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Lulworth and Durdle Door closed following serious injuries

Lulworth Cove, Dorset

Helicopters landed at the beach in Durdle Door, after 4 people were injured when they jump from the 200 ft tall Durdle Door arch.

Reports show that the jumpers were encouraged by the public on the beach, who were cheering them on.

Following the injuries, the Coastguard arrived and had to disperse the crowds to allow for helicopters to land and help 3 people with critical injuries. Doing so, they were confronted drunk people and BBQ fires.

The beaches at Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove were promptly closed, and the closure continues today.

Here’s a statement from the Lulworth Coastguard Rescue Team:

The pagers sounded at 15:50, Solent asked the team to assist South West Ambulance with a casulty who had been pulled from the sea bed after jumping from Durdle Door.

Also tasked were Lulworth First Responders, Kimmeridge Coastguard,Weymouth Lifeboat, Dorset Police, Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance and Coastguard Rescue 175.

Arriving on scene, the team made their way down the steps to the beach, locating the casualty near to the base of the steps. He was receiving help from the medical professionals already on scene.

Lulworth CRT began to create a landing site for the helicopter. The beach had thousands of people on it and we thank the majority of people who complied with our shouting to clear a helicopter landing site, a very difficult challenge. Helimed landed on the beach.

We were then made aware of a second casualty two thirds of the way around the beach who had also jumped from the door.

Somehow he had managed stagger back to his friends before falling very unwell. The paramedics deemed his injuries very serious and requested that like the first casualty, he be flown to the major trauma centre in Southampton.

Team members and police now had to clear a second landing site for Rescue 175 which had been circling the area.

The beach was cleared, many day trippers now on Scratchy Bottom beach. The second helicopter landed, unloaded their paramedic and stretcher before returning to base to refuel.

The second casualty was carefully prepared for hospital. The first helicopter then left scene, flying at best speed to Southampton.

The police then declared the beach to be closed. The thousands caught in-between the two landing sites now asked to leave the beach.

Our Senior Coastal Operations Officer had been maintaining communications on high ground when a third casualty made himself known to him. He had also jumped from Durdle Door and had serious injuries to his torso. An ambulance crew (one of five on site) dealt with his injuries and took him to Dorset County Hospital on Dorchester.

Rescue 175 was now back on scene and landed again on the beach. The second casualty was loaded on board, and flown to Southampton.

The remaining beachgoers were now asked to leave. The police had to deal with alcohol fuelled minor scuffles, as well as a small but out of control fire from a BBQ.

On returning up the steps, a fourth casualty had identified on high ground above Durdle Door. The lady had a suspected broken ankle and due to gradient of the hill, a stretcher carry out was too risky.

Coastgaurd Rescue 187 from St Athan was sent to the area. They dropped their paramedics on top of the hill, and walked down to the lady.

She was placed in a rescue strop and winched into the aircraft. They flew her to the top of the hill and transferred her to a land ambulance.

After a debrief, Lulworth and Kimmeridge retuned to their stations at about 21:30. The first three casualties had all jumped from Durdle Door, encouraged by the crowds on the beach.

Upsetting scenes like we and many others witnessed yesterday illustrate how very dangerous it is. We couldn’t discourage it enough. Thank you everyone who helped in one way or another yesterday. We wish all the casualties the very best.”

Lulworth Coastguard Rescue Team

We have received a further statement from Kimmeridge Coastguards:

On arrival this soon became apparent that multiple casualties were involved. With Lulworth already on scene and briefing us on the seriousness of this incident we soon set about assisting with clearing beaches for helicopters, managing the huge crowds and cliff top safety. Whilst on scene we were alerted to further incidents unrelated to people jumping off Durdle Door involving a cardiac issue and yet another person with a fractured ankle half way up a very steep coastal path.

This whole scenario became a critical incident with many resources being tied up in what was a very long and difficult multi agency situation. 5 casualties (3 serious), 5 ambulances, paramedic vehicle, 2 CG teams, 3 helicopters(2 CG helicopters and air ambulance), Weymouth inshore lifeboat, Senior Coastal Operations Officer, 4 or 5 police cars ( to assist with crowd management), Lulworth First responders and estate wardens.

The seriously injured were taken to Southampton General Hospital and the ankle injury airlifted by winch to an awaiting ambulance at a suitable landing site prepared by coastguards at the top of the hill then transported to Dorchester Hospital.

We would just like to thank members of the public that co-operated with us yesterday whilst we instructed people away from cliff tops and along the beach whilst helicopters were bought in.

Whilst we appreciate in isolated incidents frustrations were running high, safety is always paramount. Through these difficult times and with covid-19 lockdown measures slightly relaxed our advice remains the same. Think seriously about your actions whilst visiting the coastline.

Try to avoid crowded beaches, act responsibly and sensibly whilst there, go prepared with correct footwear etc. Remember all rescuers are at a greater risk of contracting and spreading coronavirus whilst dealing with casualties due to the difficulties involved in social distancing. Greater strains are put on the NHS and beaches currently not attended by lifeguards. We wish everyone involved in yesterday’s incidents a speedy recovery and as always DIAL 999 ASK FOR COASTGUARD for coastal emergencies.

Kimmeridge Coastguard

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