VIDEO: Mum and son at centre of dramatic cliff top helicopter rescue

A mother has spoken of the terrifying moment her daredevil son was at the centre of a helicopter rescue after he scaled a 39-foot cliff.

Friday, 24th July 2015, 12:00 pm
Kate and Sam Ormsby been rescued after getting stuck on a cliff.

Kate Ormsby and her family, who live in Hebden Bridge, were holidaying in South Brent, near Dartmoor National Park, Devon, when disaster struck.

As they were enjoying a walk on Westcombe Beach last Saturday, nine-year-old climbing enthusiast Sam Ormsby ran ahead and managed to scale the huge cliff.

But 12 metres up, there was no way for Sam, a pupil at Hebden Royd Primary School, to get back down to the beach.

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Kate and Sam Ormsby been rescued after getting stuck on a cliff.

After realising what had happened, Ms Ormsby, 39, tried to climb up to help her son but also became stuck, leaving the pair stranded on a sloping ledge for two-and-a-half hours.

Ms Ormsby, who works as a human rights lawyer, said: “My mum and daughter went around the corner and heard Sam shouting ‘help’ and crying.

“They looked around and couldn’t see him anywhere, but they then saw him right on this ledge.

“My husband and I were just coming back to the beach when they came running round to get us.

Kate and Sam Ormsby

“Out of instinct I started to climb.

“Looking back it was a crazy thing to do, there was a big overhang near the top and I got most of the way up and then got stuck.

“My legs were shaking, I was just trying to reassure Sam and I managed to get up the last bit to him. We had been to Todmorden climbing wall, so I tried to remember what I had learnt.

“We were sitting on this ledge, it was slippy and I was clinging on to him and the rock. I knew we were never going to get down, but I was so relieved to be with him.

“I felt I had made a mistake to try and reach him, but you don’t stop to think in situations like that.

“Sam couldn’t have managed that on his own for two-and-a-half hours. I was trying to distract him by playing I- Spy and I didn’t want him to see that I was frightened.”

Meanwhile, people on the beach tried to get a phone signal to raise the alarm, but Ms Ormsby’s husband, Rich, had to run a mile to the car and knock on someone’s door to use their phone.

The coast guard arrived and the rescue operation got underway, with mum and son escaping unharmed.

“They just couldn’t believe Sam had managed to get up there on his own,” Ms Ormsby added.

“The second they saw us, they said ‘it’s a helicopter job’. They were fantastic and we were rescued by a naval officer who was lowered from a Sea King helicopter flown in from Cornwall.

“We hung on the rope and we were flown back down to the beach, where I had to lie on top of Sam to protect him from sand blasting.

“The coast guard team were absolutely amazing and we are so grateful to them all. Sam was very sorry he had cost the government lots of money and he will never climb without asking a grown up again.

“I just couldn’t believe it had happened. Afterwards, we were left sitting on the beach eating our sandwiches.”

Watch the video to see the moment Kate and Sam were rescued from the cliff.