One of our Operations Staff, Tom Rule, recently required the services of HM Forces whilst on holiday in Cornwall. He tells his story here;
“On Monday 23rd July whilst at Crantock beach in Newquay enjoying the summer sun with another family and my own, I decided to go for a stroll along the beach. After lapping up the prime surfing conditions in the water, I was quite exhausted and had figured that a walk with the men would be just the relaxing therapy I needed before continuing to surf.
After a short walk, my Dad turned and proposed that we try out his new toy, a Parrot flying camera system which he has been very eager to use for some time. The idea was for Gareth, ( a family friend of roughly my own age ) and myself to climb up a cliff, whilst being filmed by the HD camera from a birds eye view. Being a pilot, the height factor didn’t worry me, but I could not keep up with the fast pace that my friend was setting, due to his various expeditions and Duke of Edinburgh Award. In the true spirit of a young teen, being beaten by a friend was not an option, with this in mind I climbed down and continued walking, looking for a better route.
After a short walk, I saw what appeared to be a reasonable straight forward climb. The route was a slow diagonal ascent which looked like it would be almost a walk rather than a climb, which was the case for the first 50 feet or so. Now I reached a stage which would prove more tricky, and had to almost over hang to reach the next grassy section of the cliff. At this point I decided that I had reached high enough, and began to call to the others, in the hope they would arrive and praise me for my efforts and success.
It only took a few minutes of calling to realise that they were too far away to hear, so I decided to get down and merely explain how brilliant I was, when I discovered a hitch. The rock that I had climbed around at a steep angle was now in such a position that I was blocking my hip, and therefore blocking myself from turning. I tried a number of manoeuvres, which, although looking professional, proved useless. Unfortunately, the others had realised I was missing and walked within viewing range just in time to see my failure of a descent. I then explained to my Dad that I was stuck and that the best solution would be to call for the lifeguard, but in true Rule family tradition he thought it best to climb up and assess it himself, which resulted in another person being stuck around 10 feet lower than myself-and in a much more awkward position, making my father the priority. I still must praise my father as without his guidance I would have never reached a comfortable position, allowing me to hold on until help arrived.
Fifteen minutes later, the coast guard arrived after coordination with the lifeguards, and within another 10 minutes Jason Rule ( casualty number one ) had been cradled down by an abseiling coastguard, which may I add is not the most manly way to descend a cliff. I was then told by the Coast Guard above me on the cliff edge that the Sea King HU.5 had already been called for, and was inbound from Royal Navy Air Station Culdrose. With an ominous sound of the blades approaching it rose from over the hill, being piloted by Lt. Summers and Lt. Cmdr. Knight. I was then winched up from the cliff by Lt. Sawyer, whilst Cpl Barns ( Royal Marines ) dangled at the end of the thread with myself strapped tightly to him.
After the initial lift, I was hauled inside the powerful machine and was taken on a “joy ride” which consisted of three circuits of the beach, making sure that everyone on the beach was reasonably sand blasted and had to suffer the scattering of beach items and clothes. I was then dropped back into the centre of the beach to allow not only the clearest possible landing site, but also the best area, in which everyone could see the fool that had ruined their day at the beach.
I must say that the coast guards and 771 NAS did a fantastic job of getting both my father, and myself down safely. I praise them and admire their tolerance for people like myself, that are so keen to get in the air that we are willing to climb up a cliff. Other than the slight hiccup of public humiliation the holiday was a great success.”