By Paul Thornton
A NINE-YEAR-OLD girl was airlifted to hospital earlier today(Tues) after a dramatic 60ft plunge down a cliff.
The youngster was out walking with her gran when she slipped down the embankment at Ravenscraig Castle near Kirkcaldy in Fife at around 2pm.
Paramedics raced to the scene and were able to get to the girl who they feared had suffered a suspected broken leg.
Rather than try and recover her themselves, they decided to call in a helicopter to airlift her directly from the scene.
A crew from HMS Gannet was diverted from a training mission and picked up the youngster before transporting her to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary where a waiting ambulance ferried her to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children.
Paramedics said the girl arrived at the Sick Kids at around 3.50pm where she was being treated for a fractured femur.
They had no further details of any other injuries.
A police spokesman said: “We received a call at 2.08pm from a member of the public saying that a nine-year-old had slipped down the embankment at Ravenscraig Castle. Paramedics were able to reach her but found she had a badly broken leg.
“It appears to have been a slip, we believe the child has went off the path for some reason and simply slipped.
“It appears that she had been walking with her gran.”
A Scottish Ambulance Service spokeswoman added: “She fell approximately 60ft from an embankment. We asked for an MoD helicopter to attend and she is now at the Sick Kids Hospital.
“We believe that she suffered a fractured femur and other than that there is no indication of any other injuries.
“However it is quite possible, given the height of the fall, that she did suffer other injuries.”
A Royal Navy spokeswoman said: “A helicopter crew from the HMS Gannet attended an incident at Ravenscraig Castle near Kirkcaldy.
“They were asked to look for and lift a nine-year-old faller. They did locate and lift her to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary from where she was transferred to the Sick Kids by ground ambulance.
“The crew were diverted from a training exercise at 2.25pm and landed at Edinburgh Royal infirmary at 3.25pm.”
A council worker from a park nearby, who didn’t want to be named, said she saw the family and spoke to them before the accident.
She said: “The family were lovely, I think they were from the west coast. The mum and gran were there, and the girl and two other girls, they might have been her sisters.
“I gave them some sweeties. One of the wee girls was wearing a long blue dress and a tiara, like a princess visiting the castle.
“She must have fallen at the kitchen area of the castle as it’s the only bit with no fence.
“There was a very quick response, police, fire, ambulance and then the helicopter came very quickly.
“The girl’s mum went down and spoke to her as they waited for help.
“The health and safety people from the council were there too to see what had happened.”
Passer-by Davie Simpson, 26, from Kirkcaldy, Fife, works offshore as a heli-deck operator and saw the chopper arrive.
He said: “I was at my mother’s house at 2.30 when I heard the helicopter coming in, I recognised the sound as a 61 model Sea King.”
“I used to climb on the rocks around the castle when I was a kid. There is a steep embankment which is not fenced off.
“I go to the castle with my three year old daughter and I always keep a close watch on her.
He added: “It’s a shame, I hope the wee lassie is alright.”
It is the second time in as many weeks that a child has been airlifted to hospital following a fall in Fife.
On June 25 a 12-year-old boy needed to be rescued after falling off a rope swing in woods near Dunfermline.
The youngster suffered a broken leg in the incident and paramedics were concerned that he could have injured his spine.
A spokeswoman for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) said that parents should warn their children about the dangers of playing outside but added that some accidents could not be prevented.
ROSPA’s Joe Stagg said: “Summer holidays are a great time for children to get out and about and experience the good weather.
“Getting out and about is a great way for kids to learn about risks and learn skills that are going to stay with them for the rest of their lives.
“Bumps and bruises are going to happen and they are not necessarily a bad thing. We encourage parents to talk to their children at the start of the summer holidays about where to play and there are places which should be avoided.
“Parents know best what the specific risks are in their area and they should talk to their children about these but we would encourage parents to enable their children to get out and about.
“Most of the things kids get up to in the summer holidays are fine and are very important for their childhood development.”
Bob Abercrombie, Watch Manager, Forth Coastguard said: “This was an unfortunate accident at the start of a family holiday. We hope that the girl’s injuries are not too serious and that she makes a full recovery.
“The school holiday’s in Scotland have started and we would like to advise the public of making sure that you take care whilst at the coast, heed warning signs and ensure that you take adequate precautions for the activity that you are undertaking.”