Incident Report #65 1996

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. This worked, and the three were picked up and flown back to Ambleside. Their actual location was on the other side of Crinkle Crag, 2 miles from were they thought they where! Their equipment was non-existent. They had no waterproofs, food, lights or map, but had managed to pack the mobile phone and personal locator beacon. Not what we'd call "getting your priorities right." If the weather had closed in and the helicopter had not been able to fly over, all three probably would have died before we had found them. Modern technology is all well and good, but in the hands of an idiot, could be potentially lethal. None of these pieces of equipment keep you warm, give you energy, or show the way home; only common sense and planning will do this.
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