A Cape Breton teenager is recovering in a Halifax hospital after she fell 20 metres off an icy cliff this weekend.

Jim Taylor, chief of the Glace Bay Volunteer Fire Department, said it could have easily been a fatal accident.  

"She's very lucky to be alive," he said Monday.

Jessica Walsh

Jessica Walsh is recovering after she fell 20 metres off an icy cliff this weekend. (Submitted)

Volunteers with the department rappelled down the ice-covered cliff to rescue Jessica Walsh, 17. She landed on ice. She was screaming when rescuers got to her.

"Very lucky she didn't hit her head. [She was] semi-conscious; she was able to say a few words," he said.

"I think she landed in a weaker spot of ice. Next to her was jagged ice and on the other side was open water, which was oozing up. She was very lucky."

Walsh had surgery for a broken leg, pelvis and fractured shoulder. A family member said she’s in stable condition and with her parents.

The teenager was attending a social event in the area and went for a walk, but got too close to the edge in the darkness.