Colyton man airlifted from Hooken Cave

Difficult winching operation undertaken at Beer Head.

A 60 year old Colyton man was airlifted out of Hooken Cave near Beer Head yesterday (Saturday) afternoon.

Westcountry Ambulance Service requested Coastguard assistance after receiving a 999 call from a another member of the 15 to 20 people in the group, who had climbed up to the cave to study the bats.

Hooken Cave is located approximately 150 feet from the cliff top and 80 feet above the coast path at Hooken near Beer Head.

The air ambulance also attended and the crew assisted in the treatment of the casualty in the cave.

The man had to be recovered on a stretcher from the cave.

Rescuers faced two options - to lower a man down to the cave and then winch him and the casualty back up the cliff, or to request a helicopter capable of winching the stretcher out of the cave and into an aircraft.

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Rescue 169 from Chivenor was tasked as the Coastguard helicopter was unavailable to due a technical problem.

The Beer Coastguard team prepared for a cliff recovery incase the aircraft could not get close enough to the cliff to be able to winch.

The aircraft was able to winch a man down to the cave to prepare the casualty for an air evacuation, When the aircraft came back in to winch, it was within 40 feet of the cliff, a very difficult winching operation was completed and the stretcher with the man was taken into the aircraft and transferred to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital.

He was conscious and talking throughout.