A dog walker has warned 'It could happen to anyone' after his partner was left in critical care for five days following a cliff fall.

Chrissy is now fully recovered, but it could have been very different ending after she plunged 25ft down a cliff in west Cornwall.

Now she and partner Paul have provided a timely reminder in partnership with HM Coastguard, as the Easter holidays get underway, over how unpredictable the Cornish coast is – and how you could suddenly find yourself in grave danger in a split second.

It was back in September 2019 when Chrissy fell, just one mile from her home. She and Paul had been walking their dogs on a narrow cliff path at Cape Cornwall, near St Just, when a freak wave crashed against the rocks.

The noise startled one of their dogs and as the frightened dog bolted, Chrissy lost her footing and disappeared over the cliff edge.

Paul made his way to Chrissy and found her lying unable to move. The couple had left the house that day without a mobile phone and had no way of calling for help.

Chrissy carried on a stretcher by coastguards. Picture: HM Coastguard/Chrissy/Emergency Rescue: Air, Land & Sea

Chrissy carried on a stretcher by coastguards. Picture: HM Coastguard/Chrissy/Emergency Rescue: Air, Land & Sea

Fortunately Paul managed to flag down two passing walkers who rang 999 and asked for the coastguard. The crew of the Newquay Search and Rescue helicopter arrived on the scene and winched Chrissy to safety.

Chrissy has now fully recovered but spent five days on a critical care ward having broken her neck, her shoulder and a number of ribs as well as sustaining injuries to her head and lung.

Paul said: “We are experienced cliff walkers which goes to show this could happen to anyone. The cliff likely gave way because of recent rain fall and I would urge cliff walkers to carefully check pathways.

“We now always take a fully charged mobile phone with us when we go walking and I often stop to tell others to be careful if I see them taking unnecessary risks such as posing for photographs close to the cliff edge or walking with their dogs not on a lead along cliff paths.

Chrissy being winched into the helicopter supported by a coastguard officer. Picture: HM Coastguard/Chrissy/Emergency Rescue: Air, Land & Sea

Chrissy being winched into the helicopter supported by a coastguard officer. Picture: HM Coastguard/Chrissy/Emergency Rescue: Air, Land & Sea

"We no longer walk on cliff paths that are too close to the edge as it only takes a second to fall over.

“Our heartfelt thanks goes out to the crew from the search and rescue helicopter and the fabulous surgeon and NHS staff who helped Chrissy after the fall, we will be forever grateful for all they did.”

Chrissy's rescue went on to feature in the first series of Emergency Rescue: Air, Land & Sea on Channel 4, now available on catch up on All4.

Chrissy with her dogs, now recovered. Picture: HM Coastguard/Chrissy/Emergency Rescue: Air, Land & Sea

Chrissy with her dogs, now recovered. Picture: HM Coastguard/Chrissy/Emergency Rescue: Air, Land & Sea

A spokesperson for HM Coastguard said: "If you’re going to the coast, make sure you check the Covid-19 rules for your area and the area you’re intending to travel to and that you have a way of calling 999 to ask for the Coastguard if something goes wrong.

"Like Chrissy, anyone can get caught out at the coast, so if you’re making a visit this Easter, please take extra care."

  • Stay away from the cliff edge, stick to the coastal path and keep your dog on a lead
  • Take a fully charged phone
  • Check the weather and conditions before heading out, tell someone your plans and don’t take unnecessary risks