St Agnes Head cliff plunge driver trapped overnight

A 56-year-old woman has been rescued after being trapped overnight in her car when it plunged over a cliff in north-west Cornwall in misty weather.

The car rolled several times down the 300ft (91m) cliff at St Agnes Head before coming to rest on a ledge metres from a large drop.

Falmouth Coastguard said the woman had been there since Monday afternoon.

She was airlifted to the Royal Cornwall Hospital after being winched up the cliff.

Ben Stafford, from Truro, said he had been out jogging with his wife and friends at about 09:00 BST when they spotted the car.

'Missed the road'

He said: "I saw a car perched on the edge of the cliff where it shouldn't be.

"I climbed down to the car and there was a woman in the passenger seat, to my shock.

"She said she was here yesterday at about 4pm and it was really misty.

"She said she missed the road and started to tumble down the cliff and got thrown on to the passenger seat while it was tumbling down.

"By the grace of God she stopped just by the cliff edge."

Mr Stafford said he had stayed with the woman until rescue teams arrived and kept her calm by talking about "mundane things".

The operation to get her to safety took several hours and involved teams from St Agnes and Newquay, a rescue helicopter from RMB Chivenor, police officers, firefighters and paramedics.

A spokesman for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said: "Coastguard rescue officers on scene were able to establish that the 56-year-old woman inside the car was injured but conscious and that the vehicle had gone over the cliff the previous day.

"The car was secured in place by the coastguards and fire and rescue officers and the woman was then extracted from the vehicle."

Mike Pulley, station manager at the National Coastwatch Institution, said the cliffs in the area were 300ft high.

Mr Pulley said: "The cliffs round here have got quite a bit of a slope, they are not sheer cliffs and that may well have saved this driver."

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