Sunday 19 November 2017

Cathedral fall: woman rescued from between the turrets

The 60-year-old woman reportedly fell during a guided tour

Keith Perry

THE BRITISH RAF were called in to rescue a woman trapped at Wells Cathedral in Somerset in England after she plummeted 30 feet and became wedged between two turrets.

The 68-year-old woman fell during a guided tour and was trapped between the two towers of the cathedral's West Front.

She suffered arm and pelvic injuries, according to Avon and Somerset Police.

The ambulance service said a specialist doctor had abseiled down to reach her and she was lifted free by the RAF's Sea King helicopter before being taken to Frenchay Hospital.

A spokesman for South Western Ambulance Service said the woman was trapped in a void between two walls 150ft up inside the bell tower.

She was given pain relief and its hazardous area response team worked with the fire crews to winch her up to a platform for assessment before she was then taken to the roof of the cathedral from where she was winched into the helicopter.

She is suspected to have broken wrists, a broken pelvis and abdominal injuries, the spokesman said.

Marc House, from Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue, said: "Because of the height of the operation and the number of specialist crews needed we had a number of potential plans to bring the lady out."

He added the safest way to rescue her "comfortably" was by using the helicopter.

Dr Paul Richards, the cathedral's administrator, said they would investigate how the incident happened.

A spokesman for Wells Cathedral said the 68-year-old woman was part of a tour group of around a dozen, accompanied by two guides.

“The emergency services did a fantastic job,” he said. “She fell inside the cathedral but they took her out through the top of the roof.”

The spokesman said the woman was near the top of the cathedral when the accident happened.

"While the group was undertaking a briefing within this space an incident occurred to one of the party members," he said.

"The cathedral's emergency procedure was immediately put into operation and emergency services are now in attendance, including the air ambulance."

He added that there were no details about how the accident happened but all tours are now cancelled while a review takes place.

The Sea King Helicopter landed on the Cathedral Green.

Four RAF personnel were also involved in the rescue.

A police spokesman said they were called at 12.11pm on Tuesday, and are asking people to stay away from the cathederal while emergency services work.

The green has been cleared of the public and the Cathedral closed.

The tour offers visitors the chance to climb to the top of the 775-year-old cathedral and enjoy views over Glastonbury Tor and the Somerset Levels.

A spokesman for the Health and Safety Executive said the were aware of the incident and were in discussions with the local authority.

Promoted Links

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editors Choice

Also in World News