Appledore lifeboat volunteers battled gale-force winds and stormy swells to rescue a woman from Lundy Island.

The Coastguard helicopters was initially called to Lundy Island on Saturday afternoon to evacuate a 65-year-old woman who had falled down some stairs and fractured her femur.

But severe wind conditions meant the helicopter was delayed in taking off and could not land or winch the woman to safety.

Appledore all-weather lifeboat was called out to the rescue, making its way to Lundy through Gale Force 8 winds and ‘very rough’ seas with a 4.5-metre swell.

Tony Merrill, lifeboat operations manager, said: “After initial care from first responders on the island, the woman was attended to by a first aid party from the lifeboat upon its arrival, who made her as comfortable as possible and prepared her for the journey back to the mainland.

“The lifeboat transported the casualty to Ilfracombe, due to the low water conditions at Appledore, and handed her over to the ambulance for her onward journey to the North Devon District Hospital, where she had an operation on Tuesday and is said to be recovering well.

“The casualty care demonstrated by the crew was excellent and the crew performed outstandingly throughout the eight-hour operation.”