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Emergency services / Coastguard honoured for rope rescue

Image: MCA

SHETLAND coastguard crews have been honoured with an award for a rope rescue of a man stranded at the bottom of cliffs last year.

Volunteer rescue teams, operation staff and crew of the Sumburgh based search and rescue helicopter have been given the Department for Transport’s rescue shield award.

The local crews are sharing the award with colleagues in Stornoway, who saved an elderly man clinging onto a cliff edge on St Kilda.

The Shetland crews were praised for saving a young man who became stranded at Fethaland on 9 May last year at night.

He was stuck down a cliff after going out for a walk, with rescue teams lowering a rope technician 80ft to take him to safety in deteriorating conditions.

The man was uninjured, but he said afterwards that he was “verging on hypothermia”.

Coastguard rescue teams from Hillswick and Lerwick attended, while the Aith Lifeboat had also been called out in case it was needed.

The coastguard helicopter was on scene but conditions did not allow it to perform an airlift. However, it took the man onwards to the Gilbert Bain Hospital once he was brought to land.

Director of HM Coastguard Richard Parkes said both the Shetland and Stornoway teams showed “dedication, commitment and extreme bravery” in the “most challenging of situations”.