Incident Reports 1997
People camping at Angle Tarn heard shouts for help. They phoned us and went to investigate. They found a husband and wife benighted and without a torch. They contacted us and informed us that they had room for them in their tents and would point them in the right direction in the morning. They had suffered no injuries so we left them to it. They were reported missing from their Grasmere Guest House at 10am the following day, by which time they were well on their way down. Lesson to be learned? Take a torch!
A solo man was reported overdue at home. His route card left at home suggested an epic walk, and didn't narrow things down much. With the assistance of Keswick and Furness MRTs and SARDA Lakes he was located by a dog in Rossett Ghyll, benighted. He thought he was on The Band, this being a lot closer to his actual location than some other people we have retrieved this year. No amount of debriefing from us was going to assist him through the "debrief" he was going to get when he got home.
A Father (41) and Son (21) were reported overdue at home. A search was organised with the help of Keswick MRT and SARDA Lakes. They were eventually located by LAMRT on Gunson Knott. They were cold and benighted. Team members stocked them up with hot drinks and food and they were escorted off the hill at first light. Last heard on the phone to home promising to never go walking in the winter again!
A woman slipped and fractured her ankle. It's along way down from Loft Crag so we had plenty of opportunity to share her pain, and to be amused by some of the side effects of Morphine. (You giggle a lot, chatter incessantly and the rest is our secret.)
We were alerted by mobile phone that these three were unhurt, but lost in the vicinity of Stickle Tarn. A search, using dogs and man power was organised, but nothing was found. A little later we were contacted from the Old Dungeon Ghyll to say that they had found there way down. An interview with them revealed that they had actually been near Angle Tarn (a subtle, but significant difference). Where I went to school, we would have called people like this "Divvies", and there are several popular contemporary expressions, that decency prevents me from using, that would be appropriate.
A 30-year-old man tore his knee ligaments near Harrison Stickle. A Team member, fell running in the area, was able to summon the assistance of a helicopter in the area with his MR radio, thereby saving the man (and us!) hours of pain and misery. Fell runners are a strange bunch of people, but they have there uses.
A couple of climbers were reported as overdue from climbing on this popular crag. A small search of the area was organised and they were found safe and well, but benighted. With the aid of our torches, they were helped to the valley bottom.
Injuries to this man were reported as serious. A helicopter was requested to assist but was unable to get close due to the weather. Investigation found the injuries to be quite minor, but we carried him down anyway. We were assisted by Kendal and RAF Leeming MRTs on a long and demanding carry off.
A 65-year-old woman slipped sustained a possible ankle fracture. We see more female ankles in a year, than a Victorian Dandy might have seen in his life. Can I write that? Is it sexist? Well I need to write something a bit different about ankles now and again!
A voluntary patient from a London Hospital took trip to the Lakes. Her bag was found in Grasmere, with a suicide note. A search was mounted. She was located, semi conscious, by a SARDA handler and his dog, and then treated for Alcohol, Barbiturate and pain killer overdose.
Every now and again a needless and tragic accident occurs, the victim of which will suffer for the rest of their lives. A 30-year-old man fell about 35ft. while climbing, suffering head, arm, leg and very serious spinal injuries in the process. He was lowered to the base of the crag by his second, and then treated by the Team, and evacuated by helicopter to Preston. His spinal cord had been severed. They had set out after dark, after allegedly consuming a substantial quantity of alcohol, and were climbing despite advice from friends.
Four boys on a D. of E. expedition were reported missing overnight. Their supervisor had been to check on them at their campsite at Grisedale Tarn, but had been unable to locate them, so reported them missing. We located the boys making their way to Grasmere, having spent the night at their campsite at......... Grisedale Tarn. They had pitched their tent in the lee of small mound to protect it from the wind, and had heard the supervisor calling them, but had been unable to attract his attention. Boys 1: Supervisor 0.
Three men were injured when they were blown off their feet by a freak gust of wind while trying to escape rock fall. Two of the men had serious injuries, including head, leg and arm. The other was less serious. The two were airlifted to Hospital, and the third was walked down after refusing to go in the helicopter. We were assisted by Bowland \Pennine Fell Rescue Team, who were in the area.
We were alerted to this incident by an informantdescending to Kirkstone Pass summit. A vehicle was dispatched but further investigation confirmed that Patterdale MRT had been notified of this incident and were already dealing with it.
An 11-year-old girl sustained an ankle fracture. Belles Knot is along way up, or down, depending on your point of view, so Kendal MRT met us half way down, and in their usual sporting fashion, helped us the rest of the way. They also supplied some water, for which we were in great need.
