A teenager sparked a dramatic rescue operation after he plunged 30ft down the sheer cliff of a quarry following a prank gone wrong.
The youngster was trying to get out of a haulage yard but jumped into Dawber Delph Quarry in Appley Bridge at around 1am on Saturday.
He ended up precariously perched on a tiny ledge clinging onto a tree around 20ft above the freezing water and was fortunate to escape with only minor injuries.
Police helicopters had to use thermal-imaging cameras to find him in the darkness before a firefighter descended the vertical cliff face on a rope to winch him back to safety.
Four teenagers got into the yard at Fayle Plant Hire on Skull House Lane but then ran when the alarms sounded.
One of them climbed onto a container and then jumped off the other side of it, not realising there was a sheer 50ft drop into the quarry.
He slid down the embankment but had his fall broken by the tree, which he managed to grab hold of until the emergency services arrived.
Police and firefighters worked together to ensure he was rescued from his extremely exposed position.
He was treated by ambulance crews and escaped from his ordeal with only cuts to his legs.
All four teenagers were spoken to by Lancashire Police and taken home. Arrangements were made for them to visit the station with their parents to speak to officers.
Watch manager Gareth Gray from Wigan fire station said: “It was quite hair-raising. The cliff was quite steep and he was very lucky.
“The tree has saved him from going into the water. I would imagine he was quite shocked when he jumped over the edge.
“The police showed us where he was straight away and we set up our specialist rope rescue gear and sent one crew member over the edge to winch him back up.”
The dramatic incident occurred just a short distance from East Quarry, which has been plagued by problems with teenagers swimming in the water and jumping off the cliffs.
Tragedy struck at East Quarry last year when 14-year-old Miracle Godson drowned there, but despite repeated warnings of the dangers trespassers are still gaining access.