Northumberland mountain rescue teams called out four times in four days

Mountain Rescue volunteers on one of the searches.
Mountain Rescue volunteers on one of the searches.
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Volunteers from the two mountain rescue teams north of the Tyne have responded to four call-outs in four days, including the rescues of a critically injured man near Alnwick yesterday and a walker who had fallen 60ft into a gorge.

Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue Team (NNPMRT) and North of Tyne Mountain Rescue Team (NOTMRT) were also involved in the search for a high-risk missing person and the large-scale hunt for a missing grouse beater.

Mountain Rescue volunteers on one of the searches.

Mountain Rescue volunteers on one of the searches.

At 10.17am on Saturday (September 24), Northumbria Police requested the support of Mountain Rescue in searching for a high-risk missing person in the Kielder area. The male’s car had been found in the car park at Kielder.

A detailed search of the woodland involving MR personnel, two Search & Rescue dogs, a police dog handler and police officers was conducted in and around Kielder Castle. The National Police Air Support unit supported searchers on the ground by flying over the open areas.

As the search was progressing, rescuers received further information that the missing person was out of the area. The 16 Mountain Rescue volunteers were subsequently stood down after seven hours.

At 3.58pm on Sunday (September 25), Mountain Rescue was activated by Northumbria Police for an experienced female walker who had slipped off the footpath leading into Hareshaw Linn from Bellingham.

A Mountain Rescue ambulance on one of the recent operations.

A Mountain Rescue ambulance on one of the recent operations.

The walker had fallen approximately 60 feet and while she was initially reported to be uninjured, she was unable to get out of gorge. A local member of Mountain Rescue, who is also a community paramedic, was despatched to assess the situation. A safe route out of the gorge was found and the female was 'walked out' to the footpath. On further assessment the walker was complaining of chest pains and, as a precaution, she was taken to Cramlington hospital.

This is the second incident this year in the Hareshaw Linn valley and involved six Mountain Rescue volunteers for 1 hour and 20 minutes. A further eight members of Mountain Rescue were on standby in case they were required.

At 10.02am yesterday (Monday, September 26), Northumbria Police and the North East Ambulance Service requested the help of Mountain Rescue to evacuate a critically injured man in a difficult-to-access location on the outskirts of Alnwick. The six Mountain Rescue volunteers enroute were stood down after 25 minutes when an alternative evacuation route to the Great North Air Ambulance was found. The incident also involved Northumberland Fire & Rescue Service.

At 8.17am today (Tuesday, September 27), the teams were requested to support an ongoing search for a 40-year-old grouse beater. The man went missing yesterday at 3pm on Warcop Fell near the top of Lunedale, County Durham. After searching for two hours without success, his fellow beaters contacted the police and Kirkby Stephen Mountain Rescue Team were contacted.

As time progressed, realising that there was a huge potential search area, help was requested from neighbouring MRTs. The search escalated overnight and in the early hours it involved teams from the Lake District Search And Mountain Rescue Association, the whole of the North East Search and Rescue Association, an RAF Mountain Rescue Team, eight search dogs from the Search And Rescue Dog Association England and the Lake District Search & Rescue Dog Association, and a Coastguard helicopter. In all, around 60 Mountain Rescue volunteers from 10 Mountain Rescue Teams were involved, including eight members of NNPMRT and NOTMRT for 9 hours and 45 minutes.

Conditions for searchers overnight were horrendous and even in the daylight of Tuesday, low cloud over the hills hampered the search. As the weather improved and after a massive effort, the beater was found by a search group at 2.15pm today (Tuesday). He was warmed up and returned to the road safe and well.

Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue Team (NNPMRT) and North of Tyne Mountain Rescue Team (NOTMRT) provide a search and rescue service in the Northumbria Police area. The operational area covers 2,159 square miles and includes the whole of Northumberland and the conurbation of Tyne & Wear. Both MRTs operate jointly on a call-out, as a single body. Calls for assistance include not only search and mountain rescue of walkers, fell/trail runners and mountain bikers in the wild and remote parts of Northumberland but also the search and rescue of missing children and vulnerable adults in rural and urban settings. All members are volunteers and have a shared interest in providing a vital life-saving service. Members continuously train in all the core skill areas (hill craft and navigation, search, communications, first aid and casualty care, technical rescue, etc.) and are equipped to enable them to operate effectively in all types of terrain and in all seasons. Both MRTs are solely reliant on voluntary donations and grants from charitable trusts. The funds generated cover the costs of: training; maintenance, replacement or upgrading of equipment and vehicles; general running costs including fuel; and, insurances. Fundraising is as continuous as training. Mountain rescue team members are on call, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.