Major rescue operation after glider crashes on a remote Northumberland hillside

A multi-agency rescue mission was launched yesterday afternoon (Sunday) to save the pilot of a glider that had crashed into The Cheviot.

Monday, 21st January 2019, 1:47 am
Updated Monday, 21st January 2019, 7:04 am
A rescuer at the scene of the glider crash on The Cheviot.

The glider had come down on the south-east side of Northumberland's highest hill.

At 2.20pm, Northumberland National Park and North of Tyne Mountain Rescue Teams were deployed as part of the large-scale response to the crashed glider, which also involved a Coastguard search and rescue helicopter.

The cockpit of the crashed glider.

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A 'hasty team' of two members were sent onto the hill within 40 minutes to try locate the crashed plane as quickly as possible.

Two walkers went to the aid of the pilot and remained with him until Mountain Rescue personnel arrived on scene.

"They did an exceptional job of keeping the pilot calm and provided him with additional clothing," said a Mountain Rescue spokesman.

Progress was hampered by snow storms and the low cloud base, which meant the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) was unable to land near the crash site.

The casualty is placed on a stretcher.

Further team members with a Bell stretcher, vacuum mattress and winter casualty bag, the medical team from GNAAS and two Northumberland Fire & Rescue Service crew members, with lightweight cutting equipment were then airlifted by the Coastguard helicopter from Prestwick to Scald Hill.

From there, they had to make progress on foot to the crash site, by which time the hasty team had located the crash site.

Further Mountain Rescue hill parties were then deployed with technical rope rescue kit to help lower the stretcher to below the cloud base.

Following an assessment of the pilot by the GNAAS medical team, he was transferred to the Bell stretcher and carried 400m lower in darkness down the side of The Cheviot then followed to a location below the cloud base.

The crashed glider.

The Coastguard helicopter was able to land there and the pilot was transferred into the helicopter and flown to hospital.

The incident involved 29 team members for eight hours.

A game keeper who transported two members up onto the hill on his quad bike was also thanked.

Sunday’s incident followed a busy week for both Mountain Rescue Teams, who were called out to four other incidents.

The crashed glider.

On Tuesday, they were called to Housesteads for a collapsed walker who sadly died and had to be evacuated by the volunteer Mountain Rescue Team members.

Two days later, Teesdale and Weardale Search and Mountain Rescue Team requested the Teams assistance for an ongoing search in Pittington near Durham.

Northumbria Police then requested Mountain Rescue assistance for a high-risk missing person in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Then later on Saturday, an injured competitor in the Montane Spine Race – a non-stop race along the full 268 miles of the Pennine Way from Edale to Kirk Yetholm - had to be rescued. The competitor had collapsed on the moors north of Bellingham and was found by a fellow competitor, who cared for him until the event’s safety marshals arrived to provide emergency care.