Helicopter rescue from South Lakes fell cost £24k
Last updated at 16:33, Wednesday, 01 August 2012
WALKERS prompted a £24,000 rescue when they scaled Scafell Pike with no map, compass or waterproofs.
The group of three – two men and a woman – began the trip on Sunday from Wasdale.
After one of the men turned around and walked back to the Wasdale Head Inn, the other two continued – only to become lost in one of the most remote areas of the Lake District.
Mike Gullen, team leader with Wasdale Mountain Rescue, said the subsequent nine-hour search – which involved three mountain rescue teams, search dogs and an RAF Sea King helicopter – could easily have been avoided if the walkers had been properly prepared.
The helicopter – which costs about £12,000 for every hour it is away from base – took part in the search for nearly two hours, eventually whisking the lost pair, from Manchester, off the mountain.
Mr Gullen said the two walkers had called police to raise the alarm at around 8.50pm.
He said: “The details from the party were rather vague, due to them panicking a bit. They just told us they were up on a mountain somewhere.
“We couldn’t establish where they were very well and so we needed to search the entire Scafell massif.”
As well as 13 members of the Wasdale team, another 45 from the Duddon and Furness and Keswick teams took part along with Lake District Mountain Rescue Search Dogs.
The cold and wet walkers were eventually found in an area known as Calfcove Gill at about 2am.
They were then given a change of clothes and flown to safety.
Mr Gullen said: “It was quite cold with passing heavy showers and very wet. They weren’t well-equipped. They had a wind-up torch, which was about it, and no spare clothes.
“The cost will be astronomical if you tally it all up.
“It is a total lack of experience.
“We should be dealing with more serious search incidents, but we have a duty of care to go out and deal with it.
“But a bit more planning and preparation would ensure people can get down off the mountain without our assistance.”
First published at 16:16, Wednesday, 01 August 2012
Published by http://www.nwemail.co.uk
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Here is the link to my official fundraising page for the Wasdale Mountain Rescue team. Anyone who fancies joining us in the Greater Manchester Marathon on 28th April 2013 please get in touch. Or if you just want to give a little then thank you!! I'm sure I'm not the first human being to overstep their boundaries and sure I won't be the last! http://www.justgiving.com/scafell-massive
As a hillgoing member of one of the lakes MR teams (not any of the teams involved with this rescue) I would like to make a couple of general comments.Whilst we can get frustrated with people who are poorly equipped - or worse those that do not have the skills to use the equipment (whether map / compass (or even gps) or ice axe and crampons in winter) we are also acutely aware of how quickly the weather can change (It occasionally catches out team members who are going âquick and lightâ). People also often overestimate their own and other peoples ability and fitness on the fells People make mistakes and accidents happen â fact. People often drive too fast for the road/ weather conditions and cause accidents (which can cost far more to deal with), or fall off roofs because they tried to do a job quickly rather than safely. That Mr Tate says that he will fund raise for the teams is excellent news â certainly better than some of the â3 Peakersâ who regularly cause bother for Wasdale, Keswick and Duddon & Furness teams as well as littering and $***ing on paths (which is inexcusable).On the point about phones â some gps enabled smartphones can be pinpointed (if they have sufficient battery and signal) using the SARLOC system that is currently being developed The other way which is triangulation from phone masts is very unreliable as the phone signal can bounce around the fells and time has been wasted on more than one occasion focusing a search in the wrong place. Donât forget that MR members are volunteers. We do it because we want to, not for reward or glory. If we are fed up with people making mistakes or having accidents, we can leave the team (and people do). Perhaps the people we should be thanking are our partners and families who put up with being woken in the middle of the night as the pager goes off and then spend the rest of it worrying about us. The RAF / RN Search and Rescue squadrons view civilian SAR as training for their prime purpose which is SAR for their own personnel.Finally, people should not be required to have insurance to go for a walk or otherwise enjoy what the Lakes offer â if for no other reason than how would you administer it? Turnstiles on all paths at the 200m contour? Reg plates on rucksacks?
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