A teenager suffered serious injuries after plunging 15ft off a harbour wall when she was attacked – by a seagull.1seagullThe 18-year-old was airlifted to hospital with suspected spinal injuries after falling off the pier when she panicked as the gull tried to steal her ice cream. The incident took place at Smeatons Pier in St Ives, Cornwall, on Tuesday afternoon.

St Ives Harbour Master Steve Bassett confirmed she was attacked by the bird while sitting on the edge of a wall on the pier. He said: ‘She was sat eating an ice cream and a seagull came down from above I think she panicked and fell off the pier. People sit on the pier all the time enjoying an ice cream – it is what you do on holiday. I hope her injuries are not bad.’

The teenager was put into the inshore lifeboat so she could be transported to the air ambulance, which had landed on a beach. She was then flown to the Royal Cornwall Hospital.

Photographer Chris Oates was at the harbour master’s office when he saw the incident . He said: ‘There was a young 18-year-old girl sat eating an ice cream near the harbour master’s office on Smeaton’s Pier. I saw some gulls attacking holiday makers and then they had a go at her and she just fell four to five metres.’