Busiest weekend of the year so far for Northumberland mountain rescue team

Volunteers from Northumberland Mountain Park Rescue Team and North of Tyne Mountain Rescue Team had a frantic weekend helping people caught up in Storm Arwen.

By Joshua Wright
Monday, 29th November 2021, 5:11 pm
Updated Monday, 29th November 2021, 6:11 pm
A tree lies on a road, knocked over by the powerful winds of Storm Arwen
A tree lies on a road, knocked over by the powerful winds of Storm Arwen

The teams were called out in the early hours of Friday morning by Northumbria Police to assist with the search for a missing person in the Whittingham area. Despite the early hour, team members responded along with two search and rescue dogs.

Fortunately, within two-and-a-half hours, the volunteers found the missing person and were able to provide shelter, care and reassurance before passing them over to ambulance crews.

Keith Briggs, team leader for North of Tyne Mountain Rescue Team, said: “It was a fantastic outcome, given the time in the morning and conditions. Northumbria Police and the missing person’s family were very appreciative of the team’s efforts.”

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After a red weather warning was issued on Friday, mountain rescue volunteers geared up to spring into action.

Iain Nixon, team leader for Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue Team, said: “It didn’t take long after the arrival of Storm Arwen before we received our first request for help.

“At 12.05am on Saturday, we had a request from Northumbria Fire and Rescue Service via Northumbria Police to assist with a couple trapped in their vehicle because of fallen trees. Mountain rescue members made their way to the couple’s location to offer assistance, but given the wind and fallen debris, progress was extremely difficult. Eventually they reached the couple on foot and were able to get them out, but again, a mix of mountain rescue vehicle and foot was used to eventually get the couple back to their home.

“Over the course of the evening and into Saturday, both teams continued to receive requests for help from police, fire and ambulance. These requests covered the whole of the Northumbria Police area from as far south as Allenheads all the way up to Chatton in the north. The main focus of the volunteers efforts has been the Upper Coquet Valley.

“These incidents included responding to trapped motorists and missing persons.

“Our volunteers are continuing to support local communities in Upper Coquetdale by checking on vulnerable residents with medical conditions and providing welfare checks to outlying villages, hamlets and isolated properties.”