UK Coastguard alerted the volunteer crew at 6.08pm yesterday evening (Thursday) following a report of a young male stuck on the cliffs east of Winterfield golf course.
Three members of the crew were preparing the inshore lifeboat to launch on a regular training exercise when the pagers sounded so were in a position to rapidly launch the inshore lifeboat (ILB) at Dunbar Harbour. Within minutes the crew, joined by a fourth crewman, had located the casualty at the top of the cliffs close to Winterfield golf course.
At 6.40pm the all weather lifeboat (ALB) launched from its mooring at Torness Harbour to assist from an offshore position. (The nature of the coastline in this area can often lead to restricted radio communications when close to the shore. In such a situation the ALB will act as a proxy to the ILB for radio communications.)
The casualty’s precarious position on soft ground towards the top of the cliff led to the decision to undertake recovery from above. With Police Scotland now on scene the crew stood by to assist where necessary while Coastguard crew from Dunbar and North Berwick arrived to skilfully perform the recovery.
A Dunbar RNLI spokesperson said, “The extremity of this situation was impacted not only by the height and condition of the cliffs but also by the fast approaching tide which would have cut off any exit from the cliff base. We would like to remind the public of the importance of checking tide times when accessing the coastline near to the cliffs, where possible it is advisable to stick to pathways and to avoid the temptation to climb the cliffs unless trained to do so and with the relevant safety equipment in place.”
At 7.06pm, following the safe recovery of the casualty, both lifeboats returned to their respective bases to be refuelled and prepped for continued service.
ILB crew: Alan Blair, Chris Woods, Kieran Fairbairn, Nick Mailer
ALB crew: Gary Fairbairn, Gipper Ainslie, Alistair Punton, Kevan Jamieson, Iain McDougall, Rebecca Miller, Andrzej Hajduk, Quentin Dimmer