'Sleeping man' dies in cliff fall

A man has died after after apparently falling asleep on a cliff top and rolling off.

Portland Coastguard said that they were alerted to the incident by a "very shaken" member of the public who reported seeing a man fall from the cliff top at Swanage around 8:45pm on Sunday night.

The report suggested that a man who appeared to be asleep on the cliff top had woken up and rolled off the cliff top.

It appeared that he had fallen from either Dancing Ledge or further up at Guillemots Cliff or ledge.

The Coastguard helicopter was scrambled and the Swanage and St Albans Head Coastguard Rescue Teams were turned out. Both Swanage RNLI lifeboats were also requested to launch.

A person was sighted in the sea shortly after 9pm, 500 metres east of Dancing Ledge, by the helicopter crew and he was retrieved by a Coastguard winchman.

The man, who has not been named, was flown to hospital where he was declared dead.

Jim Anderson, Coastguard Watch Manager, said: "The cliffs at this part of Dorset's coastline are very high, over 110 metres, quite spectacular, but obviously present a real danger to the unwary, however the Police have taken away a number of items from the cliff top, and there are indications that this may have been the end of a very sad story."

The cliff is very well visited by sport climbers and there are some steeper routes on the sea-level roofs. The Maritime and Coastguard Agency said that the cliff was often busy and popular with climbing beginners.


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