A WALKER was rescued by emergency services after plunging down a steep cliff.
The 38-year-old woman had been out walking near the coastal path at Becketts Bank, in Horden, when she slipped down the steep cliff face.
During a dramatic two-and-a-half-hour rescue operation, emergency services rushed to the aid of the woman, who had fallen 10ft on to the stony beach below.
The woman, who was accompanied by a man, was rushed to the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton, with a suspected hip injury.
The rescue mission involved police, fire and ambulance crews, HM Coastguard and both Hartlepool’s inshore and all-weather lifeboat crews.
The drama unfolded around 5.50am yesterday when Peterlee Police’s response team received a call to the Horden coast to a report of a cliff fall.
Officers attended, and HM Coastguard and the ambulance service was also alerted.
Two crews from Peterlee Fire Station were sent to the scene at 6am and provided a stretcher.
But it was decided that due to the woman’s injuries, it would be safer and easier for her to be transported by lifeboat to Hartlepool docks, where an awaiting ambulance would take her to hospital.
Hartlepool’s inshore lifeboat was launched around 7.30am.
Once it had reached the woman, she was taken on board, along with a member of the ambulance service’s Hazardous Area Response Team (HART).
A few moments later, the woman and the paramedic were transferred onto Hartlepool’s all-weather lifeboat, which took 15 minutes to transport her to the docks, where an ambulance was waiting to take her to hospital, around 8.15am.
A spokesman for HM Coastguard said: “The woman was out walking and had fallen 9 or 10ft onto the beach.
“The woman was safely removed from the bottom of a small cliff, placed onto the inshore lifeboat and then transferred to the all-weather lifeboat, which brought her into the harbour, where she was transferred to an awaiting ambulance.”
Ian Moore, watch manager at Peterlee Fire Station, said; “We provided a stretcher and went down to the woman.
“The coastguard made the decision that it would be better to put her in the lifeboat.”
A Peterlee Police spokesman said response shift officers attended the scene from 5.50am.
A North East Ambulance Service spokesman said: “We had a vehicle at the cliffs in Horden, as well as the HART team.
“A member of the HART team travelled on the lifeboat with the patient while being transported to Hartlepool docks, where we had another crew waiting, and transferred the patient, who has a suspected hip injury, to hospital.”