POLICE in East Lothian are urging teenagers to be cautious when camping this summer after two boys fell 25ft from a cliff edge.
A 16-year-old was left with serious head injuries after the accident in the Tantallon Terrace/Haugh Road area, near the Glen Golf Club in North Berwick. His friend, 17, suffered serious arm and shoulder injuries after falling trying to help him.
Officers were called to the incident at about 12.30am on Wednesday morning where they found the younger boy unconscious.
A major multi-agency rescue operation was launched that included three local coastguard rescue teams, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, the Scottish Ambulance Service and the North Berwick RNLI lifeboat. The North Berwick Coastguard rescue officers worked with paramedics to stabilise the casualties and a specialist medical team provided advance, pre-hospital care.
The 16-year-old boy was airlifted to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary as it was too unsafe to carry him to an ambulance in his condition. The rescue took around two hours.
The older boy was taken to the same hospital for treatment by ambulance.
Five other teenagers who were camping with the two boys witnessed the incident.
Chief Inspector Steven Duncan said: “It’s completely understandable that, with the warm weather here and the summer holiday’s upon us, our young people will want to enjoy their freedom.
“However, I cannot emphasise strongly enough the need to do this safely. Walking near cliff edges in the dark is hugely dangerous. If you are injured, it requires a significant emergency service response to locate you and it takes longer to get you to hospital for treatment.
“This was a very distressing incident for the five other male and female youths that the two boys were camping with, who saw their friends fall from a cliff edge, and for their parents who were told in the night that their sons had been seriously hurt.
“The message to our young people, in particular, is simple – if you are near a cliff edge or water then you must be cautious at all times. Your safety should always be your number one priority.”
Chair of North Berwick Community Council Claire Mackenzie told the Evening News: “It’s a very rare incidence for anyone to fall off as the path veers away from the edge of the cliff.
“We are very sad to hear what’s happened and we hope they have a speedy recovery. Our thoughts are with the families of the young people involved at this time.
“We are conscious that a terrible incident has happened here and the Community Council will take part in any discussions about what can be done.”