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Climber rescued in ‘technically challenging’ mission after falling off cliff on Isle of Lewis

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A climber was rescued after falling off a sea cliff in an operation, described as “one of the most technically challenging” ever seen in the Western Isles.

Stornoway coastguards were the first to respond to the incident following reports of a man in trouble at the cliffs at Bragar on the Isle of Lewis.

Teams from Bragar, Ness, Breasclete, Miavaig, Stornoway and Harris, as well as a coastguard helicopter, were deployed after the alarm was raised at 8.40pm on Friday.

The man is believed to had been trying to reach the top of the cliffs when he fell and found himself wedged in a gully.

The climber, who was out on his own, found himself wedged in a gully Supplied by HM Coastguard.

With very limited access to the sea cliffs, coastguard crews were fast-roped from the helicopter in an attempt to reach the injured climber and take him back to safety.

Stornoway lifeboat crews and Hebrides MRT volunteers were also called to assist with the “complicated” mission, with teams working into the night to save the casualty.

Following a “prolonged and challenging technical rescue”, the climber was winched to the top of the rocks at around midnight and taken to Western Isles Hospital for treatment.

His condition – or the distance he fell – is currently unknown.

‘One of the most technically challenging incidents’

HM Coastguard area commander for the Western Isles, Skye and Lochaber, Murdo Macaulay, said: “Stornoway coastguard received a call about a male, who had fallen while climbing sea cliffs near Bragar at 8.40pm.

“Once helicopter arrived on scene, a winchman paramedic was lowered to the casualty, but due to the man being wedged in a gully, they were unable to extract him.

“Coastguard rescue teams began a prolonged and challenging technical rescue to extract casualty with a rope rescue system.

The rescue operation lasted for around four hours, with teams working into the night to take the casualty to safety. Supplied by HM Coastguard.

“As the casualty’s injuries and location extended the rescue effort into darkness, a decision was taken to task more assets with Hebrides Mountain Rescue Team (MRT) and Stornoway lifeboat to provide more options on scene should the initial rescue effort prove unsuccessful.

“The casualty was eventually extracted just before midnight as the mountain rescue team arrived on scene. Following packaging at the cliff top, he was evacuated to Western Isles Hospital.

“We would like to thank all services for their assistance in this incident, which is one of the most technically challenging we have seen in the Western Isles. We wish the casualty a speedy recovery.”

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