the coastguard after trying to scale up a 130ft cliff in Fethaland.

The incident was reported yesterday at around 9.45pm when the boy’s friend called emergency services.

The two had scaled down the cliffs at Fethaland during the afternoon.

One of the men climbed back up the cliff but the other could not make his way up.

By the time coastguard were called, the friends – who have not been named – had already been stuck for two hours.

Coastguard rescue teams from Lerwick and Hillswick attended, as did the Aith Lifeboat and the coastguard helicopter from Sumburgh.

A winchman was sent down from the helicopter, but the operation had to be stopped because of bad turbulence and the close proximity of the cliff face.

Instead, the crew decided to wait for the arrival of coastguard rescue teams. They were able to establish that the teenager was uninjured.

Once the rescue teams had arrived, the helicopter and the Aith Lifeboat crew illuminated the cliff face to allow the rope technicians to set up their equipment.

The casualty was recovered to the top, and the helicopter winched him onboard before transporting him to a waiting ambulance at Tingwall Airport.

Despite being mildly hypothermic due to exposure to the wind and rain, the teenager was otherwise uninjured.

All teams were stood down just after 2am.

Incident commander Dave Sweeney said: “This incident was a prime example of team working at its best.”

Helicopter Captain Martin Naylor added: “Last night’s rescue was one of the most difficult rescues we’ve seen for a while. On scene, and having made one attempt, it was clear that winching our winchman down to the scene was too dangerous – particularly given that the casualty declared himself to be uninjured but cold.

“We winched our winchman to the top of the cliffs so that he could speak in person to the casualty and the Hillswick and Lerwick cliff rescue teams. It was quickly clear that the best and safest course of action would be to allow the CRTs to commence recovery of the casualty whilst Coastguard Rescue 900 returned to Sumburgh for fuel.”

• See a video of the rescue on The Shetland Times Facebook page.

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