A MAN has been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter after his climbing companion died after falling from a coastal cliff.

The 51-year-old man was thought to have been abseiling from the 375ft high cliffs at Kettleness Point, near Runswick Bay, North Yorkshire, when he fell on Friday (July 18).

The incident was reported at 11.20am and the man, who has not been named but is believed to be from the Cleveland area, was airlifted by RAF Sea King helicopter to James Cook Hospital in Middlesbrough where he was pronounced dead.

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His companion, another man in his 20s from Whitby, was detained by officers from North Yorkshire Police. He has since been released on bail while inquiries continue.

It has been suggested that the men were collecting Whitby jet but it has not been confirmed by police.

Runswick Bay Rescue Boat service was called out on initial operation and again this afternoon (Monday, July 21) on request of HM Coastguard.

A spokesman said: “Three crew members carried out a search of the area and collected some rope and other pieces of evidence for police.

“It is not an area we would recommend climbing in.” Police are appealing for any walkers who may have been on the Cleveland Way, or in the Kettleness and Runswick Bay area from 10.45am onwards to contact them.

A North Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said: “The area is popular with walkers and the Cleveland Way coast path goes through the village of Kettleness.

“Anyone passing through at the time may have vital information which could help the investigation.

“It is believed that at least two walkers were seen in the area around the time the incident happened, we are appealing for them to come forward.”

Temporary Detective Superintendent Steve Smith, added: "This is a tragic incident involving two climbers who appear to have got into difficulty, resulting in the death of one of them.

“A full investigation is underway to establish exactly what happened.

“The family of the dead man are being supported by specially trained officers at this time.”

Atticus Flynn, 20, who works at the Royal Hotel Runswick Bay, which overlooks Kettleness Point, said: “I have been abseiling on lower cliffs in Runswick Bay before with my dad, but never over there – it doesn’t seem like a good place to climb.”

The incident was attended by North Yorkshire Police, Staithes and Whitby Coastguard and Runswick Bay Rescue Boat.

Anyone who was in the area the time can contact North Yorkshire Police on 101, select option 2 and ask for Scarborough CID.