December 10 2013 Latest news:
Alex Hurrell, Reporter
Friday, September 13, 2013
This snatch of video shows the happy moment when a man, stranded with his dog on Happisburgh’s crumbling cliffs, was pulled to safety by a crack team of coastguards on Monday.
The man’s relief is clear as he hugs one of his rescuers after spending about an hour trapped on a sandy ledge about 20ft from the top of the cliff - with a perilous 20-30ft drop into the sea below.
The man had scrambled down the cliff to try and rescue his German Shepherd dog which had got stuck, according to Keith Griffin, station officer with Happisburgh Coastguard.
“They were both left standing on a sandy ledge and every time one of them moved, sand went from under them,” said Mr Griffin.
A member of the public had thrown down a rope to the man who had tied it round himself. The public-spirited rescuer had then tied the other end to a concrete post at the top of the cliff.
Coastguards from the Happisburgh and Mundesley cliff rescue team were soon on scene and asked Happisburgh lifeboat to keep watch from the sea below as the tide was in. Crewman Sea Ferguson then swam from the boat to the base of the cliff while the expert rescue team set to work at the top.
They erected a “quadpod” - the structure seen in the video - and rope rescue technician Dave Ratcliffe went down the cliff to the man and his dog.
He had attached rescue “strops” to the stranded man and had put the “very friendly” dog in an animal rescue bag before lowering it to the base of the cliff, according to Mr Griffin.
Mr Ratcliffe had then guided the man back up the cliff to safety. Mr Ratcliffe emerges behind him in the video. The two coastguards at the cliff edge are Mr Griffin (left) and Marcus Taylor. Bob Francis, station officer of Mundesley Coastguard can be seen standing further inland.
Mr Ferguson walked the wandering pooch to the new ramp at Town Gap to be reunited with his owner on terra firma.
■ With thanks to EDP reader Mark Beal who took the video.