Onlookers call out Gibraltar rescue service for baffled climbers

© Ian Monroe/Wikimedia

A BRITISH holidaymaker and his three sons, aged 15, 16 and 18, were climbing East Side Rock in Gibraltar on Sunday when, around midday, they were spotted by onlookers who called the police believing the group were in trouble.

This report instigated a major rescue operation involving the Fire and Rescue Service and police officers.

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When the climbers were returned to level ground they showed no injuries, at least physically. But the father told GBC news he was incredibly embarrassed, insisting they had not needed to be rescued. He said the group were all seasoned climbers, who had dealt with much harder ascents in the past.


  1. They may have been a bit silly jumping to the wrong conclusion, but better to be safe than sorry, no? Like the time I made an idiot of myself knocking on my Swiss neighbour’s door to tell her that her chimney was on fire, when she’d actually just lit the stove because it was cold. Or when I went to my doctor with a breast lump (not the first or the last time) and it was just a cyst. Or when I nearly rescued a child from the sea the other day who was lying still and floating on his face, and turned out to be just practising swimming underwater. Or like the time a friend of mine let herself into my house with a key because she thought something had happened to me, and I’d just been in bed with a migraine. Imagine if someone died or was seriously injured because you ‘thought you might be overreacting’ and ‘didn’t want to make yourself look stupid’. Which is more important – your own embarrassment, or the life and safety of another person?
    The nationality of the people reporting the climbers isn’t given, so saying they should be ‘deported’ is a bit knee-jerk.
    And the holidaymakers who were climbing didn’t waste emergency services’ time themselves – they were just rock-climbing, which they have every right to do.
    Deporting, punishing or berating someone for mistakenly calling out the emergency services will only make people more afraid to do so in what could be a genuine case.


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