Woman falls to death while chasing feather

PUBLISHED: 15:30 27 February 2009 | UPDATED: 10:33 10 June 2010

A DAY trip to Budleigh Salterton ended in tragedy on Saturday when a 47-year-old Taunton woman fell to her death while apparently chasing a feather. The woman, known only as Marian, had been visiting the town with her brother when she spotted the feather,

A DAY trip to Budleigh Salterton ended in tragedy on Saturday when a 47-year-old Taunton woman fell to her death while apparently chasing a feather.The woman, known only as Marian, had been visiting the town with her brother when she spotted the feather, while walking along the cliff top at the brow of Coastguard Hill, near the war memorial.The woman suffered serious head injuries and later died in hospital after plunging 60 foot down the cliff face to the seafront concrete path below.It is thought she had leaned over safety railings to get the feather, stumbled on a loose bramble bush, lost her footing and fell. When Exmouth coastguards and paramedics arrived at the seafront shortly before 6pm, they found the woman was unconscious and unable to breathe.Kneeling next to her was her shocked brother.The emergency services immediately got to work, giving the woman artificial respiration.Paramedics used a tandem bicycle to relay vital medical supplies from an ambulance parked near the war memorial. The coastguard helicopter made several attempts to land on the beach before settling onto the pebbles.The woman was airlifted by helicopter to Dorset County Hospital, in Dorchester. She died the following day from her head injuries.Eyewitness Claire Harding, 31, from Budleigh Salterton, watched as paramedics battled to save the woman.She said: "We had been out for a bike ride and, when we came over the cliff, we could see flashing lights."There was a woman there who had fallen. We understand she climbed over railings to get a feather. When she tried to get it, she missed and fell over. It was tragic."I saw them take her off on a stretcher. It was terrible. I can't believe it."A spokesman for Portland Coastguard said: "A woman had slipped down the cliff after she went to retrieve a feather."She had been leaning over to pick up the feather and just toppled over. She received head injuries from which she later died.

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