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Teenager rescued after becoming stuck down 130ft cliff

Coastguard teams and a helicopter brought the 19-year-old to safety as darkness fell.

A teenager was rescued by coastguard teams and a helicopter after becoming stuck at the bottom of a 130ft cliff in Shetland.

The 19-year-old man had been walking with a friend at Point of Fethaland around on Wednesday afternoon.

They decided to scale down the cliffs, which are at the northern tip of Shetland.

One of the young men was able to make his way back up but the other could not climb back.

The coastguard were called around 9.45pm, when the teenager had been at the bottom of the cliffs for two hours.

By this time the tide was coming in and darkness had fallen.

A rescue helicopter arrived on scene but was unable to reach the casualty due to the sheer cliff face.

Cliffs: Area at the northern tip of Shetland.
Cliffs: Area at the northern tip of Shetland. by Colin Smith

Coastguard Rescue Teams from Lerwick and Hillswick were called out and were able to perform a rope rescue. Aith lifeboat was able to illuminate the cliff face from the water.

HM Coastguard helicopter Captain Martin Naylor said: "Last night's rescue was one of the most difficult rescues we've seen for a while.

"On scene, and having made one attempt, it was clear that winching our winchman down to the scene was too dangerous - particularly given that the casualty declared himself to be uninjured but cold.

"We winched our winchman to the top of the cliffs so that he could speak in person to the casualty and the Hillswick and Lerwick Cliff Rescue Teams (CRTs).

"It was quickly clear that the best and safest course of action would be to allow the CRTs to commence recovery of the casualty whilst Coastguard Rescue 900 returned to Sumburgh for fuel.

"When we arrived back on scene, our job was to illuminate the cliffs whilst the CRTs recovered the casualty. Aith Lifeboat also stood by in case their fast rescue craft was required."

He continued: "The CRTs performed a deeply impressive and safe recovery of the casualty which is testament to the dedicated training they regularly undertake.

"We would like to extend our sincere thanks the Shetland Coastguard Training Team leaders - Dave Sweeney and Alex Dodge, who have recently put much work into further training for Shetland's CRTs towards cliff rescue extraction.

"Their efforts and the considerable skill of the CRTs last night resulted in a successful and safe rescue."

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