Rescue operation on Sunday at Layde Churchyard near Cushendall

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A RESCUE operation took place at Layde Churchyard near Cushendall on Sunday.

A report was received of people being trapped and it is understood a woman had fallen over a cliff into a crevice and a male had gone to assist her, leaving two people trapped.

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Fire crews from Cushendall, Ballymena, Carnlough and Specialist Rescue firefighters were tasked to the scene.

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Coastguard Teams from Ballycastle, Larne and Coleraine attended to extract both  from the cliff face and Northern Ireland Ambulance Service sent fast response paramedics together with an ambulance.

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The operation concluded about 6pm.

It took almost two hours to extract the woman believed to be in her 40s, from the crevice.

After being treated by ambulance crew, coastguard personnel secured her with ropes and harness and hoisted her 25 feet up to the graveyard at Layde Church where she was prepared for the ambulance journey and emergency care.

Ballycastle Coastguard Station Officer Dan McAuley, told Belfast Live: “We got a call about 4.03pm and with a lot of help from our colleagues in the emergency services, the lady was brought to safety and the operation was brought to a close at 5.55pm.

“She had suffered head and facial injuries and is now being looked after by staff at Antrim Area Hospital.

“She had fallen about 25 feet, firstly to one area and from there further down into a river gully and there was no way her family could get to her safely and without risking falling further.

“It must have been frightening for them all but the response was fast and efficient. The ambulance personnel who got to her before we did, were fantastic and deserve credit for assessing and treating her injuries, ensuring she was as calm as possible and making her comfortable until we were able to extract her.

“The additional difficulty was that this lady fell about 4pm just as light was starting to fade and so we had to carry out the work in the dark.

“We practise rope rescues a lot so when an operation like this happens in real life we know exactly what we’re doing and it went according to plan using full rope rescue techniques.

“It took about two hours in total and the lady was pretty cold by the time we got her safely into the ambulance.

“Layde Church is a beautiful area but it’s pretty rough terrain and we were lucky nothing worse happened. We wish the lady well in her recovery.”

PICTURES KEVIN MCAULEY/MCAULEY MULTIMEDIA.

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