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96-year-old trapped after Hastings landslide
A pensioner had to be freed from his shop after rocks trapped him inside following a landslide.
Emergency services from across Sussex were called to jewellers Shiptons and Co in White Rock, Hastings, on Saturday afternoon after a rock fall caused damage to the back of the shop.
The 96-year-old, who has been named locally as Mr Shipton and lives in the maisonette to the rear of the shop, used a whistle to draw attention to himself.
It is not thought that he suffered any injuries.
Instant commander Paul Way from East Sussex Fire and Rescue said the rocks scaled up to 120ft above the garage next to the maisonette where Mr Shipton was trapped.
Police closed off White Rock Road and evacuated everyone within ten metres of the incident at around 12.30pm and four shops remain closed on safety grounds.
The closest specialist rescue team was on its way down from Essex, when Mr Way made the decision to go ahead with the rescue due to fears for the man's health in the wet and cold weather.
Mr Shipton was freed by 4.30pm.
Madeline Parr, manager of the nearby Arthur Green's Antiques, said: "Mr Shipton is a dear, charming man, and I'm just so glad he's alright.
"At 96, he still opens the shop every day, it's amazing really.”
Jo Philpott, who lives six doors down from Shiptons and Co, said: "At about 12.30 I heard a big bang and felt the vibration. Initially I thought it was a gas explosion.
"But then I heard the sirens and knew that something was wrong.”
The landslide caused traffic disruption along the seafront, with emergency diversions being put in place.
Following the incident, Inspector Lee Lyons said: "Thankfully, this gentleman was in the right place at the right time as far as being in the shop was concerned.
“He was cut off by the rock fall, but was able to talk to colleagues from the fire service who had to work very carefully to free him due to the risk of further collapse of the building or more rock falls.
“They were successful in doing this after a couple of hours and he emerged safe and well.
"A structural engineer has now visited the site and is concerned about the safety of four of the buildings in the area, so they are being cordoned off in order that further examination can take place.”
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