Incident Reports 1996
Two brothers, one 23 and one 14, were crossing frozen snow on the Climbers Traverse below Bowfell summit when the young one became "frozen" by his situation. His brother told him to stay put while he went for help, and promptly slipped and slid 120 feet, coming to rest with severe leg lacerations and multiple cuts and bruises. He was found on the Rossett Ghyll path by walkers, who raised the alarm. After treatment at the scene he was helicoptered to hospital, and his brother was retrieved from the Climbers Traverse and dropped off in the valley.
Five students from Bradford decided that a trip to the Lakes would be a good idea after a hard night on the town. They arrived in the area mid afternoon. They wanted to go for a walk up Coniston Old Man but couldn't find it! (Coniston MRT- you don't know how lucky you were). They did manage to find the path up to Stickle Tarn and get about halfway up before becoming cragfast. It was 8p.m. when they set off. They had one torch and no decent clothing. It took them two hours to cover a distance that most people could cover in under half an hour.
A 54 year old woman put her foot down a hole and fractured her ankle in six places. Her initial location was given by a grid reference, the wrong way round, and described as "by a wall". I am informed that there are only 50,000 miles of walls in the Lakes, so this information really helped us pin-point the location.
This man was reported missing by his wife after a "domestic" at Brockhole Visitor Centre. He had stormed off and had a known heart condition. We looked around the obvious places but could find no sign. Further questioning suggested that he may have caught a train home, so we handed the problem back to the Police and went home.
This 64 year old man was blown over by gale force winds and fractured his ankle. He was splinted at the scene and evacuated to an ambulance.
A young man reported a group of four, four days overdue. We interviewed him about the four, but information he had was patchy. We started looking for them, but became suspicious of this man, and his story. We eventually realised that he had perpetrated a hoax, and a very elaborate one at that. He was arrested by the Police and we went home. He was subsequently fined and ordered to pay compensation.
A party of three in their thirties phoned from "Three Tarns" to say they were lost in the mist and dark, and could we guide them off. This always difficult to do since if their exact location is not known then we can't know for sure where we're sending them, and having no torch didn't help. We sent a party up to locate them. On the phone one of them revealed that he had a "personal locator beacon", a device for locating crashed aircrews at sea. We discussed the matter with the RAF and they said they could pin-point it if a helicopter could fly low over it a couple of times.
A 45 year old woman slipped and fractured her ankle. We did the usual sort of stuff and carried her down. The good thing about the people we meet is that they've not heard our collection of not very amusing jokes, and they're fastened down and at our mercy.
A 39 year old man slipped and sustained head and arm injuries. He rapidly became Hypothermic. He was treated at the scene and then carried to Stake Pass, where after several attempts to get in, a Helicopter picked him up and flew him to a Newcastle hospital.
This incident was reported as requiring an Ambulance for leg injuries. The man was actually three miles up the fellside and suffering from debilitating chest pains. He was treated for his pain by Team members then airlifted to Furness General Hospital by a Royal Navy Helicopter. He was actually suffering from torn intercostal muscles, sustained several days earlier, but requiring heavy exertion to bring on the problem.
This lady slipped on the descent from Pike How and fractured her ankle. She was treated in the usual manner and carried off. She was able to remark on what an exciting ride down it was. You'd have to pay a fortune to get such a thrilling ride in a fairground, but we do it for free.
We were asked by Kendal Team to search Troutbeck and our side of Garburn Pass after a man was reported overdue. He was last seen at 4pm. He eventually turned up at his holiday cottage at 22.15. He was going to get some advice on the merits of setting off earlier or taking a torch, but we left him to fend off his wife and mother-in-law instead.
A man collapsed, probably from an epileptic fit. We were given the wrong location by the informant, and the casualty was located only after a brief search, and our ambulance being flagged down by a second person. The man was treated and taken to Ambleside Health Centre, and then on to Westmorland General Hospital.
A man collapsed during the descent from an overnight camp in the hills. An ambulance was called, but he was too far up for them to evacuate. We arrived and assisted the ambulance with the administration of I.V. fluids and oxygen and then evacuated him to the ambulance. During all this he was completely incoherent and semi-conscious, only coming round briefly to inform us that he was a year younger than his companion informed us when we were filling in our casualty information card. He spent three days in Intensive Care.
This 21 year old man was bivi-ing out with his mate with a few cans of beer on a last bender before going into the Army, when he slipped in his trainers and fractured his ankle. Due to alcohol consumed the informant was unable to remember the location of his mate. "He was by a tree"??!! That narrowed it down a bit ! We eventually found him, by which time cold was numbing him in place of the alcohol. We did the business with his leg and carried him down.
A 14 year old girl slipped while walking with a school party and injured her ankle. The leader was all fired up to evacuate the girl using a climbing rope and the rest of the party, but common sense prevailed and he called us instead. There's a time and place for self help and a group of hot, tired 13 year olds is neither. It's much easier to evacuate one casualty from the fell than 5 or 6, even if they are a bit lower down.
A 58 year old woman collapsed while walking with her son and husband. They carried her down a good part of the way and then sent for help. She was suffering from heat induced exhaustion, and her companions had handled the situation well, even realising at one point that she was becoming cold, and taking steps to re-warm her. She was taken to Ambleside Health Centre for a once over from a doctor.
A man slipped and supposedly sustained serious leg injuries. Because of the distance and the "serious" injuries we requested a helicopter to assist. One arrived on scene at the same time as the first of our team members and the man walked to the helicopter, his injuries maybe not as bad as we had been led to believe.
