Rescuers and the Coastguard helicopter at the scene. Photo: Dartmoor SRT Ashburton

Rescuers and the Coastguard helicopter at the scene. Photo: Dartmoor SRT Ashburton

A walker was rescued in a major operation after she fell 65ft on to rocks in a Dartmoor gorge.

Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton team members were called out to the upper Dart Valley after an ambulance crew requested help with the incident near Bellpool Island.

Rescue team volunteers walked from the Newbridge car park with the necessary equipment to help paramedics at the scene.

A team spokesperson said: “The lady had sustained multiple injuries in the fall and was lying on rocks close to the river edge.

“It was quickly determined that assistance would be required from Rescue 924, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency S-92 search and rescue helicopter based at Newquay to relay the lady to hospital.”

The injured walker was treated at the site before being transferred on to a vacuum mattress as a precaution against any potential spinal or neck injury.

The spokesperson said: “Due to the narrow gorge and tree cover, a safe place needed to be found from which to winch the lady on to the helicopter.

“We train frequently in the area and had previously identified likely areas for winch evacuation. Members of our rope team rigged rope systems to help transport the casualty safely up the valley side on our stretcher to above the treeline from where the helicopter returned to winch the casualty onboard and onwards to Derriford Hospital.”

Rescue team members at the rescue site in the Dart Valley. Photo: Dartmoor SRT Ashburton

Rescue team members at the rescue site in the Dart Valley. Photo: Dartmoor SRT Ashburton

The operation lasted about six hours.

Dartmoor SRT Ashburton’s duty search manager said “The Dart Valley is always a challenging area to rescue people from, and this was quite a difficult one and took several hours. We wish the lady a speedy recovery.”

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