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Teenager speaks of cliff rescue ordeal

Ellis Thomason.

A NINETEEN year old walker from Shetland who had to be rescued in “freezing” conditions by the coastguard after getting stuck down a 130ft cliff has spoken about his ordeal.

Ellis Thomason, from Fetlar, was airlifted to Lerwick’s Gilbert Bain hospital for checks in the early hours of Thursday morning.

Although he was uninjured, he was verging on hypothermia.

The incident happened at Fethaland in the north of Shetland after Ellis and a friend made their way down a rocky cliff after a walk on Wednesday evening.

It started to rain and while his friend managed to get back up, Ellis was left stranded as the conditions got the better of him.

“It wasn’t a proper cliff, it was more just rocks and we could effectively walk down,” Ellis said.

“There was a steep bit that was only ten feet high, then it just started raining and I couldn’t get back up it. He went and got help and phoned the coastguard.

“It was freezing. I was verging on hypothermia.”

Ellis was told that he had been out for about five hours.

“We left the house at six and got there at maybe 8.45pm, and I would have been an hour trying to find my way out,” he said.

The coastguard said there was too much turbulence for the helicopter to use their winchman, so the crew had to wait for rescue teams.

They managed to use rope to bring Ellis to safety.

He said he was “pretty calm the whole time” because he was aware of how the coastguard worked.

Coastguard helicopter captain Martin Naylor said on Thursday: “Last night’s rescue was one of the most difficult rescues we’ve seen for a while”.

Ellis added that it was odd watching coastguard video footage of the rescue back online afterwards.

“It was kind of strange watching it – you see it and you think that’ll never happen to me,” he said.

Ellis said that people should be more aware of the dangers of adventuring outdoors – himself included.

“You should stop and think – whereas I just didn’t think.

“I’m just a bit embarrassed and ashamed really.”