Man killed and 12 others injured during coasteering adventure

A man in his 40s has died and twelve other people injured after a 'coasteering' adventure went tragically wrong.

A large-scale search and rescue operation was launched between Dancing Ledge and Hedbury Head on the Dorset coast around 3.30pm on Sunday after a group of people got into difficulty in the water and shouted for help.

Emergency services have only just revealed details on the tragedy.

Coastguard rescue teams, RNLI lifeboats, the coastguard helicopter, paramedics and police officers were called.

Dorset Police confirmed this morning that a man in his 40s was pronounced dead at the scene.

The deceased man, who was on a trip organised by Dorset Coasteering, developed breathing difficulties a short time into the arranged outing.

He fell unconscious while in the sea but despite being given first aid was pronounced dead at the scene.

His body was recovered from the water and taken to the clifftop by members of the lifeboat crew.

Eight people were rescued from the water by the lifeboat and taken ashore where they were checked over by paramedics.

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Several other people in the coasteering group, including two instructors, were also given a check-up at Swanage Lifeboat Station.

Despite the scale of the incident, and the fact a person died, none of the agencies involved made it public.

The local Daily Echo made enquiries yesterday following a call from a concerned member of the public.

A spokesperson for Dorset Police said "At 4.24pm on Sunday, we received a report from the coastguard about a group who were believed to have been involved in coasteering whereby one member got into difficulties at Dancing Ledge near Langton Matravers.

"Sadly one member of the group, a man in his 40s, was pronounced dead at the scene.

"His next of kin have been informed and the coroner notified. The death is not being treated as suspicious."

The coroner has also been notified.

Coasteering involves braving a rocky coastline by climbing, jumping, and swimming, without the aid of boats or surf boards.

It's popular along the Dorset, Devon and Cornwall coasts because of their rocky outcrops and challenging seas.

Several outdoor activity providers run coasteering sessions.

A coastguard spokesperson said: "HM Coastguard co-ordinated a large search and rescue operation between Dancing Ledge and Hedbury Head after a large number of people were reported to be in the water in difficulty.

"Several reports came into the coastguard at around 3.30pm on Sunday from members of the public and fishing vessels reporting a group of about eight to 10 people in difficulty in the water and shouting for help.

"Swanage and St Albans Coastguard Rescue Teams, Swanage RNLI Lifeboats and the Lee-on-Solent Coastguard helicopter have all were all sent to the area and a number of nearby vessels responded to assist.

"The South Western Ambulance Service, HEMS and Dorset Police were also on scene.

"It is believed the casualties got into difficulty whilst coasteering and it was reported that they had lifejackets on.

"Eight people were recovered from the water by the lifeboat and a ninth casualty was recovered to the clifftop by two of the inshore lifeboat crew.

"In total twelve casualties, including three instructors, were taken to the nearby boathouse for medical assessment."

South Western Ambulance Service confirmed they sent teams of paramedics following a call at 3.32pm.

A spokesman for Dorset Coasteering said: "We are extremely saddened to confirm that man who was part of a coasteering group at Hedbury Quarry developed breathing difficulties and fell unconscious while in the water shortly after beginning the activity.

"Despite being quickly rescued from the sea by our instructor and given emergency first aid on the shore, very sadly he could not be resuscitated.

"No one else was injured during the incident and the rest of the group were transported back home safely later that day."

They added: "The fact that it was not possible to save him will remain with us all for a very long time.

"At present we are unaware what triggered his breathing difficulties to the extent that he could not be revived, no doubt this will be confirmed in due course by the authorities."

The incident took place on Sunday but despite the scale of the incident, and the fact a person died, none of the agencies involved made it public at the time.

Dorset Police has since confirmed the death is not being treated as suspicious.

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