A climber who plunged 100ft from England’s third highest peak has been told he will be back on his feet in just days – despite breaking his neck and back.
Pete Flint, 60, slipped and fell from Swirral Edge on Helvellyn in the Lake District breaking several ribs, his neck and his back in three places.
The tourist, from Branston, Lincs., was trekking with his daughter Rosie when he fell from the 3,117ft edge.
After a daring helicopter rescue he was flown to hospital, where his recovery stunned medics – who said they expect him to be well enough to walk out of hospital in just days.
Doctors at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) said he has been so lucky he “should buy a lottery ticket.”
Pete’s close friend John Stephenson, 41, who serves in the Royal Navy, said: “The doctors have said Pete really should go and buy a lottery ticket as soon as he comes out.
“They say the fall should have killed him and his injuries should have left him paralysed.
“It was just shock and horror knowing that someone you know as a close personal friend was lying in a hospital bed fighting for his life, and so the latest news that he will walk again soon is amazing.
“The family wishes to thank all the rescuers and doctors who helped save his life.”
Patterdale Mountain Rescue Team was called out at around midday on Saturday to a man had fallen 30m from the famous mountain edge.
Two helicopters, one from the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) and a Sea King from HMS Gannet at Prestwick, Scotland also joined the desperate rescue.
But the location and low cloud prevented either aircraft from directly evacuating suffering Pete.
Instead, mountain rescuers lowered him several hundred metres down a loose gravel slope so that the Sea King helicopter could fly in below the cloud and winch the stretcher.
Local cricket club chairman, Pete, was then rushed to Newcastle’s RVI and endured a 14-hour operation.
A team spokesperson for Patterdale Mountain Rescue Team, said: “Due to the location and low cloud it was not possible for either helicopter to directly evacuate the casualty.
“The team lowered the casualty down a loose scree slope for several hundred metres until they were below the cloud and the Sea King could fly in to winch the stretcher.
“Due to the serious nature of the injuries, the casualty and a team doctor were flown direct to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.
“Two passing Penrith MRT members also helped in the rescue.
“Due to the steep and loose terrain this was a particularly difficult rescue made possible by the excellent cooperation between the team, the Great North Air Ambulance and the naval helicopter crew.”
Swirral Edge and Striding Edge are the two arêtes leading to the summit plateau of the 950m (3,117ft) mountain Helvellyn.