A SOUTH AFRICAN TOURIST has been airlifted to safety after she fell onto a narrow ledge on the cliffs of Moher, Co. Clare, with a 182 meter drop to the sea below.
The woman, in her 20s, was walking with a friend near O'Brien's Tower on Sunday afternoon when she lost her footing and fell over the cliff-edge onto a small ledge below.
She lay injured and stranded, hanging on for dear life on a ridge said to be no bigger than a double bed, while her friend quickly raised the alarm.
The Irish Coast Guard were alerted to the situation and watch officers at their marine rescue sub centre on Valentia Island, Co. Kerry.
From there, a team of specialist mounted a coordinated rescue operation.
Members of the Doolin unit of the Coast Guard as well as National Ambulance Service paramedics were soon at the scene after arriving by helicopter.
After abseiling down to the woman and administering first aid, she was put on a stretcher and lifted to safety.
She was taken to University Galway Hospital for treatment.
A Coast Guard spokesman said: “This was a very technical operation and had to be planned and handled with care.
“When we realised this was a person on a ledge rather than on the cliff trail itself, we requested assistance from the helicopter,” he said.
“We had to consider how the downwash from the helicopter might affect the rescue attempt so it was decided the helicopter would land nearby.
“We set up our climbing equipment and the helicopter winchman/paramedic abseiled down to the ledge with a Coast Guard member and secured the casualty.
“Only then did the helicopter move into place to lift her from the ledge. It was a complex rescue, all the services worked very well together,” he added.