Lucky escape after 100ft ravine plunge
A WALKER who fell 100ft head first and lived to tell the tale says he owes his life to those who helped save him during a two hour rescue mission in the Lake District.
George Smith, had been crossing a steep ravine, near Stickle Ghyll in Great Langdale, during a walking holiday, when the accident happened.
After trekking through Peru in July, Mr Smith, of Stockton, near Beccles, returned home ready to venture to the Lakes with eight friends from a local church group.
On arriving at the Lakes on August 7, the group spent several days undertaking small brisk walks – saving the longest trek for the final day of the visit.
On Friday, August 13, Mr Smith had been walking along a mountain ledge with three friends, when a rock gave way – causing him to plummet head first down a steep mountain side.
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Suffering a series of injuries, including a dislocated and fractured shoulder, a fractured wrist and cut to the armpit and face, his close friends looked on in horror - fearing the worst.
His friends helped to slow the flow of blood from his head, while paramedics and an air ambulance attempted to locate them in the vast picturesque mountain area.
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Langdale and Ambleside Mountain Rescue Team and Kendal Mountain Rescue Team were called to the scene and a Sea King helicopter crew from RAF Boulmer later attended after the air ambulance was unable to land on the terrain.
Meanwhile, his sister, Hannah, and girlfriend, Becki Gascoyne, 23, who had taken an easier route, stood watching the accident unfold from the other side of the valley – but they didn’t know that it was Mr Smith until later that day.
The 26-year-old, who is preparing to study at the Warwick Medical School from September and is now recovering at home, said that he realised the severity of the incident when he heard his friends scream in fear.
“As I was falling, I didn’t really think anything.
“I don’t know whether I realised what was going on and it wasn’t until I heard my friends screaming that I realised it was very serious,” he said.
“I was upside-down as I fell and my head was constantly banging and as I got further down the mountain I just kept thinking that I was going to die.
“It was the scariest thing I have ever been through.”
He later said that he believed he survived because of the hard work of the emergency services.
“The rescue operation took over two-and-a-half hours, because the air ambulance couldn’t land and the RAF had to come out and rescue me,” he said.
“I owe my life to every person that helped me, from the first person at the scene to the last person there – they all played a part in saving my life and for that I am eternally grateful.
“I don’t think it dawned on me how lucky I am to be alive and how blessed I am until a couple of days after the accident.”
Miss Gascoyne later added: “It really is a miracle, every one has been amazing – we had everyone praying for him.
“I think he is amazingly brave.”