Page last updated at 16:09 GMT, Sunday, 15 June 2008 17:09 UK

Driver survives 200ft cliff fall

The man suffered two broken legs while the dog found its way home

A man and his dog were "lucky to be alive" after a 4x4 plunged almost 200ft (60m) over a sheer cliff.

The driver was thrown from the Vauxhall Frontera at Chapman's Pool, near Swanage, Dorset. His calls for help were heard by a crew of a nearby yacht.

It took rescuers about 20 minutes to locate him in thick undergrowth. His dog was thrown out of the vehicle on the way down but has been found unhurt.

The driver suffered two broken legs and is undergoing surgery.

Portland Coastguard was called at about 0830 BST after reports that a 4x4 had driven off a cliff.

A coastguard spokeswoman said: "The man and the dog are lucky to be alive.

"It was a hard rescue and crews had to follow the man's shouts to find him under the thick undergrowth."

The 4x4 plunged halfway down a 400ft (122m) sheer drop and rescuers had to be winched down to the wreckage.

Dog returns

A police officer was also lowered to investigate the car but the cause of the crash is unknown.

A Dorset Police spokesman said: "The man was lying in undergrowth halfway down a cliff at Emmetts Hill between Chapman's Pool and St Aldhelm's Head just after 9am this morning.

"He was found barely conscious by a coastguard cliff rescue ropes team near the crumpled wreckage of his vehicle which had come to rest in undergrowth on a large ledge of the cliff face.

"It is believed the man had been thrown clear from his vehicle in the impact."

Shortly after the 42-year-old driver was airlifted to Poole Hospital a search began for his dog before it was called off.

However, the black New Zealand sheepdog, named Zinzan, later made its own way home and was found underneath the kitchen table, Portland Coastguard said.

Police appealed for witnesses but said there were no suspicious circumstances.

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Bournemouth Daily Echo Cliff drama - 3 hrs ago
Dorset Echo Cliff plunge man lucky to be alive - 3 hrs ago
Yorkshire Post Man and dog survive cliff plunge - 4 hrs ago
Birmingham Post Driver and dog survive cliff fall - 4 hrs ago
Biggleswade Chronicle Man and dog survive 200ft cliff plunge - 15 hrs ago

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