Drama . . . a sightseeing trip almost ended in tragedy for a South Grafton teenager yesterday. PHOTO: TREVOR VEALE
Drama . . . a sightseeing trip almost ended in tragedy for a South Grafton teenager yesterday. PHOTO: TREVOR VEALE

Red Rock drama as teen falls 30m

By CRAIG McTEAR

A SOUTH Grafton teenager survived a perilous fall at Red Rock Headland yesterday.

Luke Welsh, 18, was visiting the village for the day with his two mates.

The trio was on the headland exploring and sightseeing when Luke lost his footing and fell up to 30 metres at about 12.20pm.

He landed at the base of the cliff, onto the sand below, but it would be almost two hours before he could be removed from his precarious situation.

Emergency crews comprising police, SES, ambulance and NSW Fire Brigades personnel rushed to the scene.

One of Luke's companions, Scott Craythorn, also 18, climbed down the steep cliff to be with him, followed later by an ambulance officer, who attended to his injuries.

Scott dragged Luke away from the potential danger of being washed onto rocks, and to the relative safety of a crevice beneath the cliff.

Friends atop the headland threw down towels, which Scott placed under Luke's neck and leg to make him more comfortable.

Woolgoolga Surf Club lifesavers were tasked about 1.30pm and they arrived on the scene in their inflatable rescue boat.

Two Woolgoolga Surf Club members, armed with a rescue board, jumped out of the IRB, while a Red Rock/Corindi lifesaver stayed behind.

Woolgoolga club president Les Pepper and his colleague, Kurt Mavin, battled the rough surf to the bottom of the cliff to assess the best way of rescuing Luke.

They had hoped to place the teenager on the board and whisk him to safety, but that wasn't feasible because of rough conditions.

Les swam back to the IRB and took over the controls and rapidly advanced through the waves to the beach at the bottom of the cliff.

"We put him into the IRB then took him around to Little Beach," Les said.

"He was fine."

A waiting ambulance vehicle took Luke to Coffs Harbour Health Campus, where he was treated for a broken ankle, cuts and concussion.



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