Mother and son escape unhurt after toddler falls over cliff side

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A MUM-OF-TWO has told how she jumped off a cliff edge to rescue her 19-month-old son after he fell over the side while they were chasing butterflies.

Melanie Liu, 39, and her youngest son Eli escaped unhurt after he fell 15 feet down the cliffside at Spion Kop, Whitby.

She said that thick grass and vegetation at edge of the cliff made it seem to her that they were two feet away from the edge, when in fact they were much closer.

The mother-of two, who runs the nearby Argyle Guest House with her husband Bill, 44, had a firm hand on the hood of Eli’s jacket while they were looking at butterflies. As the child took a step towards the edge, a distance she though was too close, he disappeared over the side.

She said: “It was just the worst moment of my life, he somersaulted twice and landed on a shrub about 15 feet down,”

She knew that at the bottom of the cliff - after another 50 feet there is a concrete car park.

“As he dropped I jumped, you just don’t think about it at the time. It was a maternal instinct.

“They say your whole life flashes before your eyes but it was his death that flashed before mine, I was afraid of what I would see when I found him. I know what was at the bottom of that cliff. It was a terrifying moment,” she said.

Eli’s mother managed to break her fall slightly, grabbing grass and digging her nails and stopped beside her son, who had started crying as soon as he landed in the bush.

“I grabbed him and laid for ages on that bush, I was shaking that much it felt like hours but it was probably minutes. It is your worst fear” she said.

After a few minutes she brought Eli back up to the top of the cliff and safety. “It was around five minutes from when Eli fell until I got him back to safety but it seemed like hours.

“There are only one or two of those shrubs on the side of the cliff, it is so lucky that he landed on one,” she said.