A seriously injured climber was plucked from a cliff-face after a fall yesterday.

The man fell about 5m (15 feet) on to a ledge while abseiling about 9pm last night at Porthlethen, south of Aberdeen. He was with a companion when his fall left him stranded 25m (80ft) above the North Sea.

A coastguard cliff rescue team abseiled down to the stricken climber but decided not to lower him off the cliff because of his suspected spinal injuries. A search-and-rescue helicopter, called from RAF Lossiemouth, rescued the man from the ledge in an operation described as ‘complicated’.

Coastguard members and two lifeboats from Aberdeen also stood by as the operation was carried out.

The climber and his companion were airlifted to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary about 10.30pm. The second climber’s injuries were described as minor.