Man's fight to stay alive after terrifying 80ft gorge fall

The volunteers who helped rescue Alexander Catt, from Norwich, from a Welsh gorge on September 8, 2021

The volunteers who helped rescue Alexander Catt, from Norwich, from a Welsh gorge on September 8, 2021 - Credit: South Snowdonia Search and Rescue Team

A Norwich man has described how he managed to keep himself alive until he could be rescued after plunging 80ft down the side of a Welsh gorge.

Alexander Catt bravely allowed his first aid training to take over to enable him to survive alone for eight hours after he fell while in the Coed y Brenin area of Snowdonia National Park.


Alexander Catt, an executive for the Norwich Green Party, who has thanked NHS staff and a rescue teams.

Alexander Catt, an executive for the Norwich Green Party, who has thanked NHS staff and a rescue teams after he plummeted 80ft down a gorge in Wales. - Credit: Supplied by Alexander Catt.



The 24-year-old, who suffered multiple injuries in the fall, including a broken left leg and ankle, praised "amazing" NHS workers as he recovers in hospital from the terrifying incident which happened while he was out walking with his parents while on holiday.

Mr Catt, a Green Party executive from Prince of Wales Road, Norwich, had been on holiday in Wales with his parents when disaster almost struck at about 2pm on Wednesday (September 8).

He said: "I had gone a bit ahead.

"I came to a bit that was incredibly slippery and it took me straight to the bottom - I fell 80ft to the floor."

Mr Catt, deputy manager of Pizza Hut at Norwich's Riverside, sustained a series of injuries in the fall, in a gorge below Pistyll Cain, including two broken ribs, damage to his kidney and spleen, a dislocated shoulder, as well as cuts and bruises and a black eye.

The rescue operation to get Alexander Catt from Norwich out of the Welsh gorge on September 8, 2021

The rescue operation to get Alexander Catt from Norwich out of the Welsh gorge on September 8, 2021 - Credit: South Snowdonia Search and Rescue Team

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After about five minutes of panic Mr Catt, who has first aid training, said he concentrated on trying to keep himself alive.

He managed to drag himself to where there "was some water trickling down" the mountain so he had a "water source".

He said: "I allowed myself to panic for about five minutes and then let my mature-self take over to make sure I do the right thing.

"I've got some first aid experience - the priority was to make sure I didn't go into shock and I got water - that was how I was going to stay alive until someone could find me."

He described how he took off his shirt and used it as a tourniquet to try and stem the bleeding.

Mr Catt also tried and failed several times to call 999 but was eventually able to raise help after moving himself into a position where he could use the what3words app to communicate his exact location to others.

But by the time he was found by rescue teams he had been down there on his own for about eight hours.

The volunteers who helped rescue Alexander Catt, from Norwich, from a Welsh gorge on September 8, 2021

The volunteers who helped rescue Alexander Catt, from Norwich, from a Welsh gorge on September 8, 2021 - Credit: South Snowdonia Search and Rescue Team

He said: "I needed people to find me and so to see them just as it was getting dark was the biggest relief ever - it really was."

When rescue teams finally did arrive, Mr Catt was air-lifted to hospital in Bangor before later being transferred to the major trauma unit at a hospital in Stoke, where he is likely to remain for some time while he recovers.

Mr Catt, who is originally from Hampshire but came to Norwich in 2015 to study law at the University of East Anglia, said: "Every single NHS staff worker has been incredible from day one whether its ambulance workers, mountain rescue, people or workers at both hospitals they have just been so amazing."

Since being in hospital, Mr Catt has written messages on Facebook and Twitter describing how he "came very close to dying" and how grateful he is to rescue teams and medical workers.

He had plans to try and become a Green Party councillor and was due to take part in a hustings in the city next week but knows his political ambitions will have to wait until after he is fully recovered from this ordeal.

The volunteers who helped rescue Alexander Catt, from Norwich, from a Welsh gorge on September 8, 2021

The volunteers who helped rescue Alexander Catt, from Norwich, from a Welsh gorge on September 8, 2021 - Credit: South Snowdonia Search and Rescue Team

But Mr Catt said he has had plenty of messages of support both from friends as well as Green Party members both locally and nationally which he said had been "great".

Jamie Osborn, deputy leader of Norwich Green Party and a city councillor for Mancroft ward, said: "We are all really relieved to hear that after his accident, Alex will be okay and he knows that colleagues and friends are offering to help whenever he needs it.

"We would also like to express our deepest thanks and admiration for the emergency services and NHS staff who helped Alex." 

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