A ROCK fisherman, who spent five hours clinging to a cliff face at Cape Byron before being rescued late on Sunday night, last night remained in hospital with severe head injuries.
In a dramatic night time operation, members of the Brunswick Volunteer Rescue Association had to abseil 100m down a rocky cliff face to get to the 66-year-old man and bring him to safety.
As the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter was on other duties at the time, the EMQ rescue chopper was called in to provide assistance.
After spending five windswept hours on the rocky cliff face, the man was winched to safety on a stretcher and taken to hospital at around 10pm, according to the EMQ Helicopter Rescue base manager Greg Beer.
The night rescue was "remote and hazardous" and had to be performed with the aid of night vision goggles, Mr Beer said.
"They were crucial to the safety of the winching event," he said.
Mr Beer said members of the Brunswick Volunteer Rescue Association were also crucial to the rescue.
"We couldn't have done it without them; there was no end to their assistance on the ground," he said.
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After the initial fall, the friend went to call for help, but when he returned he found the victim had taken another tumble even further down the cliff face, Mr Beer said.
In total, the victim fell about 100m.
The Brunswick VRA crew of eight were among the first on scene, along with police and ambulance personnel, about 5pm on Sunday.
"We got someone down there as quickly as possible to asses him, and to secure him," she said.
The VRA sent another two men down the cliff who were joined by a paramedic and a rescue crewman from the EMQ team.
Rescuers manoeuvred the man into a safer position a further 10m down the cliff, where he was able to be safely winched up to the helicopter on a stretcher.
The patient is in the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane a serious condition.
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