Patient airlifted from remote Northumberland farm as rescue teams spend seven hours on mission

A patient was airlifted to hospital from an isolated Northumberland farm after rescue teams faced tough conditions through heavy snow to help them to safety.

Friday, 12th February 2021, 10:01 am

Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue Team (NNPMRT) and North of Tyne Mountain Rescue Team alerted their members at just before 3pm yesterday, Thursday, February 11, after a call for help from the North East Ambulance Service to reach a remote farm house in Upper Couquetdale.

It had become inaccessible due to heavy snowfall, with the team’s vehicles soon deployed, with a Toyota Hilux taken as far as it could reach before they then headed out on foot.

Once they reached the farm, it was decided the Coastguard’s helicopter would be be needed to evacuate the patient, with footage of it later shared by the charity-funded teams following the mission.

Members of the mountain rescue team head out on foot during the operation to reach the farm house.

They then facing their own difficult return to their vehicles, calling in help from a teammate’s tractor to get them out.

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The incident took just over seven hours to complete and involved 24 team members.

A spokesperson for the NNPMRT said: “On arrival at the remote farmhouse, the patient was assessed by a team medic and the decision was taken to request the Maritime and Coastguard Agency helicopter from Prestwick to help us evacuate the individual to hospital.

The volunteers had to work through the dark as night fell during the operation.

"While the helicopter was flying to the scene, additional members made their way on foot and skis to the farmhouse to assist with the stretcher carry to the helicopter.

"A landing site was also identified and strobe lights used to identify it.

“Thankfully Rescue 199 from Prestwick was able to land on after some superb flying by the pilot in very difficult conditions.

A total of 24 volunteers were involved in the callout to help the North East Ambulance Service.

“The snow plumes caused by the helicopter downdraft were something to be seen.

“The patient was then carried to the awaiting helicopter for a short onward flight to hospital.

"All that remained was for our volunteer team members to make their way the 1.5 miles through deep snow back to our vehicles – or so we thought.

The teams used their vehicles to get as close as they could to the farm before heading out on foot.

"Due to the depth of the snow on the tracks we did need a little helping hand from a tractor to get back out.

"Thankfully one of the team members had a tractor to hand.

“We would like to wish the individual well and hope that they make a swift and full recovery.”

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Tractors and skis played a part in the operation to get to and from the callout.

Thank you for your support.