A Scots walker has spoken of his close shave with death after getting cut off by the tide on his local coastal path.
Matt Haliday only had an ‘hour to live’ by the timer rescuers reached him during the incident earlier this year.
Armed with essentials, including his phone and suitable clothing, he never suspected he’d be left in a life-threatening situation.
But, after being left exhausted following several hours of walking rugged terrain, he was suddenly cut off when a heavy storm hit.
His next move left him fighting for his life after taking shelter in a nearby cave.
Sharing his story as a warning to others, he said: “I’d failed to pay attention to the tide so I was cut off and getting soaked and cold. I didn’t want to cause a fuss so I thought I’d shelter by some caves and wait it out.
“I thought I can handle this, but that was the wrong thing to do because avoiding making a small fuss turned it into a huge big fuss.”
Left shivering from the cold, Matt took refuge against the rocks when he began to lose consciousness.
In a lucky twist, Matt was jolted back awake when a mud slide ‘the size of a large builders’ bag’ hit his head and he quickly realised he needed help.
He added: “I must have been unconscious but when the mud slip hit, the weight of it felt like my head was going to pop. By now it was dark. I knew I needed help.
“I could barely move but managed to crawl out across the rocks and eventually got a weak phone signal. I called 999 and asked for the Coastguard and got cut off, but they phoned me back.
“I was just about able to tell them where I was and the relief when I saw the blue lights a short time later was incredible so I shone my phone torch so they could see me.”
His call sparked a huge emergency response as coastguard teams from Stranraer, Portpatrick and Ballantrae raced to the scene, along with the RNLI, a search and rescue helicopter from Prestwick and paramedics.
Wading through a flooded path, the rescuers eventually reached Matt – who was suffering from hypothermia.
The keen walker was rushed to safety by the helicopper before being taken to hospital for treatment – with rescuers later revealing he only had an hour to live.
Matt said: “I was told later that I had less than an hour to live had the rescuers not come to my aid. I am just so grateful and I’m exceptionally lucky to live to tell the tale.
“I never want to put myself or my family through that again. It’s a lesson learned and in future, I’d definitely make that 999 call earlier.”
Senior Coastal Operations Officer Richard Morgans said: “It doesn’t matter how well you know an area and even the best prepared of people can still get caught out on our coasts.
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“Luck was just not on Matt’s side that day and it was a combination of small events that led to the perfect storm that caught him out.
“We’d say that if anyone’s in trouble around our coasts at any time of the day or night, just give us a call on 999. Even if you don’t think it’s life-critical, a situation can escalate in seconds and that call could just save a life.”