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Mum of boy rescued after plunge off north-east coast thanks son’s pals and rescuers after ordeal

Shaun Duthie with mum Ashleigh.

Picture by Paul Glendell.
Shaun Duthie with mum Ashleigh. Picture by Paul Glendell.

The mother of a schoolboy who plunged 30ft down a cliff after trying to save his bike has thanked his rescuers.

Shaun Duthie was flown to hospital with a fractured skull after falling near Buchan Ness Lighthouse, Boddam last week.

The 10-year-old often plays at the spot with his friends, but slipped while trying to hold onto the bike he was pushing along the narrow coastal path last Wednesday.

Last night his mother Ashleigh revealed she had feared the worst when she first got the call and raced round.

The 35-year-old said: “It was crazy, he has been so lucky.

“He had been playing at the back of the lighthouse at the washer, where you can go swimming, with his pals. He was walking back pushing his bike when it started slipping. He wanted to save it and went head first over the top and down the cliff. His bike didn’t even fall in the end.

“His friends said they heard him screaming and they looked and he was face down on the rocks. I think they all got quite a shock.”

Two of his friends scrambled down the rocks to reach their unconscious friend, waking him and pressing a towel to his bleeding head, while two others stayed at the clifftop.

One raised the alarm with his own mum, who in turn called Mrs Duthie and the emergency services.

Mrs Duthie added: “It was terrifying.

“I didn’t know what to expect until I got down there so it was really scary. I live about a minute’s drive away and I don’t think I’ve ever got there, or scaled down the lighthouse side of the coast, so quick.”

By then Shaun has regained consciousness and at around 2.30pm emergency services including coastguard teams from Cruden Bay, Peterhead and Banff arrived, along the coastguard helicopter from Inverness.

Mrs Duthie said: “He’d landed on the rocks, but thankfully they could get to him. He was complaining of a sore neck so they checked him out for back injuries before hoisting him up in the helicopter.

“They told me to take a bit of cover as they winched him up so all I could do was try to tell him it was going to be OK and not to be scared.

“I gave him the thumbs up and was the first one back up those rocks to meet him at the top before they took him by ambulance to the hospital.”

Shaun two fractures to his scull and three breaks in his wrist and spent two nights at the Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital.

He is now recovering at home with his mum, dad Steven, 39, and siblings Lauren, 17, and Tom, 12. The whole family said they could not thank his rescuers and friends enough for their help.

“His friends were really good,” Mrs Duthie added. “They were greeting and shocked but they were also very calm.

Shaun Duthie following his fall

“It was amazing to see how quickly the emergency services got there and came up with a plan. They kept him calm and told him everything that was going on. We are so grateful to everybody involved.”

She also said the incident showed just how easily accidents can happen, even when being careful.

“A lot of the kids and their parents here have got a right scare,” she said. “They are all really careful anyway but this just shows you that anything can happen with just a small slip.

“Shaun is really adventurous and loves being out playing with his friends.

“He is a happy kid and is in good spirits, and I hope this doesn’t make him lose that. I’ll just be watching him like a hawk anyway.”

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