Date of Incident

15/08/2015

Country

Wales

Incident

Dreamboat Annie is a relatively small sea cliff about 12m tall which requires abseiling into for access. My partner and I arrived at the crag to find a group with an abseil line in place. They allowed us to use their rope and so we abseiled down, but noted that the line could not be weight tested until we had climbed over the edge. We thought this was not great and triple checked our systems before going over. Another group turned up and again used the same line. However, one guy was so busy chatting that he did not double check nor weight test his set-up before climbing over and leaning back. He fell to the ground (nearly on top of me) because he had forgotten to attach his belay device but very fortunately he had attached his prusik knot. His prusik and burning his hands slowed his fall and he ended up in a gully, which is probably what saved him from broken bones or spinal damage. Shortly after he nearly passed out. He could not climb out due to his badly hurt hands so someone called the Coastguard who took him to hospital. We happened to pass them the next day on a walk and know that it was only damage to his hands that he suffered from the chance second encounter.

Lessons

I believe that the principal causes of the incident were firstly that the abseil line could not be weighted until you had committed to climbing out over the crag. The others were that he did not check what he was doing and was distracted. In addition, we knew the set-up was not safe and should have addressed this with the group earlier. Finally, I thought something was not right in the final moment with how he was attached, although I couldn't see well, and should have shouted out - we must always speak up rather than risk the consequences.

Activity

Trad rock climbing

When

Descending

Injury

Serious injury requiring medical treatment

Causes

Abseiling error

Anonymous?

Yes

Reported By

Observer

Wearing Helmets?

Yes

Rescue Services Involved?

Coastguard - picked up the injured by boat and took him to hospital