Woman, 37, miraculously survives after plunging 60ft off cliff and breaking back

A woman who plunged almost 60ft off a cliff and broke her back has told how she miraculously survived.

Rebekah Crawford slipped during a coastal walk with family near Lamorna Cove in Cornwall in June last year.

The 37-year-old, who suffered severe injuries and spent five days in hospital, said she was walking on a narrow path “not much more than a foot width” when her left ankle “just twisted” and she fell.

Rebekah said: “My head hit this slab of rock and the noise and the pain. I’ve just never felt anything like it. It went through my whole body.

“I didn’t realise at that point that I’d actually fallen 56ft down the cliff. I remember that awful feeling of falling and there was nothing underneath.

“I was trying to claw at the grass. My head hit the rock on the bottom, which was really painful.

“I remember hearing my sister scream.”

Her sister Debs said: “It’s like something you see in the movies – a body just free falling bouncing off rocks as she went.

“And I remember looking over the cliff and thinking, ‘oh my God my sister’s dead’.”

After calling 999, Cornwall Air Ambulance was sent to the scene.

Debs added: “I distinctly remember the helicopter overhead and the Cornwall Air Ambulance came into view and I remember breathing a sigh of relief, thinking ‘thank God for that’.”

Because of the steep cliffs and loose terrain the helicopter had to land on a headland some distance away.

Critical Care Paramedics Pete Storer and Jeremy Griffiths made the rest of the journey on foot with all their medical equipment.

They were joined by a doctor from BASICS and the Land’s End Coastguard Rescue Team.

Pete Storer, Critical Care Paramedic, said: “It’s definitely one of the most hazardous areas I have worked in.

“There was only space for four people, we were confined to a tiny ledge suspended precariously above a sheer drop of over 100ft on to rocks.

“Reaching Rebekah it was obvious she was in a great deal of pain.

“We suspected she had a spinal injury and were concerned about internal bleeding from such a significant fall.

“Due to the location we knew an aerial winch was the only way to get Rebekah off the cliff safely.”

The crew secured Rebekah and their equipment safely to the cliff while they waited for the search and rescue helicopter.

The coastguard helicopter crew winched Rebekah from the scene and transferred her to Royal Cornwall Hospital.

Rebekah was taken for a CT scan which revealed a head injury but no bleed.

She suffered six lumbar fractures but was fortunate not to need surgery.

She said: “I thank God that day.

“If I’d fallen two feet further over I’d have gone right off the edge.

“I remember thinking it was surreal – I was so scared being winched by the helicopter.

“The crew were just incredible, I owe my life to them.

“The doctor said they rarely attend someone who falls that distance and survives.”

Rebekah was moved to West Cornwall Hospital where she works as a physiotherapist.

She spent five days in hospital and had to walk with a frame and crutches for several weeks.

She returned to work in September but she has yet to walk on the coast path since the incident.

“It was one of the most scary things that’s ever happened to me but also really put life into perspective,” she added.