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Sunday 21 January 2018

Base jump enthusiast killed in cliff plunge

The Cliffs of Moher Photo: Christopher Hill
The Cliffs of Moher Photo: Christopher Hill

Patrick Flynn

A man fell to his death from a 700ft-high cliff in Co Clare yesterday when a parachute jump went tragically wrong.

Three men had gone to Aill Na Searrach, part of the Cliffs of Moher range, early yesterday morning to undertake a 'base jump', where people leap from a fixed structure or cliff wearing a parachute or wingsuit.

The first man safely completed his jump but the second man fell onto the rocks below. It wasn't immediately known whether his parachute had failed to open or did not deploy in time.

The alarm was raised when the third man, who had been observing from the clifftop, called the emergency services at 7am. An ambulance from Ennistymon and a rapid response advanced paramedic unit from Ennis responded.

When it became clear that the scene was at the base of a cliff, the Irish Coast Guard was also alerted. The Doolin-based volunteer unit was tasked along with the Shannon-based search and rescue helicopter Rescue 115.

The Doolin Coast Guard rescue boat was able to get close enough to the bottom of the cliff to allow three members, one of whom was a doctor, to make their way ashore.

Rescue 115 manoeuvred safely into position and winched a crew member onto the shore below.

Ambulance service paramedics and Coast Guard members also made their way to the cliff base via a goat track that meanders down the side of another cliff.

The first jumper is understood to have attempted to resuscitate the seriously injured man by administering CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation).

The injured man was later placed on a stretcher and winched on board the rescue helicopter and flown to University Hospital Galway about two hours after the first emergency crews had arrived on the scene. He was pronounced dead a short time later.

The two other men were reported to have been badly shaken by the incident.

Gardai at Ennistymon have launched an investigation into the incident and a post-mortem examination is expected to take place today.

Sunday Independent

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