I was phoned a few days ago by several of the media for my input on the awful accident in the lakes where one of the rescuers fell on a rescue and was badly injured. As the papers say sadly his injuries are life changing. This will be an awful time for his family and friends. It is even worse with the Covid regulations and the travel to mountain area being severely restricted. I did not comment and join the debate this was unusual for me and left it to others to. Sadly in amongst the comments you get the usual awful statements from the “key board warriors” many with little knowledge.
My heart goes out to the Patterdale team the family of the injured rescuer. It is a teams worse nightmare for all involved. As a RAF Mountain Rescue Team leader I was always worried of this happening to me and my team. Mountain Rescue is and can be very dangerous I know that only to well. My best results after 40 years involvement in some of the wildest conditions was that all came home safely.
This was always a huge worry we had slips and fall and one time a team member carrying a split stretcher on a rescue was picked up by a huge gust on to his back in winter. The stretcher then acted like a sledge and he hurtled down the slope. He was battered but okay I watched it and could do nothing to help. There were many other times when we were out on weather that few would venture. Someone I feel was watching us?
Yet during that same period we lost Two civilian MRT team leaders Harry Lawrie of the Killin team leader was involved in a helicopter crash on a rescue on Ben More and was killed. In the same incident my good pal Ian Ramsay was also badly injured along with the RAF Winch-man Mick Anderson that awful night. They both had life changing injuries. Next morning at first light we recovered the casualty who they were looking for she was also killed. I was amazed that the whole Killin Mountain Rescue Team joined us next morning for that search high on Ben More.
A few years later on Seanna Braigh the Assynt Team leader Phil Jones was killed on a training exercise by an avalanche. During my time in the RAF Rescue I was the Mountain Rescue expert on a Board of Enquiry for a team member who fell on a training exercise in the Mamores. We learned some lessons from that event.
Sadly accidents happen these are hard times for all. I have not been near a big mountain since Covid started it’s a big loss to me and many others. Yet those who live near the hills can still get their “highs”on the mountains and wild places. Most are taking great care and being sensible as always.
This was from the BBC news after the accident when a Rescue member of the Paterdale Team in the Lakes fell on a rescue.
The rescue volunteer was airlifted to the Royal Preston Hospital. The camper was taken to Carlisle Infirmary with chest pains but was later discharged.
Cumbria Police said the £200 fines issued to the men who had travelled to the area was the “only legal penalty available” in the circumstances.
Assistant Chief Constable Andy Slattery said the visitors had breached Covid rules by travelling together in the same vehicle and camping on the fells.
“I’m sure they are extremely remorseful for their actions,” he added.
“Set Covid aside, anybody who ventures up in the fells can have an accident and anybody who has accident can’t foresee what was likely happen to the mountain rescue.
“That doesn’t lessen the anger and the frustration that people feel about this but they had no way of knowing that would happen.
“The county is still under an enormous amount of strain and we are asking people not to take unnecessary risks, to stay low level if they can, stay local when they are exercising.
“This isn’t the time to be taking risks.”
BBC news “
It’s a very sad event and we are all thinking of the injured Rescuer and his family. There is a fund set up to him and his family.
Never take any of the Rescue Agencies for granted. As a wife of a long serving Rescuer and Team Leader of of one of our biggest teams once told me. “She never slept till he and the team was back of the hill from a Rescue”’ Few realise that the families bear the brunt of any accident and worry for us all the time.
Stay safe out there and think at time’s that if we have an accident coming to help are mainly unpaid volunteers who do this to help those in trouble.