Wells Cathedral fall: Woman rescued from bell tower

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Media captionThe woman was winched aboard an RAF rescue helicopter after falling during a cathedral tour

A woman who fell and became trapped on a tour of Wells Cathedral's towers has been rescued by an RAF helicopter.

The woman was winched from 150ft (45m) up after she fell about 20ft (6m) and became trapped in a void between two walls in the bell tower.

The woman, aged 68, was trapped for three hours and suffered hip, arm and leg injuries.

Dr Paul Richards, the cathedral's administrator, said they would investigate how the incident happened.

Image caption Emergency services were called to Wells Cathedral after the woman became trapped between two turrets

A cathedral spokesman said the woman was part of a 12-person tour near the top of the cathedral.

"While the group was undertaking a briefing within this space an incident occurred to one of the party members," he said.

"The cathedral's emergency procedure was immediately put into operation and emergency services are now in attendance, including the air ambulance."

He added that there were no details about how the accident happened but all tours are now cancelled while a review takes place.

Image caption The woman was trapped 150ft (45m) from the ground

The woman was airlifted to Frenchay Hospital near Bristol for treatment.

Marc House, from Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue, said: "She was conscious, she had obviously suffered some injuries so she did have some discomfort but the ambulance service worked very well with doctors as well just to stabilise the lady.

"Because of the height of the operation and the number of specialist crews needed we had a number of potential plans to bring the lady out."

An RAF spokesman said the crew, from Chivenor in Devon, were called at about 13:00 GMT.

He said the rescue team inside the cathedral got the woman up to the roof where she was winched away.

Flt Sgt Robbie Burns said the operation was complicated by the confined space at the top of the cathedral with "the spires so close to the tower".

"Once on board we were then able to take the casualty direct to the hospital for specialist treatment," he said.

Image caption The woman was winched aboard an RAF rescue helicopter after falling during a cathedral tour

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