A mobile phone call reported two injured people, following a fall. The phone was then switched off and we were not able to make any further contact or get any more information. We set off to try and locate the injured people, tracking them down to the back of an ambulance. The ambulance crew had received a call from a different source and been given sufficient information to locate the casualties, who were walking near the road.
A number of reports of shouts for help and flashing lights were heard and seen in this area. We searched across some very rough ground and found nothing. Who ever had been there had either sorted themselves out, or had never actually been in too much trouble. Still, it kept us occupied for a couple of hours.
This man slipped while descending Middlefell Gulley, and fell about 20ft. sustaining rib and spinal injuries. He was immobilised in a full body splint and cervical collar and evacuated from the gully to hospital. We were assisted by members of Kendal MRT.
This young man collapsed, probably due to dehydration, and was in a very confused state. The Ambulance attended first but was unable to evacuate the man, so they called us to help. The local farmer very generously took some of our kit up in his Quad, trailer, saving us time and effort.
A man who had been evicted from the pub, went on to the fells in a drunken state. He found his way to a precarious spot on Upper Scout Crag and collapsed, unconscious and fitting. He was evacuated from the fell and taken to Kendal Hospital.
These three men became lost between Grasmere and Langdale, so phoned 999 on a mobile phone and asked for guidance off the fells. This we gave, but they seemed unable to follow instructions and kept going in the wrong direction. A search was made involving 40 people and 12 SARDA dogs. They were eventually located descending behind the New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel. Sometimes we're just left to wonder.
This man had become separated from his friend at 11.45 in thick mist and had not arrived back at their rendesvous in Ambleside. We searched the area and he was located in Ambleside after coming off the hill in Patterdale and making his way back by road.
This man fell and sustained serious head and back injuries. When we arrived at the reported scene we found nothing. A bit of detective work located them a bit lower down, the injured man being "walked" down by his friends. Although well intentioned, this is not a very safe method of evacuating a barely conscious man with unknown neck and back injuries.
A 17 year old girl, part of a Duke of Edinburgh Gold training expedition from Berkshire, was reported as unconscious, near the summit of Hart Crag. Ourselves, RAF teeming MRT, and a helicopter rushed to the scene to find nothing wrong with anyone. It is highly unlikely that there ever was anything wrong with anyone. The supervisors didn't seem unduly bothered that we had wasted our time, money, and resources, to be the victims of a practical joke! It does not help the case for free Mountain Rescue and no charge for helicopters when this sort of thing happens.
A 15 year old boy had collapsed, exhausted on day one of his D. of E. Gold award. Although the group appeared to be ill-prepared and badly equipped they handled the problem very well. The three who went for help gave accurate information and the one who remained behind with the casualty had him well rugged up against the cold and had kept him in excellent spirits. He was declared a star by Team members at the scene for his handling of the situation.
Four separate reports of flashing lights in the vicinity of Kirkstone quarry led us to believe that something was amiss. A group was dispatched to investigate and a passing helicopter dropped in for a look. The helicopter crew, using their night vision goggles spotted the lights and went to investigate. They found two men, trying to hide, in combat gear and with guns. They left them to it and reported the matter to the police. The Team members sent to investigate were greatly relieved not to have got there first.
At last something different! Not even in our area! A young man collapsed with severe abdominal pain and hypothermia. Because it was a Grasmere phone number reporting this incident it went through to Kendal Police Control, who paged us. It is actually in Keswick MRT's area. We attended, and found the other classic case we come up against: the "child crushing rucsac". We removed the rucsac and retrieved the boy and took him to hospital. There endeth another D. of E. Gold Expedition.
This 49 year old woman slipped and sustained a possible ankle fracture. She was splinted and evacuated to hospital. They're fickle things, ankles you know. If they're so fragile, why stick them out there at the end of your leg? All exposed to the elements and rough ground and dodgy foot-wear decisions. They'd be far better tucked inside a pair of slippers, next to the dog, in front of the fire where they're safe from harm. Except for athletes foot, warts, verrucas, ingrown toenails, gout, gangrene...
A coach tried to get up Kirkstone Pass and became stuck near the summit in deep, fresh snow. The 28 elderly passengers on board started to walk down, but were picked up by Team vehicles and ferried to Hayes Garden Centre, for tea and biscuits to await a new coach. The coach that was stuck was recovered the next day.
This man slipped and fell 200ft. and landed on his head causing serious injury. He was treated on scene and evacuated to hospital at Barrow by RAF Boulmer. He had an ice axe, but it was attached to his rucsac, where it doesn't work anywhere near as well. The injuries were to his head and neck.
At 3pm this 40 year old woman slipped and fractured her ankle. Her husband had to descend to Cockley Beck with two children to raise the alarm. In places, he had to lower them down icy stretches on a rope. A 16 year old girl remained with the woman. This descent took 6 hours due to the conditions and the lack of equipment. The Team then took a couple of hours to locate the woman, finding her at around midnight. She was treated for her ankle and both woman and daughter were treated for hypothermia. Kendal and Furness MRTs helped out on this epic. The evacuation took 7 hours.
Requested to help the Police with the retrieval of a man who had ignored "ROAD CLOSED DUE TO ICE" warning at the bottom of Wrynose Pass and had subsequently got himself stuck near the top when his 4WD had slipped off the road. We were making our way up, when a message to the effect that he had been picked up on the other side by Police, was received. We went home again leaving the Police to explain the error of his ways.
It snowed. 2ft. of the stuff. Everything stopped moving and all that could be heard was the sound of sledges whooshing down hillsides and shovels scraping in vain to clear a way. We assisted Ambulance and doctors with 8 emergencies in a 12 hour period.