A badly injured man had to be rescued by firefighters – after he fell off the Promenade while watching them train.
The 40-year-old was sat on rocks opposite the Elgin Hotel, near to Gynn Square in North Shore, when he accidentally plunged 12 feet onto rocks below.
It sparked a huge rescue operation, with emergency service heroes forming a human chain to carry the man – on a stretcher – down the remaining 30 feet of rocks.
An air ambulance helicopter landed on the nearby go-karting track, with officials cutting a path through a rubber tyre barrier for rescuers, though the man was eventually taken to Royal Preston Hospital, which specialises in treating serious head injuries, by road.
“Luckily for the casualty, the fire service had been carrying out an exercise close to the incident so were able to make a rapid attendance,” white watch manager at Blackpool’s Forest Gate fire station Patrick Thompson said, with the Coastguard, RNLI lifeboat crews, North West Ambulance Service, and Lancashire Police also called out to help.
Paul Little, the Coastguard’s station officer for Blackpool and Lytham, said the man was sat on the rocks opposite the Elgin Hotel, slightly north of Gynn Square, when the firefighters arrived.
They started training at the go-karting track, a former boating lake protected from the Irish Sea by tall concrete walls, when the man stood up to get a better look – and “fell forward”, Mr Little said, with the firefighters watching on in horror at 7.40pm on Thursday.
“He was found to be unconscious but breathing, so crews secured his position and stabilised his condition whilst awaiting the arrival of the air ambulance service and the North West Ambulance Service,” Mr Thompson said.
Around 30 rescuers lined up to carry the man, who was not named, down to the Lower Walk, on a large basket stretcher. Mr Little said: “We had a chain and passed him down the rock face until we got to the bottom where the ambulance was parked.”
A large crowd gathered to watch as the man – who woke up and was able to respond to questions – was driven away in an ambulance. His condition was described as serious. Police did not give an update yesterday.
The massive rescue – described as a “multi-agency operation”, involved two crews from Blackpool fire station and one from Bispham; volunteers from the RNLI’s lifeboat station on Blackpool Promenade, who were diverted from training; Coastguard rescuers from the teams in both Fleetwood and Blackpool and Lytham; a helicopter and crew from the North West Air Ambulance charity; paramedics from the North West Ambulance Service; and officers from Lancashire Police.