SECOND TRAGEDY ON NORTH COAST THIS WEEK: Man dies while climbing on Fair Head near Ballycastle

The emergency services at Fair Head. Picture: Coleraine Coastguard.

A MAN in his 60s has died after he fell while climbing at Fair Head near Ballycastle.

Police, HM coastguard, Air Ambulance, Red Bay RNLI, NIAS, and HM Coastguard rescue helicopter from Prestwick were involved in the operation this afternoon.

He was declared dead at the scene.

A police spokesperson said: “Police can confirm that the body of a man was recovered from cliffs at Fair Head near Ballycastle on Thursday 18th June. The man’s death is not being treated as suspicious at this time.”

Commenting on the callout Red Bay RNLI Coxswain Paddy McLaughlin said: “This is a difficult location to access and both lifeboats stood by on scene to offer any assistance from the water if needed.

“Fair Head is a popular area for walkers and climbers at this time of year and we respond to a number of callouts in this area each year.’

North Antrim Sinn Féin MLA Philip McGuigan said the local community have been shocked and saddened by the death.

He said: “The local community have been shocked and saddened by the death of a man in his 60s as a result of a fall from cliffs at Fair Head.

“I want to pay tribute to the rescue services who were involved in the operation to recover the man’s body.

“My thoughts are with the family, friends and loved ones of the man who has lost his life at this difficult time.”

Alderman Joan Baird (Ulster Unionist) expressed her sincere sympathy to the family and friends of the man who lost his life.

Alderman Baird said: “I was very sorry to hear of the tragic accident when a man has lost his life whilst climbing at Fair Head. I want to send my deepest sympathy to his family and friends.

“I know our community here in Ballycastle will be shocked and saddened by this tragic event and I speak for everyone here sending our thoughts and prayers for his family.

“Fair Head is a beautiful place and attracts climbers and walkers from far and wide but it can prove treacherous as it has today.”

Sinn Féin  councillor Cara McShane said: “Ballycastle has once again been plunged into darkness and utter sadness, with another tragic accident.

“It is also the second tragedy on the north Antrim coast in as many days, with the loss of a young life near Dunluce Castle on Tuesday evening.

“Coastguard services were called to Fair Head around lunchtime today, an area which is popular for rock climbing. Unfortunately, it seems that there was nothing that could be done to save the man’s life, who I understand was in his 60s and an experienced rock climber.

“I want to commend the quick response of all of those within the Emergency Services including the NI Air Ambulance; Prestwick search and rescue; the Coastguard; Cushendall Lifeboats; police; ambulance services and all of the blue light services who attended the scene this afternoon.

“The thoughts and prayers of all of us in this community again are with a family and many loved ones, who have been left with so much anguish and pain this evening.”

SDLP councillor Margaret Anne McKillop said: “The local community was deeply shocked and saddened to learn that an elderly man had fallen from a considerable height and tragically lost his life.

“This death is a tragedy and my thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones through this most difficult time.

“I want to commend the emergency services for their efforts. I would urge everyone to take extra care and show caution around the coastal areas at all times.”

An ambulance spokesperson said: “The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service received a 999 call at 1.07pm following reports of an incident at Fairhead Road, Ballycastle.

“NIAS despatched two Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) crews, one Rapid Response Paramedic and one Emergency to the scene. The Charity Air Ambulance with HEMS crew on board were also tasked to the incident.”


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