THE DANGERS of the cliffs at Arbroath were highlighted on Wednesday when an operation involving all the rescue services was mounted to safely recover a teenager who had become stuck halfway down a 40-foot drop.
The 18-year-old and a friend were walking in the area when their football rolled off the cliff path and on to the rocks below.
It is believed that the youth tried to climb down to get it, but misjudged just how steep the sandstone cliffs were at that point and became stuck.
His friend remained on the top path and raised the alarm.
Coastguard teams from Arbroath and Montrose and police were called to the scene and both the Arbroath lifeboat and the inshore lifeboat were launched just before 5 p.m. to assist in the operation at the north end of Victoria Park to the south of the Needles E’e.
A helicopter from Lossiemouth which had been in the Tayside area was also alerted and was quickly on the scene.
Arbroath RNLI put ashore crew member Allan Russell to assist and reassure the casualty before he was airlifted to safety. The rescued youth, who was not seriously injured, was escorted away by police.
Coastguard sector manager Ross Greenhill said the situation could easily have turned into tragedy.
“He was about 20 to 30 feet from the water but had nowhere to go and had misjudged how steep the cliffs were,” he went on. “Everyone was there very quickly and the helicopter was able, quite literally, to drop him on to the path and into our care. He required medical attention for a cut, but apart from that was OK.
“However, the temperature had started to dip and there was a bit of a haar developing. The wind was starting to pick up as well and he was only wearing shorts and a T-shirt.
“Essentially, the cliffs are not a safe place to muck about on. You have got to respect them.
“The cliffs in this particular area are quite unstable and it is not a good idea to be climbing down them. In the area where the incident happened there have been significant landslips in the past 12 months. He has had a lucky escape.”
l RNLI mechanic and second coxswain Allan Russell reassures the casualtly on the cliff face. Crew members in the inshore lifeboat are Neil Swankie and Keiron Wood.