High drama as fallen hillwalker lands only feet from huge drop
THIS dramatic image shows how a walker, circled, came just feet from plunging to his death.
Gordon Rafferty, 53, lost his footing while descending from a 3,350ft peak in Glen Coe.
He broke an ankle after falling 15ft on to a ledge, but his landing spot saved him from plummeting down an 800ft rockface known as Slime Wall below the summit of Buachaille Etive Mor’s Stob Dearg.
To add to his problems, he then discovered he had lost his phone in the drama. Fearing he could die on the mountain he shouted for help for three hours before other walkers heard him.
The trio – Davy Gardner, Anna Kinter and Martin Stewart – raised the alarm and Mr Rafferty was rescued by helicopter and taken to hospital.
Recalling his ordeal on August 24, the father of one, from Dunoon, Argyll, said: ‘After the drop I was holding on by my fingers. It was really slimy, it took half an hour to pull myself up.
‘I had lost my phone during my fall so I had to call for help. I thought I was going to die, as I didn’t know if I would survive the night with a broken ankle and when the shock came in. I made peace with myself. Luckily those people came around and called the mountain rescue.’
Mr Stewart, from Glasgow, said: ‘He was a lucky guy, because no one else would have seen him that day.’
He described Slime Wall as ‘for expert climbers only’, saying: ‘If he had gone another 12 inches he’d have had a vertical drop.’
A Coastguard spokesman said: ‘We sent the helicopter because of the inaccessibility. He was transferred to land ambulance and taken on to hospital.’
Ordeal: Gordon Rafferty Rescue: A Coastguard helicopter lifts Mr Rafferty to safety