The most difficult rescue of the year was undertaken by fire crews from across the Whitby district on Sunday as they attempted to recover a man who had fallen on rocks at a Goathland beauty spot.
A man in his mid-30s had slipped on rocks at Nelly Ayre Foss near Goathland and sustained back and neck injuries which trapped him just two feet above the near-freezing river.
Whitby crew manager Richard Merifield said: “This was one of the most awkward rescues of this year due to its location, the water conditions and the injuries he suffered.”
The incident happened at around 1.30pm and WM Merifield said he believed the man had been attempting to take a photograph of the waterfall when he slipped about 15ft down banking and onto rocks.
The firefighter added that if the man had landed in the water he could have suffered hypothermia and there would have been far more serious consequences.
However, the man was able to call the emergency services himself and Goathland’s retained fire crew arrived on the scene within 20 minutes.
Crews from Lythe, Robin Hood’s Bay, Malton and Whitby, as well as the local mountain rescue team and the Yorkshire Air Ambulance all rushed to the man’s aid.
WM Merifield said: “He was conscious and talking, but he was getting cold at this point and he was going downhill, so we wrapped him in foil and a woollen blanket.”
While paramedics attended to the man, the difficult task of removing him from the remote location safely was planned.
With spinal injuries, the man had to be carried on a stretcher and the steep sides of the valley meant he had to be carried across the river by the Swift Water Rescue Team. They were then able to put him into the Yorkhire Air Ambulance, which carried him to a waiting land ambulance. He was then taken to hospital.