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2011-09-01 10:57:22
Tralee rock climber falls 60ft from cliff
By KEVIN HUGHES - The Kerryman
Wednesday August 31 2011
AN experienced Tralee rock climber had a narrow escape after falling over 60 feet from a cliff face in the Gap of Dunloe on Sunday afternoon.
Denis Tangney, who has over 20 years experience in climbing in the Gap of Dunloe, suffered broken ankles as well as rib and back injuries after falling into a boulder field close to Póirse Gully. The area is on the western cliffs which are accessed close to Black Stream Bridge.
Mr Tangney also suffered head injuries which were less serious and he remains in Kerry General this week where he has undergone minor surgery. His condition is described as serious but not life-threatening.
The area in question is approximately 300 metres from the Gap Road and attracts some of the world's top rock climbers due to the wide range of climbs on offer. The challenging rockfaces have grown in popularity and have only been in regular use since the 1980s – they are noted for their difficulty and rough terrain.
The incident occurred at approximately 4pm and the first members of the mountain rescue team, who had been close to the area, arrived on scene within half an hour to administer first aid.
The Irish Coastguard helicopter was dispatched from Waterford and 20 members of Kerry Mountain Rescue helped lower Mr Tangney around 100m down a steep gully by stretcher to a point where he could be airlifted. Fully conscious, he was transferred to Kerry General Hospital at around 6pm.
Speaking afterwards, Kerry Mountain Rescue Team PRO Damien Courtney said the incident had been the team's most serious in recent months despite a number of call-outs throughout a busy summer season, including a fatality in the Kenmare area.
"This was the 11th call-out since the beginning of July but as 90 percent are hill walkers they don't tend to be as serious and are usually lower leg injuries. We treated this as life-threatening as there were head and back injuries and, thankfully, he survived."
- The Kerryman
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