The Coastguard helicopter and rescuers at the scene, with avalanche debris in the foreground. Photo: Cockermouth MRT

The Coastguard helicopter and rescuers at the scene, with avalanche debris in the foreground. Photo: Cockermouth MRT

A walker was lucky to survive after falling more than 650ft on a Lake District mountain.

The man came to rest on avalanche debris just metres above a near-vertical drop into a gully on Pillar.

The walker, described by rescuers as experienced and well equipped, suffered multiple injuries when he fell more than 200m from near the summit of the 892m (2,927ft) fell on Thursday afternoon.

Cockermouth Mountain Rescue Team was called out 2pm and requested the help of a Coastguard helicopter. The Great North Air Ambulance Service helicopter also flew to the scene.

A team spokesperson said: “Rescue helicopter 199 from Prestwick was initially unable to winch the casualty from his precarious position, but they airlifted team members and equipment from the valley floor to the summit of Pillar, from where they were able to descend to the casualty’s location some 250m below.

A view of the scene on Pillar showing the fall line of the walker, with the gully bottom left. Photo: Cockermouth MRT

A view of the scene on Pillar showing the fall line of the walker, with the gully bottom left. Photo: Cockermouth MRT

“The casualty was assessed at the scene and after being moved a short distance out from Pillar Rock, was prepared for a helicopter winch evacuation. Rescue 199 lifted him from the mountain and he was transferred to Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle.”

Team leader Andrew McNeil said: “This was a fairly serious job high up on Pillar, in full winter conditions.

“The casualty was well equipped and prepared, but had taken a long tumbling fall through steep difficult ground and was probably saved by old avalanche debris which finally stopped him, metres before the edge of a long, near vertical drop into West Waterfall Gully.

“Our thanks go to the Great North Air Ambulance and the crew of HM Coastguard Rescue 199. Without their help, the rescue would have been incredibly difficult with a strenuous and lengthy evacuation. All three organisations demonstrated great communications and co-operation in treating and evacuating the casualty as quickly and safely as possible.

“The team wishes him a speedy recovery.”

The 3½-hour rescue involved 22 team volunteers and was Cockermouth MRT’s sixth of the year.

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