Kitten distracted man who fell from Hornsea cliffs - “I am lucky to be alive”

19-06-13'Leigh Westerman has survived a 40ft fall from a cliff in Hornsea on Sunday.'PICTURE: MATTHEW PAGE
19-06-13'Leigh Westerman has survived a 40ft fall from a cliff in Hornsea on Sunday.'PICTURE: MATTHEW PAGE
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A man who fell 40 feet down a cliff after being distracted by a kitten says he is lucky to be alive.

Leigh Westerman, 29, of Normanton, had to be airlifted to hospital after the dramatic fall near Hornsea on Sunday night.

NEWS RELEASE''''16th June 2013''''HORNSEA COASTGUARD RESCUE OFFICERS INVOLVED IN RESCUE OF FALLEN MALE''''Hornsea Coastguard Rescue Team has been involved in a rescue of a male after he fell from the top of a 40 foot high cliff in Mappleton, East Yorkshire.  ''''Hornsea Coastguard Rescue Team (CRT) received the call at 20.54 on 16 June 2013 from Humber Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) to assist with an injured male. The Hornsea CRT quickly attended the scene and established that the male had fallen approximately 40 feet from the top of the cliff to the beach area below. The team then assisted paramedics and a Doctor on scene. ''''The search and rescue helicopter based at RAF Leconfield was also requested to attend the incident. The Hornsea Coastguard Rescue Team also secured a beach landing area while the winchman assisted the doctor and paramedics.''''The casualty was transported by stretcher by the Coastguard Rescue Team and medics to the waiting helicopter.''''This incident involved Humber MRCC,

NEWS RELEASE''''16th June 2013''''HORNSEA COASTGUARD RESCUE OFFICERS INVOLVED IN RESCUE OF FALLEN MALE''''Hornsea Coastguard Rescue Team has been involved in a rescue of a male after he fell from the top of a 40 foot high cliff in Mappleton, East Yorkshire. ''''Hornsea Coastguard Rescue Team (CRT) received the call at 20.54 on 16 June 2013 from Humber Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) to assist with an injured male. The Hornsea CRT quickly attended the scene and established that the male had fallen approximately 40 feet from the top of the cliff to the beach area below. The team then assisted paramedics and a Doctor on scene. ''''The search and rescue helicopter based at RAF Leconfield was also requested to attend the incident. The Hornsea Coastguard Rescue Team also secured a beach landing area while the winchman assisted the doctor and paramedics.''''The casualty was transported by stretcher by the Coastguard Rescue Team and medics to the waiting helicopter.''''This incident involved Humber MRCC,

He spent three days in hospital recovering from broken ribs, a broken cheek, broken vertebrae in his back, as well as cuts and bruises.

Mr Westerman, of Park Green, said: “The doctors said I was very lucky to be alive after falling from such a height - and if I had fallen another five metres to the right, I would have landed on some metal bollards.

“I was walking along a path on the cliff top, it was about three or four feet away from the edge. I saw a kitten on a lower cliff playing in a drainpipe so I bent down to look at it.

“That’s the last thing I remember - I must have blacked out. The next thing I knew I was at the bottom.”

His friend raised the alarm and a rescue team was scrambled by Humber Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre at around 9pm.

Mr Westerman said: “I can’t remember much because I kept slipping in and out of consciousness.

“At first I thought I was going to be alright but then I heard the helicopter land and then I knew it was serious.”

Hornsea Coastguard Rescue Team secured a beach landing area for the helicopter while the winchman helped the doctor and paramedics.

Mr Westerman was taken to Hull Royal Infirmary. He returned home on Tuesday night but it could take months for him to recover.

Chris Cook, of Hornsea Coastguard Rescue Team, said: “This rescue involved Humber Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre, Hornsea Coastguard Rescue Team, Yorkshire Ambulance Service and Humberside Police.

“This demonstrated how the emergency services work closely together.”