Dramatic rescue of seriously ill walker in Cheviot Hills

The MCA rescue helicopter at the scene on Hedgehope Hill.
The MCA rescue helicopter at the scene on Hedgehope Hill.

Mountain rescuers have praised a passing walker's actions for helping to save a man's life after he became seriously ill on a remote hillside in Northumberland yesterday.

The lone man, who was drifting in and out of consciousness, was found in the Cheviot Hills by the walker, who provided immediate care and called emergency services, setting into action a dramatic operation by mountain rescue teams and a coastguard helicopter.

At 11.30am, the Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue Team and North of Tyne Mountain Rescue Team responded to a request from Northumbria Police to assist. At the time, the exact location of the walker was unknown, although he was believed to be on Hedgehope Hill.

The volunteer teams were deployed immediately by one of the incident officers to meet in the Harthope Valley.

SARLOC, a location app, was used to identify the walker's position as between Hedgehope and Long Crag. With this information, one of the mountain rescue Landrovers was re-directed to reach the area from Threestoneburn Wood, while team members headed up from the valley.

Given the seriousness of the situation, air support was also requested by the mountain rescue incident controller and a Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) helicopter from Prestwick, was launched, arriving on the scene within 50 minutes.

Team members and a North East Ambulance Service paramedic were transported up to the casualty's location by the local farmer from Langleeford in the valley, using his quad and trailer.

Once the walker had been assessed by the paramedic, mountain rescuers helped the crew carry the stretcher to the waiting S92 helicopter. The casualty was then flown to the RVI in Newcastle for further treatment.

A spokesman for the mountain rescue teams thanked the passing walker and the farmer for their support. He said: "It was very much appreciated. The walker's actions certainly helped to save a life."

The incident involved 13 volunteer mountain rescue team members for two hours 10 minutes.