The Initial Response Team, the IRT, was tasked to meet the police at the Crow’s Nest as concern for public safety increased due to numerous local landslides Previously a number of cracks had developed on the the SW Coast path itself with all cliffs to the west of Lyme Regis showing signs of significant movement. A small number of chalets near the beach in Lyme Regis have also been displaced from their foundations by the shifting ground.
The Initial Response Team, the IRT, was tasked to investigate reports of cracks developing in the SW Coast path, near Underhill Farm to the west of Lyme Regis. A number of serious cracks & fissures were found together with signs of movement near the Crow’s Nest and Chimney Rock. A further inspection of all the major coastal access points between Seaton & Seatown found a number of areas where many landslips and mudslides have recently occurred. The recent poor weather has made all the cliffs and coastal paths extremely susceptible to ‘movement’. A number of warning signs were placed in appropriate places and all the relevant landowners and authorities advised. A few days later the coast path between Lyme Regis and Seaton was closed by Devon County Council & Natural England.
The whole coastguard team was tasked to rescue a 67 year old male who had fallen, injurying his leg, two miles west of Lyme Regis. A party of seven walkers, had set out from Seaton to Lyme Regis along the Undercliif coastal path. This 7 mile footpath is renowned for being very difficult underfoot and being inaccesible. There are no public access points other than the beginning & the end! The casualty who was in extreme pain, was ‘packaged’ onto to stretcher and carried out of the Undercliff after about an hour of extremely arduous work. The casualty was passed into the care of a land ambulance that had been diverted from Bridgwater in Somerset, to attend the incident. Despite the advice of all the emergency services present, the casualty declined the opportunity to attend hospital and have his leg injury fully assessed.
The coastguard team would like to thank the members of the lifeboat team who helped carry the gentleman for the final stages of the ‘extraction’.
This was a physically demanding rescue. It took at least 40 minutes to locate the casualty with the whole coastguard team split up searching along the 7 mile length of the path. Once located all the team had to regroup to carry out the casualty.
This summer, the whole of the South West Coast path has been ‘labelled’ at key points with locations and grid references. If you are walking the coast path, please look out for these little white indicator signs. It might just help the emergency services locate you more quickly in the event of an incident.