Go the extra mile!

Once again it always pays to have your camera with you, or at least, to be prepared to drop everything and head out to try and catch a story as it unfolds and before the best shots have gone.

Sometimes though you have to go a little further, in this case over a mile and a half across the beach at Skinningrove on the East Cleveland coast. In this incident, some poor sod had gone over the edge of the cliff and fallen some 70 foot, breaking his leg in the process.

An RAF Seaking helicopter was already there as were the police, ambulance, fire brigade and the coastguard, unsure as to whether I would be able to reach the scene before the casualty was airlifted I tried to get some shots as I accompanied the emergency services along the beach to try and show the distance they had to travel to get to the scene. Some pictures would be better than nothing if indeed the helicopter had rescued the casualty before I was able to get there.

As we closed in on the area where the casualty was lying, the Seaking was dropping a crew member off to allow him to get to work with the medics already at the scene to make sure the injured man was initially treated and secured to the stretcher prior to the lift taking place.

As the Seaking landed on the reef to wait for the word to go back and winch the casualty aboard, firefighters at the base of the cliff liaised with other emergency services as to the condition of the casualty.

As the word came that the casualty was ready to be hoisted aboard, the Seaking took off and moved slowly into position, obviously taking extreme care with the high cliffs nearby until it hovered above the place where the injured man lay.

With the winch-man hooked up and with the stretcher secured the injured man was slowly winched aboard the helicopter before being taken to a nearby hospital for treatment. All in all not a bad job, a couple of newspapers picked the story up after I wired the pictures in, but that wasn’t until I had walked the mile and a half back to where my car was parked!

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