Helicopter rescue drama for day tripper taking a stroll

The airlift is complete as the stretcher is safety aboard the Sea King helicopter after the drama in Staithes

The airlift is complete as the stretcher is safety aboard the Sea King helicopter after the drama in Staithes

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A DAY trip ended in drama with one visitor to the seaside being rescued by an RAF helicopter after being dragged into the water by huge waves.

Three men were taking a stroll along the north pier at Staithes on Saturday afternoon when they were all swept off their feet by rough seas.

The RAF Sea King helicopter prepares to winch the casualty to safety from Staithes

The RAF Sea King helicopter prepares to winch the casualty to safety from Staithes

Two were slammed into a concrete post and the railings but their pal was thrown underneath the safety barriers.

He was left hanging precariously with his head over the rock armour while waves kept surging towards him and slamming him against the sea defence.

The Staithes and Runswick RNLI inshore boat was requested but not needed because the man’s friends had managed to pick themselves up and bravely pluck him from the water.

However, the lifeboat crew still raced to the harbour to administer oxygen and first aid and used their stretcher to carry the man, thought to be in his 30s, off the pier and out of danger.

Eyewitnesses watch the rescue operation unfold - picture by Chris Theaker

Eyewitnesses watch the rescue operation unfold - picture by Chris Theaker

His injuries were deemed too serious for him to be taken to hospital by ambulance and the air ambulance was unable to land because of the location so the RAF Sea King was called upon to winch the casualty from the breakwater in front of the coastguard station.

Colin Harrison, launching authority for Staithes and Runswick RNLI told the Gazette: “Waves were still coming over and the guy that got washed in had

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a big gash on his head, there was blood all over his scalp, he was in shock and getting hyperthermic.

The RAF winchman drops from the Sea King in preparation to airlift the casualty to safety

The RAF winchman drops from the Sea King in preparation to airlift the casualty to safety

“He had an injury to his back but we couldn’t get him on the stretcher so we managed to carry him off the pier and away from the danger off getting cut off.

“Because of the spine injury and the difficulty of getting out of Staithes the RAF came and winched him off the end of the breakwater.”

Dr Croft was also winched up into the aircraft and accompanied the man, from near Leeds, as he was flown to James Cook Hospital where it was discovered he had also suffered broken ribs and inhaled water.

One of the other men was taken by road ambulance to James Cook having suffered cuts and bruises.

The RAF Sea King helicopter hovers as final preparations are carried out before airlifting the casualty away

The RAF Sea King helicopter hovers as final preparations are carried out before airlifting the casualty away

The third man didn’t need hospital treatment.

Mr Harrison added: “There was a large swell coming in and the usual thing is that people can get onto the pier and think it is alright and a few large ones come up and over.

“They were all about six foot and strapping and it just washed them out. They don’t appreciate the danger that we know can be there.

“He was very lucky he washed back on to the pier rather than getting sucked under and he was very lucky people were around to help.”