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A DAREDEVIL schoolboy is recovering in hospital after plunging 100ft over a cliff.

James Minter, 15, broke his leg and spent four hours trapped between rocks before being spotted in the early hours yesterday by a helicopter's heat seeking camera.

The lad had set off on Saturday to go "rock hopping" on the 200ft cliffs near his seaside home.

James, who is not an experienced climber, slipped on loose scree in the dark and fell halfway down the cliff before getting stuck in a tiny gap between boulders. His mum and dad raised the alarm at 9.30pm when he did not return to their home in Portland, Dorset.

A coastguard rescue team and Weymouth lifeboat began an immediate search.

But when heavy mist rolled in the coastguard helicopter was scrambled from Lee-on-Solent.

At 1.18am its infrared camera located James just 20ft from a three-man rescue team. He was winched aboard and taken to hospital in Dorchester, where he was said to be stable last night.

Coastguard watch manager David Gregory said James was lucky to be alive. Without the cameras "they could easily have missed him in the darkness".

He added: "The area is very popular with sport climbers.

"It appears he was rock hopping below the edge of the cliff.

"Undoubtedly if he had fallen from the cliff edge he would have been killed. Luckily he fell only part of the way down and did not fall onto the beach."
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Copyright 1999 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Lakeman, Geoffrey
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Sep 13, 1999
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