When two British tourists set out to explore the Fethiye region last week they had no idea their sightseeing expedition would turn into an hours-long ordeal.
Fifty-two year old British man Gareth Soden and his son Scott landed in Fethiye on April 27, intending to spend a week in the sunshine, exploring the region.
The duo have been holidaying in the same spot for the last eight years and know the area well.
On Friday the pair rented quad bikes, intending to explore the mountains behind the town. However, at around 4pm Gareth lost control of his vehicle on Boncuklu Bay Road and it plunged down the face of a 70-metre cliff.
As he plummeted towards the water below, Gareth managed to leap clear of the vehicle, grabbing onto some rocks 20 metres down the cliff face. While clinging on for dear life he realised that he was badly bleeding from the blows he’d sustained to his head and shoulder as he jumped from the vehicle.
Scott, who had been following his father and witnessed the accident, tried to climb down the cliff to reach him but was thwarted by the terrain. He jumped back onto his quad bike and set off for help.
A fire rescue team quickly arrived at the scene and, using ropes, managed to reach the injured man. However, due to Gareth’s loss of blood they were unable to rescue him.
The fire team then called in the Search and Rescue Association and the National Medical Rescue team. The teams arrive around the same time and began the challenging rescue mission.
While the teams worked to recover the injured man, Gareth was quickly deteriorating. Repeating his son’s name, he complained of thirst. The rescue teams connected the father and son via walkie talkies and sprinkled water on his lips.
Finally, two hours after the accident, the determined rescue teams managed to overcome the difficulties posed by the crumbling, steep cliff face and strapped Gareth to a stretcher. They pulled the man 20 metres to the top of the cliff, using a winch attached to the ambulance.
As the injured man reached the top of the cliff, the rescue teams realised he’d lost consciousness. A quick examination showed that Gareth’s heart had stopped. The teams rushed him to the top of the cliff and administered CPR for 10 minutes, restarting the man’s heart.
An eyewitness who was picnicking nearby and saw the accident said Gareth was lucky to have grabbed the rocks. “He could have died if he had fallen all the way down.”
Gareth is receiving treatment at a Fethiye hospital.
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