27/06/2012 13:49 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Toddler Fell Off Cliff - And Mum Dived After To Save Him!

Mum and toddler escape from cliff fall after tot tumbles off and mum dives over to save him! Whitby, Yorks. Pic: PA

Mum Melanie Liu dived off the face of a cliff to save her son Eli after he took a tumble over the edge.

Melanie, 39, was walking with her 19-month-old son along the cliff tops in Whitby, North Yorkshire, at what she thought was a safe distance from the edge. Thick grass hid the sheer drop from view, and although she had a tight grip on the little lad, when he took a step towards the edge, he - terrifyingly - disappeared from view.

"It was just the worst moment of my life, he somersaulted twice and landed on a shrub about 15 feet down," says Melanie, who owns a guest house. "As he dropped I jumped, you just don't think about it at the time. It was a maternal instinct.

"They say your whole life flashes before your eyes but it was his death that flashed before mine, I was afraid of what I would see when I found him."

The mum-of-two managed to break her fall by grabbing grass and digging her nails and stopped beside her son, who had started crying as soon as he landed in the bush. The pair then scrambled up back to safety.

"I grabbed him and laid for ages on that bush, I was shaking that much it felt like hours but it was probably minutes. It is your worst fear," says Melanie.

"I was saying: 'Don't move baby, stay still baby.'"

"Once we got to the top we lay down for a long time. After 10 minutes he was fine but I was in shock and started being sick and shaking, my heart was hammering.

It was around five minutes from when Eli fell until I got him back to safety but it seemed like hours. There are only one or two of those shrubs on the side of the cliff, it is so lucky that he landed on one."

Locals have suggested the grass is too overgrown and should be cut back. Melanie says it should be left for the wildlife, but she warns people to take more care.

"I never once let go of him and thought nothing would happen but the edge is much closer than you think. I won't be going near a cliff edge again with children. I consider myself to be a safety conscious mum, but look what happened."