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Location map: The climber fell down Sgurr Choinnich Mor which is located to the East of Fort William in Scotland

Those who watched in horror never expected him to survive the dramatic 1,000ft mountain fall.

But not only did Adam Potter apparently cheat death, he then somehow managed to get to his feet and stand up.

It is claimed the climber then took out a map from his rucksack to work out his location, before being rescued by the crew of a Navy Sea King helicopter.

Mr Potter was finally winched to safety and taken to hospital where X-rays revealed the 35-year-old had three fractures to his back. He also had whiplash and a bruised face.

His apparent survival defied all the odds, his astonished rescuers said.

As he continued to recover in hospital yesterday, the amateur climber spoke of his extraordinary brush with death and insisted he would press ahead with plans to conquer Everest.

Mr Potter, who was climbing with his girlfriend and two others when he fell, said: 'I reckon I hit the side about half a dozen times altogether on the way down. I don't remember much of it, but I must have gone in all directions – head first, feet first, on my tummy.

'I'm pretty sure my rucksack saved my life. It stopped my head hitting the ground. I looked in my bag later, and my saucepans were all dented and my food supplies were all smashed.

'I remember that, on one of the cliffs towards the end, I'd managed to lose some speed. When I reached the lip and saw what was over it, I just thought, "That's it".'

Mr Potter had just reached the summit of the 3,589ft Sgurr Choinnich Mor mountain, east of Ben Nevis, Scotland, when he is said to have lost his footing at 2.30pm on Saturday.

He, his girlfriend and their two friends were 'Munro Bagging' – the aim being to climb all of the listed Munro mountains in Scotland which stand at more than 3,000ft high.

He claims he plummeted a third of the way down the craggy eastern slope of the mountain, before finally landing on a nook in the cliff.

His fellow climbers, who had celebrated reaching the summit only moments before, immediately alerted the emergency services.

A Royal Navy Sea King helicopter was scrambled to the scene. When they saw Mr Potter standing up and reading his map they assumed they had missed their intended casualty and retraced the path back up the mountain.

But as they did so they discovered his kit littering the mountainside in a vertical line where he had fallen and realised the man reading the map was their casualty.

'It was definitely a very close thing – I can't believe I fell 1,000ft and did not have any broken arms or legs,' added Mr Potter, from Glasgow.

'It really sunk in when I was in the helicopter and one of the guys said they thought they were just going to pick up a body.

'They told me I had gone over three major cliffs on the way down, each one over 100ft.

'I think I was knocked out by the end of it, and kind of lost a bit of my memory. I wasn't sure if I'd gone over one hill or two or what, so I was trying to get my bearings. I think I'd gone into autopilot.

'I remember thinking I didn't really want a helicopter – I'd already tried to put my rucksack back on to climb back up and carry on. But when I tried again to lift it on to my shoulders, that was when I realised the pain I was in.'

A paramedic was winched down to check Mr Potter, who was said to be 'shaking from extreme emotional shock and the sheer relief at still being alive'.

He was winched on board the helicopter and then transferred to hospital in Glasgow.

Lieutenant Tim Barker, the Sea King's observer, said they had given up all hope when they heard how far he had fallen.

'We began to hover-taxi down the slope and spotted a man at the bottom, standing up,' he said. 'We honestly thought it couldn't have been him, as he was on his feet, reading a map. Above him was a series of three high craggy outcrops. It seemed impossible.

'He must have literally glanced off the outcrops as he fell, almost flying.'

Lieutenant Barker added: 'He is lucky to be alive. It's hard to believe that someone could have fallen that distance on that terrain and been able to stand up at the end of it, let alone chat to us in the helicopter on the way to the hospital.

'Really an amazing result – when we realised the details of where he'd fallen, we did expect to find the worst-case scenario.'


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