A MAN in his twenties has been winched off the top of York Minster by a coastguard helicopter and taken to hospital after he collapsed this morning.

Emergency services, including the helicopter, police, and ambulance crews, were called to the Minster at about 11am.

Hundreds of people gathered near the Minster as the drama unfolded.

Many people stopped to watch what was happening in streets around the city centre.

Onlookers saw a red stretcher lowered from the helicopter and a man being lifted from the central tower.

A spokesman for Yorkshire Ambulance Service said: "We were called to York Minster at 10.58 to a medical emergency.

"We sent two Rapid Response vehicles, two ambulances and the Hazardous Area Response team, the Coastguard helicopter also attended.

"A male in his twenties was taken to York Hospital by air."

A spokesman for North Yorkshire Police added: “The man is believed to be a visitor to the Minster.”

The Maritime and Coastgaurd Agency said they were sent in to evacuate the man because the tower is inaccessible to rescue crews.

"UK Coastguard is currently assisting the Yorkshire Ambulance Service with a medical evacuation at York Minster Cathedral," they said.

"Just after 11am (October 5) Yorkshire Ambulance Service requested assistance from the UK Aeronautical Rescue Coordination Centre (ARCC) after receiving a report that someone needed medical assistance at the top of York Minster Cathedral.

"Due to the inaccessible nature of the steeple, the UK Coastguard search and rescue helicopter based at Humberside has been sent to assist with the medical evacuation."