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Emergency services / Coastguard and lifeboat crews come to aid of woman ‘clinging to the cliff face’ at the Knab

The coastguard said it was an ‘extraordinarily difficult rescue’

Photo: MCA

EMERGENCY services were tasked last night (Thursday) to come to the aid of a woman who was “clinging to the cliff face” at the Knab in Lerwick.

The coastguard’s operations area commander Dave Sweeney described it as an “extraordinarily difficult rescue” – and one that saved the person’s life.

Coastguard rescue teams from Lerwick, Sumburgh and Walls were tasked, while the Lerwick Lifeboat was also called out.

They were tasked with helping an adult female who was stranded on the cliffs.

The lifeboat was launched within minutes of being paged just before 7pm, with crew having already assembled for a planned training exercise.

The lifeboat was soon at the scene of the incident and quickly located the casualty who was said to be in a precarious position near a high point of the cliffs.

The Lerwick Lifeboat returning back to base after last night’s call-out. Photo: RNLI

Crew were able to guide other emergency services to her location, while the lifeboat deployed the inflatable ‘Y- boat’ on the water as a precaution.

A rope rescue technician from the Lerwick coastguard rescue team descended to the stranded casualty, and using the rescue strop performed a technique known as Gecko Pickoff.

The casualty was recovered from the clifftop and taken into the care of the Scottish Ambulance Service.

The lifeboat was stood down and returned to the station around 8.30pm.

Sweeney said: “This really was an extraordinarily difficult rescue. The casualty was clinging to the cliff face and falling further down as our teams arrived on scene.

“Coastguard rescue officers were able to stabilise the casualty by throwing a rope to hold on to whilst the rope rescue equipment was put in place.

“A rope rescue technician thereafter deployed over the cliff and secured the casualty who was then recovered to the cliff top.

“I am immensely proud of the actions taken by coastguard rescue officers to safely recover the casualty. They have undoubtedly saved the casualty’s life, but had to think outside the box to overcome some real challenges presented during the incident.”

Lerwick Lifeboat coswain Darren Harcus said: “Our volunteer crew responded quickly to the call to launch and locate the casualty, and support other emergency services colleagues.

“We’re pleased to see that there was a good outcome to this incident with the casualty safely recovered for medical treatment.”