A ‘DRUNK’ man was taken to hospital in the early hours of the morning after falling 20 feet from a river bridge.

The man, thought to be in his 40s, was rescued from the Pendle Water embankment, in Higher-ford by firefighters, after paramedics had struggled to get him back up to the road.

Firefighters said friends dialled 999 after the man fell from the bridge, near the Old Bridge Inn, in Gisburn Road, at about 1am yesterday.

The Nelson fire crew had specialist lighting, and was able to reach the man using ropes. He was conscious, but was taken to the Royal Preston Hospital to be checked for head and spinal injuries.

Watch manager Tom Simpson said: “We don’t know whether he fell accidentally, or was larking about.

“But he was drunk and the police are investigating.

“The ambulance service actually called us because when they got to him, they couldn’t get him back to the road because of the steep embankment.

“We were there for about 40 minutes and were able to carry him back up us-ing ropes.

“It wasn’t very technical, but it worked.”

Chloe Holgate, a teenager from Newchurch-in-Pendle, was left paralysed after falling from the same bridge in 2007.

She and a friend had been sitting on the Higherford bridge parapet when she fell backwards on to the dry riverbed.

She suffered spinal injuries and lost mobility from her chest down, leaving her only able to move her arms, shoulders and thumbs.