A FORMER lifeguard who broke his neck and fractured his back in four places after jumping off The Cobb in Lyme Regis remains in a serious condition in hospital.

Gus Courtney, who is believed to be in his 30s and grew up near Lyme Regis, dived into shallow water last Tuesday at the north side of the Cobb when he hit an underwater ledge.

Mr Courtney was airlifted to Dorchester Hospital before being transferred to Southampton General Hospital, where he remains.

A man believed to be Mr Courtney's brother reported to the News' sister paper in their hometown of High Wycombe that his brother is 'seriously ill', but the family are keeping their fingers crossed he won't be paralysed.

He said that his brother is a confident swimmer, and having grown up near Lyme, they spent much of the summer jumping off the Cobb.

The tide was unusually shallow last Tuesday due to the neap tide, which creates a shallow high tide, and when Mr Courtney dived into the water he hit the ledge, hidden beneath the surface of the water.

A spokesman for South Western Ambulance Service said: "We received two calls from members of the public regarding the incident at Lyme Regis on June 5. The first call was received at 3.34pm, at which point a total of four resources were dispatched to the scene, including the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance, an emergency care practitioner and ambulance crew from Bridport, and the Fire Service responders.

"Our thoughts are with the family at this difficult time."

Emergency services including an Air Ambulance helicopter, police, fire, Portland Coastguard as well as a crew from Lyme Regis RNLI were called to the scene on June 5.

Mr Courtney was pulled unconscious from the water after being dragged along the sea wall. His mother was said to be at the scene.

A spokesman for Dorset Police said: "One of our officers was with the man's mother, who was obviously upset and quite shocked."

Sarah Cole, a spokesman for Southern General Hospital in Southampton, said the injured man was currently being cared for by medical staff and was said to be in a stable condition.