THE 77-year-old paraglider who smashed into the cliff face at Eype has thanked the emergency services and passers-by who saved his life.

Richard Sheridan was badly injured when he careered into the 180-feet high cliff face near the Highlands End Holiday Park at the end of May.

Horrified members of the public ran to sit on his parachute canopy on the cliff top to stop him plunging down the sheer drop.

His hip was dislocated and the socket joint smashed in the accident and after a hip replacement he is still walking with crutches.

But the retired pilot says he will be taking up his hobby again when he is completely fit because he loves being in the air.

Mr Sheridan, who was a Royal Navy pilot with the Fleet Air Arm and a civilian pilot for 40 years, was airlifted to safety by the Portland -based coastguard helicopter.

He spent some time in hospital at Dorchester before being transferred to the Frenchay Hospital at Bristol.

He has formally thanked the rescue services who came to his aid, but wants to pay tribute to the quick-thinking good Samaritans on the clifftop who helped him.

He said: “I don’t know who those people are.

“I assume most are cliff-walkers, but I would just like to say thank you to them for their quick actions, which almost certainly saved my life.”

Mr Sheridan, from South Petherton in Somerset, said he had been enjoying his flight on the early evening of May 28 when things started to go wrong.

“I had got to a place where there was turbulence – and I knew there was turbulence – it was my fault,” he admitted.

“My wing collapsed and I swung round a spur of rock and went into the cliff. As I saw it coming I thought: ‘This is going to hurt.’ “I was extremely lucky.”

Mr Sheridan admits that his wife was not very happy with him after the crash.

“She said she was thinking of nailing my feet to the floor,” he confessed.