A walker had a miracle escape when he fell 300-feet off a cliff – and suffered only cuts and bruises.
The un-named rambler, 55, was strolling along a coastal path in the dark when he stumbled and plummeted 90m over the cliff edge.
He plunged off the massive 600ft high cliff, rolled down the jagged rock face and landed halfway down in a gully.
The dazed victim used his mobile phone to dial 999. Quick-thinking police traced his call to pinpoint his exact location.
More than 20 coastguards and police, fire crews, paramedics and RNLI teams raced to High Peak cliffs in Sidmouth, Devon after the accident at 7pm on Easter Sunday.
The man – who does not want to be identified – was winched to safety and had somehow survived the fall with only minor injuries.
Terry Hoare, coastguard leader from nearby Beer, Devon, said it was a ‘miracle’ he wasn’t killed.
He said: ”He was extremely lucky to be alive and extremely lucky that he was not badly injured or killed.
”It was a miracle. He had rolled from the top and ended up 300ft down the cliff.
”Had he fallen any further he would not have survived because the beach below is so rocky. We could hear him shouting and he was obviously distressed.”
The man told his rescuers he was walking alone along the cliff when he fell down an unseen gully.
He was able to ring for help and officers traced the call and alerted coastguards in Exmouth and Beer who trekked along the cliffs to find him.
Exmouth lifeboats stood by offshore, the Sidmouth Independent Rescue Boat shone a light at the cliffs from the sea and the coastguard helicopter was also called in.
The man’s location was then identified using infra red equipment. He was dramatically winched to safety by helicopter, with the rotor blades coming perilously close to the cliif face.
Mr Hoare added: ”It was a very difficult bit of flying as the rotors were within feet of the cliff face above the casualty. He was close to another sheer drop.”
The man was later transferred to a waiting ambulance and taken to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital before being released later.
A spokesman for Portland Coastguard added: ”The man raised the alarm on a mobile phone by calling the police who contacted us. He was eventually rescued by helicopter due to the conditions.”
The victim does not want to be identified but says he will now give a private donation to coastguards for saving him.