A figure was reported as stationary on "Pluto", a popular and difficult rock climb. He was reported as being in this position for a long time. By the time we arrived he had moved on. We had a brief chat with two men descending from the crag and established that it was them who had been seen, and that no-one was in trouble. A complete lack of knowledge of rock climbing, and a pint or two of beer may have clouded our informants judgement slightly.
This 35-year-old man suffered an epileptic fit while descending after a days walk. He had come round by the time we got there, so we walked down with him. It was a hot, sunny day, and we were a little surprised at the amount of clothing he was wearing. We have seen people wearing less when it's snowing.
This Danish woman, having received the dodgy advice that it was O.K to walk on the high fells in modern sports sandals, then went and slipped and fractured her ankle. Again assisted by Kendal MRT on a long and hot carry down. The advice came from two separate sources, both of whom should have known better. It took two team members to carry down here 'luggage'!
A 19-year-old woman suffered a recurrence of an old injury while helping with footpath repairs above high Red Tarn. We treated her and were carrying her down when another member of the same party suffered a similar fate. We called Kendal MRT in to assist at this point.
A 12-year-old boy was allowed to swim out to an island, but only just made it and became stranded on the island, to exhausted and cold to swim back. The remoteness of the tarn meant that no boat was available, so a Team member donned a life jacket and swam out. Both were then pulled back to safety. A little better judgement of the boys swimming ability by the Father would have prevented this incident.
Imagine the surprise of the teachers from this school, when a second of there D. of E. expeditions had to be rescued. (See previous incident) This time it was a severe asthma attack, possible triggered by swimming in the cold Tarn, when camped for the night. We all went to bed very late.
This 52-year-old American woman suffered a badly dislocated kneecap after she had slipped and landed on it. It's kneecaps in room 101 for me, and eyeballs. I can't do them. For some people it's spiders, for others, flying, for me it's knee caps and eyeballs (and Austin Maestro's, but this is neither the time or the place)
It's just possible that this womans injuries were not as bad as she was making out, and the sight of a helicopter passing close by prompted her to call us by mobile phone. Anyway, once she had been airlifted to the valley bottom, she was able to hobble to her car, to go to Hospital, we think.
A search was organised, with assistance from SARDA, to locate a man who was reported as several hours overdue from his walk. He turned up as Team Members were being deployed on the fells. His dogs short legs was cited as the reason he was late back.
A man and wife in their 40's became lost and used a mobile phone to dial 999 for help. They had no map or compass, and not much common sense. They claimed to be on Bowfell, heading north, but we couldn't find them, and they were eventually escorted off by other walkers never to be seen again. We still don't know where they were, but they definitely weren't on Bowfell. Assisted by a helicopter from RAF Boulmer.
We were alerted to the presence of an abandoned push chair, with baby paraphernalia, on the banks of the river, in an isolated spot. Fearing the worse, a search was made of the river bank and the river, with the help of the Lake Warden and his boat. Nothing was found, but after about two hours the owners turned up. They had been for a stroll up Loughrigg. They were a little bewildered by the fuss, until we discovered that they were employees of El Al, and compared the incident with finding an abandoned suitcase at an airport.
Three women were reported as overdue on a walk over Crinkle Crags. With the help of Kendal MRT the three were located on Long Top. All were hypothermic, one severely. She was stretchered off, and the other two escorted off, on foot. Conditions were foul, with personnel being blown off their feet on several occasions.
This man had fractured his ankle at 10pm the previous day, having become lost in darkness. He had been reported missing by his wife but she didn't know where in the Lakes he was walking. After the accident his friend keyed their location into a GPS, but dropped it and smashed it on the way down. With the help of Coniston and Kendal MRTs he was located, treated and removed to a place of safety.
Heavy rain and floods were causing traffic chaos when a landslide blocked the main road on the side of Thirlmere. Cars were reported as buried and possibly people trapped. We spent a couple of hours, up to the nether regions in cold water, assisting the Police in checking cars for people and then clearing cars to one side to allow bulldozers through to clear the debri away, and reopen the road.
We just love these late night excursions into the mountains. They are good for the soul. Two young men had phoned home to tell their Mother that they had become benighted, but were O.K and would make their way down at first light. She wasn't prepared to wait this long and phoned the Police. This was a joint operation with Keswick MRT.
As a student at one of Britains esteemed Red Brick Universities, we were forced to question the judgement of this 20-year-old woman, when she went for a 'stroll' and ended up cragfast in an ice filled gully above Easedale Tarn. She can consider herself lucky that her cries for help were heard by two passing walkers, who raised the alarm. It is unlikely she would have survive the night in the sub zero conditions.