A man has died after falling from the 100ft cliffs at a north-east beauty spot.
The 41-year-old and his wife were visiting the Bullers of Buchan, near Cruden Bay, when the tragedy happened.
It is understood he was taking photographs from a grassy outcrop when he slipped down the cliff.
His wife was standing just yards away, and a German couple who spotted the accident immediately raised the alarm.
A massive rescue operation, involving coastguard teams from Cruden Bay and Peterhead and a lifeboat crew, were called to the scene at about 5.30pm on Saturday.
Working with a coastguard helicopter, the rescue teams worked for two hours to move the man from rocks at the base of the gigantic cliffs north of the collapsed sea cave known locally as “the pot”.
Peterhead’s RNLI crew used a smaller craft to ferry a paramedic and the casualty from rocks at the base of the cliff back onto the larger lifeboat, and from there he was winched onto a rescue helicopter and flown to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.
Early reports from emergency crews said the man, believed to be from the Ellon area, was “talking and conscious” during the rescue.
However, police yesterday confirmed he later died from his injuries.
Last night local couple Helen and John Kerr, whose cottage overlooks the precarious cliffs which are a nesting site for colonies of seabirds, described the dramatic operation.
Mrs Kerr said: “All the emergency services were here. Once they’d got the guy off the rocks they brought him into the bay and winched him up to the helicopter. They were giving him CPR on the helicopter. His wife stood here by our house and he went up to the cliffs.”
Mr Kerr added: “There have been two or three incidents in the five years we’ve been here, but none this serious.
“It was actually a German couple who called 999. The guy’s partner was here at the house and the couple were up by the cliffs. I’m not sure if they saw him fall or heard him scream for help.”
Last night a spokesman for HM Coastguard Buchan branch said: “Despite the efforts of RNLI crew, Bond 1 crew and coastguard officers at the scene – as well as medical staff – it has now been reported that the casualty has subsequently died in hospital.
“The cliffs around the Buchan area are a spectacular and popular location for walking, bird watching, climbing, cycling and other leisure activities. They also have many dangers.”
A police spokesman added: “We can confirm that the man has since died, and as with all sudden deaths a report will be submitted to the procurator fiscal.
“There are no suspicious circumstances.”
The Bullers of Buchan is a collapsed sea cave about six miles south of Peterhead.
The cave, now known as “the pot”, is nearly 100ft deep and from the top the tide can be seen rushing through a natural archway.
The surrounding cliffs and sea arches are a spring nesting site for seabirds including puffins, shags, razorbills and kittiwakes and are popular with birdwatchers and photographers as a result.