Two North Yorkshire Police officers, who used an old fishing rope to descend 100 feet down a sheer cliff to try and rescue a man who had landed on the rocks below, have been nominated for the National Police Bravery Awards.
Once PC Steve Merritt and PC Mandir Xherija had got down the craggy rockface in Scarborough on 10 October last year, they administered emergency CPR to the man as the incoming tide began to rush in.
PC Xherija was the first to respond to a call that a member of the public had found an abandoned rucksack and mobile phone on the clifftop.
The member of the public calling was concerned that someone might have left it there before deciding to jump from the cliff edge.
Given the location, PC Xherija had had to park his response vehicle someway from the scene, but he sprinted across neighbouring fields to get to the cliff.
Once the officer had reached the cliff, he looked down to see if he could see anyone on the rocks below before venturing out on a precarious piece of the ridge to get a better view.
PC Xherija could see what looked like the arm of a person poking up between the rocks.
Realising the person was in serious trouble, he decided to use an old fishing rope embedded in the cliff to lower himself 100 feet down to the ground, an act that put his own life at risk.
Once the officer made it safely to the ground, he found the unconscious man and performed CPR on him.
PC Merritt then arrived on the scene and used the fisherman’s rope to scale down the cliff.
A Coastguard rescue helicopter had been scrambled and was on the way.
While the officers waited for the helicopter, they continued to perform CPR on the man for around an hour and a half in challenging and dangerous circumstances.
By now, the tide was beginning to come in, and the surrounding rocks were starting to get extremely slippy and hazardous as the sea lashed around them.
However, the courageous officers refused to give up on the man and continued in the cold until the helicopter could winch him to the top of the cliffs.
The Coastguard told the officers that it was too dangerous for them to scale the cliff using the rope, so they too were eventually winched off the rocks.
Unfortunately, the injuries from the fall proved too severe for the man, and he sadly later passed away.
A spokesperson for North Yorkshire Police said:
‘This was an incredible attempt to save a life by our colleagues who were absolutely determined to do everything they could for this man, despite the conditions and the risk to their own safety as the tide rushed in around them.
‘They should be incredibly proud of what they did that day – as we are of them.
‘Year-on-year the Police Federation of England and Wales receive nominations for officers across 43 force areas for the National Police Bravery Awards – officers who have put the safety of others before themselves.
‘From running into burning buildings, wading into deep waters, tackling armed offenders, being shot at, stabbed, driven at, the list goes on.
‘And as nominees, PC Merritt and PC Xherija will attend an awards ceremony in London in early December 2021 where their dedication to duty will be recognised in the presence of senior officials in government and policing.
‘A big congratulations and thank you to PC Merritt and PC Xherija, and to all other very worthy nominees across the country, for their nominations and incredible acts of bravery.’
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