Dog hinders rescue of injured man at Fairlight cliff

A DOG owner trying to retrieve his pet from cliffs at Fairlight sparked a major rescue operation on Monday evening.

The man was injured after trying to lower himself over the cliff at Fairlight in pursuit of his dog .

He had been using a rope to lower himself down the 15 to 20ft drop, at Ecclesbourne Glen, when the rope snapped and he slipped and fell.

The emergency services were alerted around 5.25pm and the coastguard, lifeboat, and coastguard helicopter attended the scene.

Coastguard teams from Hastings and Rye attended along with paramedics.

However the dog was acting aggressively and would not allow any of the crew members to approach the casualty, so police dog handlers and a representative from the RSPCA had to be called to bring the animal under control.

They were transported to the scene by the Hastings inshore lifeboat.

The man was then airlifted to the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton, with a suspected broken leg and head injuries.

His dog was uninjured and was taken to shore in the lifeboat. The entire operation took around four hours.

Bud White, station officer at Hastings Coastguard, said: “We would advise people to keep their dog on a lead and to not go after it, if it goes over the edge of the cliff, but instead call the coastguard.

“The dog is usually OK, it is the owner who usually gets into trouble.”

Dover Coastguard’s senior watch manager, Gordon Wise, said: “We always encourage members of the public to keep dogs on leads when walking.

“This was an extremely unusual rescue, the rescue helicopter had to wait for the dog to be removed before the casualty could be recovered.

“The casualty is now receiving medical treatment and the dog has been reunited with the casualty’s partner.”