A rock climber who fell from cliffs near Rinsey Head had to be airlifted to safety last night, with the full skills of the helicopter pilot coming in to play.

The alarm was first raised just before 7.20pm, when Penlee Lifeboat was scrambled by Falmouth Coastguard to reports of a fallen climber.

The RNLI’s Severn Class Lifeboat ’Ivan Ellen’ launched immediately under the command of Coxswain Patch Harvey and six other crew members, arriving on scene in just under 20 minutes.

Using searchlights and a thermal imaging camera, the lifeboat started a shoreline search from Rinsey heading east, and located the casualty on the east side of Trewavas Head.

Penlee Lifeboat contacted the coastguard rescue teams from Penzance and Porthleven, and kept searchlights on the casualty. At the same time the coastguard search and rescue helicopter was tasked.

The casualty had suffered chest and leg Injuries after falling while rock climbing and needed immediate hospital treatment.

Search and Rescue Helicopter 924 arrived on scene and landed in a field behind Trewavas Head, before two of the helicopter crew worked with the coastguard rescue teams to stabilise the climber and prepare him for a helicopter transfer to hospital.

Around 30 minutes later the helicopter re-launched and, using a high line, lifted the casualty and crew thanks to some skilful flying very close to the cliff, before making its way to Derriford hospital in Plymouth.

A spokesperson for Penlee Lifeboat said: “During the whole incident the Penlee Lifeboat volunteer crew continued to provide valuable lighting using searchlights and provided safety cover below.

“The coastguard rescue teams, the search and rescue helicopter crew and the Penlee Lifeboat all worked well together giving the casualty the best treatment to recover from the injuries sustained.”

Penlee Lifeboat arrived back in Newlyn and was made ready for service again at 10pm.