Seriously injured climber rescued from rock face at Anvil Point

Emergency services managed the tricky task of rescuing a woman with a broken ankle from a cliff ledge near the Anvil Point Lighthouse to the west of Swanage.

The incident happened just after 2 pm on Friday 28th January 2022, as she attempted to climb down the vertical rock face.


The multi-agency response involved both Swanage lifeboats along with the volunteer coastguard cliff rescue teams from Swanage, St Albans Head and Kimmeridge. The Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance and South Western Ambulance Service were also requested.

Anvil lighthouse viewed from Durlston Country Park

The steep cliffs at Anvil Point, close to the Durlston area of Swanage, are popular with climbers

Climber stuck part of the way down the cliff

The inshore lifeboat was the first to arrive at the foot of the cliff and spotted the climber stuck part of the way down the cliff.

The crew was able to call to the casualty and her climbing partner to confirm that the coastguard was on its way.

“A swift extraction was required”

Swanage Lifeboat Station reported:

“The inshore lifeboat approached the base of the cliff and confirmed that it would be possible to extract the casualty from there, if the cliff rescue team was able to lower them down.

“The air ambulance landed on the top of the cliff and their medic confirmed that with the severity of the casualty’s broken ankle, a swift extraction was required.”

Climber transferred into the inshore lifeboat
RNLI/Becky Mack

The injured woman was put in a stretcher and taken off the rocks by the inshore lifeboat crew

“Provided immediate casualty care”

By now the coastguard teams had arrived and assessed the situation. Swanage Coastguard said:

“A coastguard rescue officer descended the cliff and provided immediate casualty care before transferring the climber onto the rope rescue system.

“They were then lowered down together to the lower ledge and lifeboat crew.”

Coastguard vehicle and Air ambulance at Prince Albert Gardens
Kimmeridge Coastguard
Air ambulance at Prince Albert Gardens
Kimmeridge Coastguard

The coastguard and air ambulance at Prince Albert Gardens in Swanage

Given pain relief

At the bottom of the cliff, the injured climber was given pain relief, secured into a stretcher and then put onto the inshore lifeboat.

The woman was then transferred to the larger all-weather lifeboat that was waiting just off the coastline. Once aboard, she was taken into the wheelhouse to warm up and receive further medical care.

Air ambulance at Prince Albert Gardens
Kimmeridge Coastguard
Air ambulance at Prince Albert Gardens
Swanage Coastguard

The air ambulance takes off, heading to Southampton Hospital with the injured climber

Air ambulance at Prince Albert Gardens

The lifeboat headed back to the Swanage Lifeboat Station, where it was met by an ambulance that then transported the injured climber to the nearby Prince Albert Gardens.

Waiting on the grass was the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance. The woman was then taken by helicopter to Southampton Hospital for urgent medical treatment.

Kimmeridge Coastguard added:

“A very well conducted rescue amongst all assets and we wish the person all the best as recovery begins.”

Watch the air ambulance take off

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