Sidmouth rock fall lands visitor in hospital

PUBLISHED: 12:20 04 February 2011

The clear warning sign by Salcombe Cliffs near Alma Bridge

The clear warning sign by Salcombe Cliffs near Alma Bridge

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Coastguard helicopter winches rock fall head injury victim from Sidmouth’s Eastern beach

WARNINGS to heed signs alerting walkers to the perils of using Sidmouth’s Eastern beach, were made this week after a man received head injuries from falling rocks.

A 47-year-old man from Okehampton was airlifted to the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital, Wonford - where he was treated and discharged - after apparently being hit by a falling rock as he walked with his family underneath Salcombe Cliffs on Sunday afternoon.

Beer and Sidmouth coastguards helped the Portland rescue helicopter paramedic at the scene after the man was reported as losing consciousness.

They set up a helicopter landing site, but this was not used because the down draught was scattering debris around the area.

Instead they kept back the large crowd of onlookers from the area while the helicopter winched the injured man into the helicopter.

Terry Hoare, station officer at Beer, said: “Hundreds of people were there on Sunday afternoon.

“The man was in and out of consciousness. He was there with his wife and two teenage daughters.”

He said the man must have been close to the cliffs to have been hit by a falling rock and added: “People should take notice of the warning signs to keep away from the cliffs which are unstable.

“There is no indication a cliff is going to fall and this winter we have had frost and snow and it will start falling away even more.

“Keep away from the cliffs!”

His warning was reiterated by East Devon District Council whose sign it is.

A spokeswoman said: “Whilst we regret this unfortunate incident, the council would urge all visitors to the eastern end of Sidmouth beach to take heed of the warning signs telling them not to walk under the cliffs, which pose a potential danger to anyone entering the area.”


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