A policewoman is believed to have jumped 200ft from cliffs near Whitby Abbey while still wearing her uniform.
The 30-year-old woman was found still alive by a family of holidaymakers at the foot of Saltwick Nab the following day.
She was wearing a black South Yorkshire Police polo shirt with her collar number, and had left her shoes and car at the top of the East Cliff prior to the plunge on Friday night. She was discovered at noon, crying for help by children playing in rock pools near the East Pier.
Debbie Straker (42), husband Steve (45) and sons Ethan (13) and Travis (9) were walking on Tate Hill beach with their dog Ruby when the boys decided they wanted to explore Saltwick Nab.
Mrs Straker told the Whitby Gazette: “As we got onto the rocks, Ethan said there was a woman shouting for help. She was really badly injured.”
Mrs Straker asked the woman if she was on duty and she replied ‘No’. Another member of the public, Phillip Thornton from Derbyshire, who was with son Dan, went to the woman’s aid and the two adults kept her warm using a beach towel and comforted her.
“She was in and out of consciousness,” said Mrs Straker. “She told me she had come off the cliff that night. Her clothes were drenched and she couldn’t see with the concussion. She kept apologising.
“I asked her ‘How did you get here?’ and she said she had fallen off the cliff. I asked her how she came to be on the cliff and she said she didn’t want to talk about it. She was in a state, her back was such a mess. She didn’t have her shoes on and she kept asking for her car which was at the top.”
First on the scene was Whitby Coastguard rescue officer Rob Parkin, who gave first aid. Police, coastguard teams from Whitby, and Skinningrove, RNLI lifeguards on their jet ski raced across the harbour and the RAF Sea King helicopter were sent to help. She was airlifted to James Cook Hospital with multiple serious injuries, none of which were life-threatening.
South Yorkshire Police said: “The officer was not on duty. The force is providing support to the officer and her family, and is working with colleagues in North Yorkshire as part of their inquiries.”