A woman who broke her ankle in a fall on the coast near Weymouth was plucked to safety.

A rescue operation was launched after the woman, aged in her 50s, fell down a set of steps at Ringstead Beach yesterday afternoon.

It proved a difficult rescue as the woman was still on the steps and a decision had to be made how best to get her off the beach and to an ambulance without causing further harm.

Ambulance paramedics and Coastguard rescue teams from Lulworth, Wyke and Kimmeridge were alerted about 2pm. Weymouth inshore lifeboat was launched later to provide assistance.

A Weymouth RNLI spokesman said: "The location of lady on the beach was deemed too difficult for Coastguard and ambulance personnel to carry across, so it was decided to try to use the lifeboat to move the casualty along the beach to the slipway and a waiting ambulance.

"However, once on scene it was decided to change the plan and transfer the casualty directly from the beach straight to Weymouth. On arrival at Weymouth Harbour at 5.10pm, she was handed over to the care of ambulance paramedics for transfer to hospital.

"The lifeboat was then refuelled and made ready for the next shout."

Wyke Coastguard said the casualty was stretchered down the remaining steps using the 'caterpillar' technique - which enables a stretcher to be safely manoeuvred across difficult terrain when it can’t be carried - and transfered to the lifeboat along with a paramedic.